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Find All About Co-Occurring Disorder & Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Health Counselling
February 15, 2022


When an individual is diagnosed with a mental health disorder and an addiction, they are struggling with co-occurring disorders. The coexistence of the symptoms of both these conditions in the same person results in amplified symptoms. The individual suffering from co-occurring mental health disorder experiences more severe symptoms than an individual with either of the two disorders.

A co-occurring disorder is defined by the dual diagnosis of substance use disorder and a mental disorder in the same individual. It can be diagnosed at the same time or one after the other, but both the conditions co-exist in the same person simultaneously. Here are the symptoms, risk factors and treatment for co-occurring disorders to help one seek the right treatment timely.

Co Occurring Disorder

Symptoms of Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

A mental health professional is required to diagnose addiction or mental disorders. Recognising the symptoms of dual diagnosis helps an individual seek timely treatment. These symptoms are similar to addictions and mental disorders, but they are observed in the same individual. These include:

●    Retreating from relationships with loved ones
●    Inefficiency in managing day-to-day tasks
●    Drastic changes in behaviour
●    Engaging in risky behaviours
●    Using drugs or Alcohol under unsafe conditions such as driving, swimming etc.
●    Disinterest in personal hygiene and neglecting health
●    Losing control over Drug intake
●    Developing withdrawal symptoms
●    Developing a high tolerance to Drugs or Alcohol
●    Feeling the need for drug intake to function normally

Causes or Risk Factors of Dual Diagnosis

Several reasons increase the probability of developing a co-occurring disorder. These underlying conditions are as follows:

●    Family history and genetics
●    Stress and response to stressors
●    Environmental cues
●    Adverse or traumatic experiences and events 

Which Came First in Dual Diagnosis?

An individual struggling with a co-occurring disorder and substance abuse problems could have developed either of the conditions first. There is not a standard order in which the disorders are diagnosed. Both co-occurring disorder's impact one another.

Underlying Mental Disorder as a Cause of Substance Use Disorder

Co-occurring mental health disorders might contribute to addiction when individuals rely on drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Over time, the individual depends on the substance to feel normal, and the drug dosage requirement increases subsequently to feel the relief. This is when the individual has developed an addiction.

An individual with mental disorders might have also changed the brain's functions, increasing the risk of developing an addiction. These changes in the brain are the reason behind uncontrollable cravings for drugs or Alcohol, making an individual more addicted to it. Substance abuse disorder treatment combined with mental disorder treatment -dual diagnosis treatment is required for these cases.

Effects of Addiction on Mental Disorders

Individuals struggling with co-occurring disorders and substance abuse may worsen their underlying mental disorder by drug/alcohol intake. The symptoms of the mental disorder tend to get adverse due to addiction. There are several other ways substance use disorder influences the underlying mental disorder. Individuals with addiction often neglect their medications for a mental disorder that further deteriorate the condition. Addiction is also associated with aggression and other behavioural problems; drug and alcohol de-addiction counselling help individuals manage these maladaptive behaviours.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

When considering co-occurring disorder treatment, it is important to opt for a treatment that addresses both conditions simultaneously. The Best Dual Diagnosis Disorder Treatment offers the resources to control addiction while providing the necessary services to relieve the mental health disorder symptoms. Once the individual's addiction is in control, medication can help the mental health disorder. Dual diagnosis therapy is used in addition to medications to treat both conditions effectively.

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