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What is a Co-occurring disorder?

If you have an addiction, you have probably heard the term co-occurring disorder before. Addiction is one disorder that is commonly described as co-occurring. This simply means that addiction is caused by or occurs with another disorder. Most addictions have co-occurring disorders.

What Does Co-Occurring Mean?

Co-Occurring means that a mental or physical disorder occurs at the same time as addiction or substance abuse. A person suffering from a co-occurring disorder is not necessarily considered as someone who is dual diagnosis. It simply means that there is a substance abuse disorder and a mental disorder co-exist. The reason why this happens is not known only that many people with a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental disorder self medicate using illegal or prescription drugs.

Why is Addiction a Co-Occurring Disorder?

co-occurring disorder

Addiction often occurs with other disorders, such as depression or anxiety.

Addiction is very often a co-occurring disorder. There are a number of other disorders that come along with addiction. Usually these disorders either cause the addiction or are a result of the addiction. Addiction can occur with:

  • mood disorders,
  • depression,
  • anxiety, and
  • bi-polar disorder.

These disorders are common and often go for years undiagnosed. Many co-occurring disorders go undiscovered until a person seeks help for an addiction. Addiction is often a form of self-medication, many people start taking drugs to avoid the pain or anxiety associated with a mental illness such as these.

How are Co-Occurring Disorders Treated?

Co-occurring disorders are treated by conventional treatment means. Many of these disorders are easily diagnosed after an addiction is discovered. These disorders are treatable through therapy and medication. This is why counseling is an integral part of addiction treatment.

By discovering the cause of the addiction, a doctor counselor, or therapist can discover any disorders that are also present. Treating these disorders often treats the addiction. Once a person no longer suffers from the mental condition, the need for the drug also stops.

There are inpatient and outpatient centers for treating co-occurring disorders. An inpatient clinic is a residential facility that patients stay at while they are in treatment. An outpatient clinic is a nonresidential facility where the patients attend treatment in a variety of different sessions depending on their addiction and disorder. Holistic treatments for these disorders also exist.

Which type of treatment depends on the addiction and the disorder. Most disorders are treated through medication, counseling, holistic treatment, or a combination of the three. Combined treatments are preferred for co-occurring disorders because of having to treat more than one issue at the same time.

How Inpatient Mental Health Rehab Helps with Addiction, Too

How to Find Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders?

It is important to find treatment for both the addiction and the co-occurring disorder. The treatment has to fit both the addiction and the disorder. If you have been diagnosed with an addiction and a co-occurring disorder, you need to find specialized treatment. For more information on how to find treatment, call us at 800-681-7369Who Answers?. We can help you find the treatment that you need.

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