Q&A: What Is A Co-Occurring Disorder?

Addictions come with many more complexities than just the addictive behavior itself.  The final act of binging on alcohol or drugs is only the accumulation of an addict’s internal thinking and behavior over time.

Co-occurring disorders are mental illnesses that occur in individuals at the same time as an addiction.  Both illnesses work together in conjunction to keep the addict isolate, alone, afraid, and resorting to their addiction as their escape from all the negative thoughts and emotions the conditions bring about.

Following are some commonly asked questions about co-occurring disorders that family members and friends often have:

What Is The Definition Of Dual Diagnosis (Co-Occurring Disorder)?Q&A What Is A Co-Occurring Disorder/Dual-Diagnosis?

Technically, there is no standard definition for dual diagnosis by any recognized authority.  The DSM-IV doesn’t list any specific criteria outlining what a dual diagnosis is and what it is not.  On the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s website, they define the term loosely as “individuals with substance abuse conditions ‘who’ have a mental health condition at the same time and vice versa.”  In layman’s terms, if you could be diagnosed with a mental health condition requiring you to seek professional treatment and if you have an addiction, you could be said to have a dual diagnosis.

What Is Dual Diagnosis Personality Disorder Treatment?

The Mayo Clinic defines a personality disorder as “a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking and behaving no matter what the situation.  This leads to significant problems and limitations in relationships, social encounters, work, and school.”

Types of personality disorders include borderline personality disorder, which is basically significant emotional instability and chaotic interpersonal relationships (think Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan, or Britney Spears); antisocial personality disorder, which involves a tendency to manipulate or treat others poorly in order to gain personally (think of someone who commits criminal acts or who harms others but doesn’t experience remorse); and narcissistic personality disorder, a condition where someone has an inflated sense of their importance in the world and a deep need for admiration (think of Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, or Paris Hilton).

These examples are a little more on the extreme end – the characteristic of these personality disorders may not be as strong in your loved one.

What Mental Health Conditions Are Commonly Part of a Dual Diagnosis?

In addition to alcohol or drug addiction, there are several mental health conditions commonly seen with a dual diagnosis.  Some of those conditions include:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Many phobias
  • Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia
  • Personality disorders

People Are Complex, But There Is Help

Even though these conditions aren’t necessarily what you see every day, you don’t have to lose hope.  With the right treatment approach and patience, as well as hard work from the individual affected, it’s entirely possible for any individual with the willingness to make a full recovery from these conditions and their devastating effects.

If you or a loved one is affected by a co-occurring disorder, co-occurring treatment facilities like TouchStone Ranch can help you get better.  Contact us at 1-888-988-5128 to transform your life into the happy, peaceful one you’ve always envisioned.