Co-Occurring Disorders

It is not uncommon for individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental health illness to also struggle with another mental health disorder, what is known as co-occurring disorders. The most common existing co-occurring disorders found in among individuals is a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder, as many men and women use substances as a way to help self-medicate the symptoms of their mental health disorder. When this happens, the substance of choice can intensify the symptoms of the mental disorder and lead to a number of other serious consequences such as addiction, which can make treatment that much more difficult. Some of the most common mental health disorders that occur among those who abuse drugs or alcohol include mood-related and anxiety disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can be a challenge for practitioners to diagnose co-occurring disorders as many of the symptoms of these disorders can mimic or mask the other.

While not as common, other people may struggle with co-occurring mental health disorders, which occurs when more than one mental health disorder exists at the same time. Depression and bipolar disorder tend to be accompanied by anxiety disorders. In order for anyone to fully recover, they must receive treatment for each disorder simultaneously. Treating only one disorder does not typically involve improvement in the other. With the proper types of treatment interventions, co-occurring disorder can be managed and treated.

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