Mood disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and personality disorders often overlap with drug or alcohol addiction. These conditions affect the way you feel, behave, interact with others and perceive the world. Drugs, alcohol and addictive behaviors like compulsive gambling or sex are often used as dysfunctional coping mechanisms to help the individual live with the painful symptoms of mental illness.
Understanding the interactions between mental health and addiction and the most common types of co-occurring disorders can help you or your loved one get simultaneous treatment and begin your recovery.
Much like medical conditions that cause other medical conditions to worsen, people who suffer from mental illness often experience serious symptoms when drug or alcohol addiction is involved.
Some of these symptoms include:
The more the individual uses substances to cope with their symptoms, the greater the risk of developing addiction. Studies show that approximately half of those who suffer from mental illness also struggle with substance abuse, or may develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
And because good mental health is almost impossible to achieve while battling addiction, the urgency for treating both conditions grows exponentially. Identifying the co-occurring disorders of addiction and mental illness can be challenging since many of the symptoms are the same.
Although the combination of mental illness and drug addiction can come in many forms, there are certain combinations that happen more frequently in those who are struggling. Some of the most common types of co-occurring disorders include:
In some cases, substance abuse appears to cause mental illness, while in others the opposite is true. Many mental health disorders arise from the same factors as addictive disorders, such as family history, brain chemistry and personal trauma. When it comes to recovery from co-occurring disorders, treatment must target both the mental illness and the addictive disorder to produce effective, lasting results.
When comparing the symptoms of addiction and the symptoms of mental illness, the relationship between these conditions is clear. Some of the symptoms of addiction to heroin, cocaine, prescription pain relievers, marijuana or hallucinogenic drugs include:
Some of the symptoms of mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia include:
Along with the symptoms of mental illness and addiction, the consequences of these disorders are similar. Some of these include the following:
Family history and genetic patterns play a significant role in the risk of developing a co-occurring disorder.3 Psychiatric conditions like depression, bipolar, anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder are seen more frequently in first-degree relatives, suggesting that these disorders may be hereditary. Learned responses to fear, stress or loss may also contribute to the link between family relationships and mental illness.
It takes a significant amount of expertise to properly identify and treat co-occurring conditions.
If you’re searching for a treatment program that can address your addiction and a co-occurring psychiatric disorder, look for the following key features:
Our professionals at Foundations Recovery Network treatment centers understand the overlapping nature of mental illness and addiction. At any of our locations you or your loved one will find a staff of experts in both areas.
Our addiction professionals can help you gain control over addiction and while restoring good mental health. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about available treatment options. Call us at 615-490-9376 now.
1 Center for Behavioral Health Statistics. “Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States:Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, Sept. 2017.
2 “Co-Occurring Disorders.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 25 Jan. 2018.
3 “Family History of Psychiatric Illness Increases Risk in Offspring.” Psychiatry Advisor, 27 July 2018.