5 Most Common Co-occurring Disorders With Addiction

It seems as if certain conditions always come hand in hand. For instance, people who are diagnosed with diabetes often also have heart disease. And people who have asthma usually also have allergies. Within the world of addiction, something very similar happens. It is incredibly common for people who abuse a substance to also have a mental health disorder, although it is generally not clear which one came first. Many different combinations of mental health disorders and addictions exist, so let’s take a look at the five most common Co-occurring Disorders.

1. Antisocial Personality Disorder and Alcoholism

People who abuse alcohol often have a number of specific mental health issues, including dementia, mania, drug addiction, and schizophrenia. However, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has reported that the closest link is with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD).

“As a group, people with ASPD have higher rates of alcohol dependence and more alcohol-related problems than people without ASPD.”

What the studies have shown is that people who abuse alcohol are up to 21 times more likely to also have ASPD when compared to non-alcoholic individuals. According to the NIAAA, both disorders often develop quite early in a person’s life. Furthermore, alcoholism can increase the seriousness of the antisocial behavior, possibly due to alcohol lowering inhibitions, making their symptoms more prominent. Additionally, people with ASPD who consume alcohol are also more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior, particularly when under the influence of alcohol.

2. Schizophrenia and Marijuana Addiction

People who have schizophrenia very commonly develop addictions, often as a type of self-medication to cope with their symptoms. As indicated in the American Journal of Psychiatry, half of all people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia also have a substance abuse problem.

“This patient presents with a ‘dual disorder’, most likely schizophrenia and co-occurring alcohol and cannabis use disorders. This is not an uncommon clinical scenario. The literature suggests that nearly 50% of patients with schizophrenia have a co-occurring substance use disorder, most frequently alcohol and/or cannabis (at a rate about three times as high as that of the general population).”

While alcohol abuse is therefore also common in schizophrenia, the most striking association is with marijuana abuse. It isn’t known why people with schizophrenia are more prone to abuse this kind of drug, even when the effects of marijuana are very close to those experienced during a schizophrenic episode. It is also very important to understand that there is no evidence to suggest marijuana abuse causes schizophrenia. Rather, it is possible that a schizophrenia diagnosis had not been made for that person, or that the substance makes the condition worse.

3. Anxiety Disorders and Cocaine Addiction

Those who have a cocaine addiction often use the drug because it makes them feel powerful and euphoric. However, if use becomes abuse, a lot of symptoms start to appear that would point to anxiety disorders. These include hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, suspiciousness, and violence. When people achieve long term sobriety, these symptoms generally fade away. However, it is possible for the damage to linger and for people to continue to have unusual behaviors and thoughts, even when they no longer use the substance at all.

4. PTSD and Opioid Addiction

PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health condition that usually occurs after people have gone through a very stressful situation, in which they either watched someone die, or faced death themselves. Survivors of these episodes often have significant physical injuries, as it is particularly common in wounded veterans. To alleviate the pain from these injuries, they are often prescribed very strong, prescription painkillers. Painkillers can make people feel calmer, as well as give them pleasurable feelings. As a result, it is quite common for people with PTSD to start to abuse prescription drugs. Unfortunately, this only makes the psychological injuries worse overtime.

5. Mental Illness and Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a drug that gives people feelings of happiness and euphoria in the short term. When long term use takes place, however, the areas of the brain that produce these feelings of pleasure can be completely burned out. It is possible for brain damage to occur that can lead to depression. This means that people are no longer able to feel any type of happiness, unless they use heroin. This partnership between addiction and mental illness is incredibly common, and it is also one scenario in which it is quite clear that the addiction causes the mental illness. Although brain damage can occur, treatment and sobriety can reverse it, once again enabling people to experience true happiness.

Different Forms Of Substance Abuse Treatment

Every substance abuse case is different. People turn to substances for the first time for different reasons, experience a pathway to addiction in different ways, and have different responses to their addiction. Because of this, there is no one size fits all treatment option that works in all cases either. A number of types of treatments have been developed and have been shown to be successful, however.

Medication

It is very common for medication to be used as a form of substance dependency treatment.

“Medications can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat co-occurring conditions.”

Medication is usually prescribed in order to help people manage the symptoms of withdrawal. Additionally, it can help to prevent relapse, which is important since relapse rates continue to be very high. Finally, medications can be prescribed to people who have co-occurring conditions, where those who have a substance problem also have a mental health issue, which is quite common. There is not a single medication that treats all these issues, however, which is why it is important to receive proper consultation and support.

Therapy

Talking therapies have also proven to be very effective in helping people overcome substance abuse. This kind of therapy can be offered in a variety of different ways, and individual therapy is often the most effective of all.

“Depending on client needs, length of treatment, and level of care, sessions with the primary therapist may be initially scheduled once or twice per week. It is during these sessions that the treatment plan is developed with input from the client and multidisciplinary staff.”

Besides individual therapy, group therapy is also very effective. Here, people at different stages of recovery can communicate together, under the guidance of a therapist. Family therapy is also common, as it ensures that people are better able to support their recovering loved ones, while at the same time ensuring that substance abusers gain an understanding of the impact of their behavior on the family unit. Other forms of therapy, which are currently experimental, include recovery-oriented challenge therapy, expressive therapies, and trauma therapy.

Peer Support

Technically a form of therapy, offering peer support has also been shown to be very beneficial.

“Peers are individuals in recovery who can use their own experiences to help others working towards recovery. Peer supports are a critical component of the substance use disorder treatment system. Many people who work in the treatment system as counselors or case managers are in recovery, and peers are central to many recovery support efforts.”

Treatment is generally offered on an inpatient, residential basis, or as an outpatient. Often, people start with residential treatment, move on to supported housing, and, finally, to outpatient treatment. During treatment, skills development is also often offered.

“Coping skills training groups (the most common type of skills development group) attempt to cultivate the skills people need to achieve and maintain abstinence.”

Put together, these different types of treatment increase the chances of people beating their addiction and remaining abstinent in the future.

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Mindfulness and Addiction Treatment: A Great Combination

Addiction Help Rehab Center

The first and one of the most important steps in dealing with addiction is recognizing the reasons behind it; regardless if it is anxiety, depression, negativity or fear. Individuals who are in the early stage of recovery will likely feel a kind of mental struggle. These people may have a difficulty to think clearly as their mind and body adjusts to the life without the use of drugs or alcohol. This stage of recovery will also give them erratic types of thoughts and emotions. Those individuals who were unable to get through this early phase of recovery will have a greater chance of relapse. Mindfulness therapy can be helpful in all stages of addiction recovery and must be included in all addiction recovery programs. It gives patients the chance to take control over t their emotions and think more clearly.

Mindfulness is considered as a non-judgmental type of observation. It has a goal of helping individuals that reasons of their cravings and helps the deal with all the difficulties and challenges of recovery in a much better way. Addiction Help Rehab Center has proven that mindfulness can bring positive result in the regulation, concentration, compulsion, decision making and self-care. That is why many rehabilitation centers are implementing the use of mindfulness in their addiction recovery programs for alcohol and drug addiction, because it gives their patients a much higher chances of success and direct them in developing positive behaviors.

Mindfulness as Stress Reliever

Stress contributes a big part in the development of a person’s substance addiction and can also be the reason of experiencing a relapse after getting treatment. Specialists at Addiction Help Rehab Center know the importance of teaching patients with various stress management techniques in both inpatient and outpatient rehab treatment program.

Mindfulness as Relapse Prevention

The combination of mindfulness and relapse prevention was designed to provide effective tools and strategies that help patients become more alert of the cravings and triggers that may keep them attach to their addictive behavior. At some point in time, every person will face challenges in life and it’s no secret that there are many people that keeps on doing what makes them struggle. Addiction Help Rehab Center educates patients about relapse prevention together with mindfulness will help addicted individuals to break free from their negative habits and provides them the skills and tools needed to live the life they truly deserve.

Letting patients develop “awareness” will help them learn healthy and positive responses to stress as well as with cravings. The practice of mindfulness in combination with addiction recovery programs can help them make progress in their recovery and higher chances of achieving long-term sobriety.

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