Common Co-Occurring Disorders


An estimated 7.9 million adults were diagnosed with co-occurring disorders in the US as of 2014. Today, co-occurring disorders, or, dual-diagnosis, is prevalent in substance abuse. Mental illnesses can spawn substance abuse disorders. Substance abuse disorders can often be accompanied by mental illnesses. Many facilities promote dual-diagnosis treatment but not are not actually equipped to provide it. Year after year, addicts and alcoholics in recovery seek treatment. They either leave their treatment programs or complete them, but without long term success. Undiagnosed co-occurring disorders leaves a wealth of suffering untreated, handicapping the power of transformational recovery. Understanding the symptoms of various common co-occurring disorders is essential to working with a treatment provider to develop the best possible plan of treatment for a loved one.


Depression affects more than 350 million people worldwide. The numbers are high for how many of those people also suffer from substance abuse. Symptoms of depression can be more subtle than a prevailing feeling of sadness or hopelessness. Trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, sensitivity, loss of interest in regular activities, and physical problems can come with depression. Fatigue, feelings of emptiness, and difficulty with decision making is common as well.


There are three types of anxiety: social anxiety, panic, and general anxiety. Each of these are characterized by unique symptoms. Generally, anxiety is characterized by feelings of extreme worry and fear. There may be a difficulty in comprehending thoughts, physical symptoms of sweating and rapid heartbeat, or irritability.


For many, substance abuse is a coping mechanism for dealing with untreated trauma or PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the result of surviving traumatic episodes, but suffering the mental effects. PTSD at its worst can be seen through lively flashbacks and nightmares. Depression and anxiety can attach to PTSD as symptoms. At the core, PTSD leaves long-lasting fear of being in danger.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a common diagnosis in the technological age. When people’s brains move too quickly for them to keep up with, ADHD can cause a lot of stress, frustration and disability. It is difficult to concentrate, stay organized, or sit still. Impulsive behavior that is normal to substance abuse is also found in ADHD.


Bipolar is also known as being manic-depressive. Depression can sometimes be diagnosed as bipolar-affective, but is no the same thing as bipolar. Substance abuse can create a lot of highs and lows, but bipolar takes emotional states to extreme states. Manic highs and depressive lows can lead to a variety of unbalanced behaviors.


Refuge Recovery is properly equipped to treat co-occurring disorders. We offer detox, residential, partial hospitalization, and inpatient services, as well as sober living and after care programs. For more information call (323) 207-0276 today

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