Know About Co-Occurring Disorders and Addiction

Before, renowned medical professionals argued about the possibility of suffering mental illnesses due to addiction to some substances like alcohol and other drugs. This argument has been ongoing; until recently when the numbers began to speak for themselves.

A study done in the US shows that about half the population of people battling addiction in their life also suffer from some mental illnesses. And this condition is known as a co-occurring disorder.

This condition is becoming increasingly popular amongst drug addicts. For instance, a survey done in 2018 shows that over 9million people experience a co-occurring disorder in the US. Additionally, reports from drug rehab dual diagnosis centers confirm that 60% of teenagers in rehab meet the criteria for a co-occurring illness.

If any of your friends or loved ones is battling addiction, you might be concerned about the other potential problems they might face. So, we will discuss addition and some co-occurring disorders that drug addicts are likely to experience.  

Understanding Addiction and Co-occurring Disorder

Scientific research has shown that several addicts are more likely to suffer from conditions like anxiety or mood disorders than other people. Also, the same is correct the other way round; people with antisocial conditions are more prone to become drug addicts.

A co-occurring disorder, co-morbid disorder, or dual diagnosis is a mental condition that addicts face due to the impact of the substances they abuse. We can refer to them as the underlying mental issues that surface alongside addiction.

The two conditions have related symptoms, and the diagnosis of any of them is usually tricky. To this effect, you may treat one and leave out the other. And this can cause a relapse of mental or addiction issues. Therefore, diagnosing each condition is necessary for proper treatment.

Several underlying mental issues are caused by alcohol and drug abuse. Below are a few examples of them:


This is among the popular mental disorders affecting several people in the US. This is because several drug addicts believe that taking alcohol and drugs can help them forget their pain and feel pleasure. Though this might be true, these substances also cause a bleak and somber feeling. Therefore, after recovering from the euphoria, addicts suffer from induced depression.

Furthermore, the individual is forced to crave more of those substances, as they wish to avoid negative feelings and enjoy the fake pleasures. So, a depression pattern is formed, which in turn intensifies addiction.


Daily tasks and activities come with challenges that can cause anxiety, and there are several persons suffering from this condition without knowing it. While some might take a nap to help, others might depend on drugs to find comfort.

For instance, alcohol abuse and using prescription pills can help relieve anxious feelings. However, as people use these substances, they gradually start depending on the effects of these substances. And this exposes them to the risk of addiction and, in turn, makes the anxiety worse.


Drug addicts are at risk of experiencing feelings of suicide, unworthiness, and hopelessness. And these feelings can trigger frequent thoughts of suicide that can cause an individual to take their life. You can click on to read more about how to prevent suicide.

Bipolar Disorder

This refers to an uncontrollable and intense series of mania and depression caused by abnormalities in the brain’s chemistry. Due to this, some people abuse some substances to relieve the effects. And this results in an irregular increase in the level of activity in the brain.


PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) refers to an anxiety and stress condition that an individual can develop due to intense life-threatening and stressful experiences. Such experiences include violent crimes, natural disasters, bullying, and vehicle accidents.

Though abusing drugs does not directly cause PTSD, it heightens the effects and may disrupt the sufferer’s sleep pattern. Also, since its symptoms can be devastating, sufferers might resort to drug and alcohol abuse to cope or avoid the negative feelings.


BPD is short for borderline personality disorder, and a study shows that over 6% of adults in the US suffer from it. Furthermore, sufferers usually portray regular emotional instability, mood swings, and impulsive behaviors. And in some cases, those diagnosed with BPD experience difficulties forming a stable relationships and usually have a distorted perception of themselves. Due to this, they might resort to drug and alcohol abuse to help them cope with the symptoms and escape the negative feelings. However, the drug effects usually wear off quickly, leaving them in worse conditions.


BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) is characterized by persistent or intrusive imagined defects in a person’s physical looks. And this obsession with one’s look can cause anxiety and other health issues. However, some BDD victims would resort to self-medication and abuse to help with depression and anxiety.

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

OCD victims usually show excessive and obsessive behaviors relating to order, control, and perfectionism. And many victims abuse drugs or alcohol to help them reduce the intense symptoms. You can click here to read more about obsessive compulsive disorder.

ADHD (Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder)

Individuals with ADHD usually face impulsiveness, hyperactivity, or challenges with focusing. And this can alter their ability to carry out some activities. Also, such individuals often resort to abusing their medications or alcohol to reduce symptoms. However, this can result in substance dependency.

Eating Disorder

There are several eating disorders. And the popular ones include bulimia and anorexia. 

These disorders affect the brain, causing repeated cravings to take part in detrimental behaviors. And as the individual continues in such behaviors, they become addicted.

Drug addiction and eating disorders often stimulate each other. So, those suffering from eating disorders are highly likely to use alcohol or cocaine to suppress these behaviors.


Individuals suffering from this experience usually have visual and auditory hallucinations. And this widely affects how they behave, feel, and think. So, to suppress these hallucinations, the victims might resort to substance abuse. However, substance abuse only makes it worse and increases the frequency of the episodes.


There is a thin line between addiction and co-morbid disorders share and either can go unnoticed during diagnosis. Therefore, it is best to check for both conditions during diagnosis. Doing this can ensure a proper treatment solution.

There are several types of co-occurring disorders. Some include schizophrenia, BDD, eating disorder, and more. However, ensure you see a doctor for professional advice if you are experiencing any of the conditions listed above.

By 12disruptors Admin

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