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Common Co-Occurring Disorders With Addiction

man talks addiction in therapy

Close to half of the people who battle with addiction in their lifetime will experience mental health disorders. And this can be vice versa.

When there is a simultaneous occurrence of substance use disorder and mental health disorder, it is called co-occurring disorders.

Co-occurring disorders are persistent. In 2018 alone, more than 9 million adults in the U.S experienced a co-occurring addiction and mental illness.

This figure doesn’t even include adolescents who are at an increased risk of co-occurring disorders because of their level of brain development.

Today, an estimated 60 percent of young adults in drug treatment meet the criteria for another co-occurring mental health disorder.

You may be curious, “what are the common co-occurring disorders with addiction?” If you have a loved one experiencing a substance addiction, you may be particularly concerned about what other potential conditions could also be on the way.

Though most common co-occurring disorders vary between men and women, the following mental health issues often coincide with addiction.

7 Most Common Co-Occurring Disorders With Addictions

Though several emotional issues can significantly impact a person’s addiction conditions, such as guilt, anger management problems, low self-esteem, and grief, these issues are widely considered symptoms and not disorders.

We refer to disorders as the actual diagnosis that results in the symptoms listed above.

  1. Bipolar Disorder:

People with bipolar disorder are specifically susceptible to addiction and drug and substance abuse.

This mental condition results from a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes the individual to experience severe and uncontrollable episodes of mania and depression.

Many people who live with bipolar disorder self-medicate to lower the intensity of these episodes, which greatly results in an increase in attacks and chronic addiction.

  1. Anxiety Disorder:

Anxiety disorder is diagnosed in persons who suffer from recurring, often anxiety or panic attacks, coupled with restlessness, sleep disturbances, and functional impairment.

Because they live with frequent anxiety attacks, some people rely on alcohol or drugs for several reasons.

While some abuse prescription anxiety drugs like Xanax, others rely on illicit drugs or alcohol to cope with other anxiety symptoms or improve social skills.

  1. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder:

PTSD, called post-traumatic Stress disorder, occurs after an individual has experienced events that result in extreme stress and are sometimes life-threatening.

For example, people involved in car accidents, war, and violent crimes, might experience night terrors and flashbacks.

Some of these patients choose to reduce their symptoms with drugs or alcohol, resulting in further sleep disruptions and emotional imbalance.

  1. Eating Disorders:

Eating disorders commonly noticed in individuals who need addiction treatment are bulimia and anorexia.

People often use drugs like diet pills or stimulants, such as alcohol to reduce appetite and improve confidence.

These problems come with body dysmorphic disorder, in which someone is excessively fastidious of their appearance and obsesses over imagined flaws in their body.

Though eating disorders are common in young adults, they can happen at any age.

  1. Schizophrenia:

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health issue that causes people to experience psychosis, disorganized thinking, hallucinations, and delusions.

Lots of people with schizophrenia become unable to differentiate between fantasy and reality. And it’s common for those living with this disorder to turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with symptoms.

  1. Mood and Personality Disorders:

Like borderline personality disorder (BPD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Mood and personality disorders can be diagnosed with various symptoms.

BPD is among the most common disorders and can lead to severe mood swings, impulsive behavior, and severe emotional imbalance.

Individuals with these disorders often have difficulty sustaining relationships with others, and some turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with symptoms.

  1. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

ADHD referred to as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is frequently diagnosed in adolescents and children.

It comes with hyperactive behavior, impulsiveness, and an inability to focus. Those experiencing this disorder are given prescribed drugs, as well as stimulants.

Young adults are often discovered abusing their prescription, including those who rely on alcohol or other drugs to self-medicate and relieve their symptoms.

Is Outpatient Addiction Treatment The Right Choice For Your Co-occurring Disorder? 

Regardless of common co-occurring disorders that accompany addictions, professional treatment is required.

But, for some people, outpatient addiction rehab isn’t the right decision. If you have a loved one suffering from addiction, it’s best to consult a mental health care provider who can guide you towards the correct treatment options.