Mental illness

How To Deal & Treat Co-Occurring Mental Disorder

Mental illness

People who ignore their mental health system are more likely to develop a significant mental illness. A co-occurring mental illness, also referred to as dual diagnosis, occurs when a mental illness and a substance use problem coexist. If not addressed on time, this illness can result in severe emotional, behavioural, and physical health problems.

Factors that may play a role in the coexistence of mental diseases range from environmental social to genetic factors.

There is some evidence that a person’s genes, social and environmental factors, such as trauma, abuse, and peer influence, may have a role in the development of substance, use disorders as well as other psychological symptoms, they mostly end up self- on medicating themselves which sometimes, aggravates issues.

Substance abuse for self-medication is frequently used to address the symptoms of mental illness. People self-medicate for many reasons; however, this can be deceiving because self-medication can disguise signs and worsen them over time.

 According to research, substance abusers are more prone to acquire mental health illnesses that disturb the brain due to their continued use of substances. Brain regions are linked to substance misuse, behavioural impulse control, mood disorders, anxiety and schizophrenia.

This illness is not limited to a particular gender, although statistics reveal that Males account for more than half of the 7.9 million people with co-occurring disorders. Usually, people with mental health conundrums are at higher risk of co-occurring illness because most resort to drugs or substances or self-medicating to feel better.

Morbidity and mortality are also linked to the presence of co-occurring conditions. For example, according to studies, anxiety sufferers are nearly twice as prone as the general population to abuse substances. Abuse is likely in people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or untreated anxiety problems.

Symptoms Of Co-occurring Mental Disorder

It can be challenging to tell the difference between mental diseases and addictions because they share many of the same symptoms. A mental health assessment might help in this situation. Nevertheless, when one has co-occurring problems, it is expected that; 

Girl illustration with mood swings - Symptoms of co-occurring mental disorder
  • There is a shift in an individual’s sleeping and eating habits.
  • Cutting up hobbies that were previously vital can be difficult.
  • A high or low point in one’s emotions.
  • Fear can strike without warning.
  • It’s hard to concentrate or think clearly.
  • A person’s incapacity to perceive behavioural or personality changes occurs during the process.
  • Irritability has gotten worse.
  • Libido levels can be high or low.
  • Increasing the distance between oneself and one’s loved ones.
  • The importance of personal cleanliness is ignored.
  • Mental conditions can be debilitating, such as delusions, hallucinations, or paranoia.
  • Physically unstable for no apparent reason.
  • Death is something you’re thinking about or trying to do.

Treatment of Co-Occurring Mental Disorder

Having adequate treatment is very important for alleviating or eradicating co-occurring illnesses. Never less, nearly 50 % of patients with a co-occurring disorder do not receive any treatment at all, even though treatment is essential for recovery.

 Until lately, it was thought that drug and alcohol abuse therapy could be isolated from treating mental problems and that care could be delivered in separate facilities using significantly different healing methodologies.

However, it was discovered that an integrated approach produces far better results than threatening the cases separately. Often, one leads to the other and must therefore be treated simultaneously. Some of the methods adopted integrated treatment include;

Therapy For Co-occurring Mental Discorder

According to data compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Department Of health and human, integrating psychiatric and Addiction treatment strategies can reduce recurrence and suicide attempts among rehab grads and improve lengthy stability. Instead of dismissing co-occurring persons from therapy due to their mental illness, embrace them. Clients with Addiction and co-occurring psychiatric problems should be given equal attention and care during the therapeutic process. Although psychiatric and substance abuse diseases appear to be transient, they require more prolonged treatment.  A physical therapist with experience treating co-occurring disorders must be in place to guarantee that therapy is delivered.

Clients with psychiatric illnesses should be treated as soon as possible. All clients should be treated with reverence, regardless of whether they are in a mental health crisis or severely drunk.

Various Approaches To Recovery Planning

  • Residential Treatment Plans: Inpatient rehab plans offer scheduled, monitored support throughout the rehabilitation process. Because they are isolated from daily problems and triggers, people in residential programs could find it easier to focus on their recovery.
  • Specialized Health care Programs: For younger teenagers, parents, or people with employment obligations who do not require round-the-clock monitoring, an outpatient rehabilitation program may be the best method to receive effective therapy without disrupting their critical daily routines.
  • Personal Therapy: Learning new and constructive ways of thinking and behaving is essential for appropriate treatment for co-occurring disorders. Nowadays, the top treatment centres are shifting away from aggressive therapy and toward a coordinated approach to boost clients’ self-esteem and avoid future recurrence.  

Psychotherapeutic drugs of all kinds, including antidepressants and antipsychotic medications, are often administered as part of a co-occurring disorders treatment program. For example, medication can alleviate cravings and other side effects and treat addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

Peer Support Clubs: This is another way of treating the illness. Individuals with psychiatric conditions frequently retreat from social situations, exacerbated for those who use drugs or alcohol. Participating in peer support groups and 12-step programs in your town, such as Dual Recovery Anonymous, will help you realize that you are not alone in your quest for a healthy, stable life (DRA). In addition, twelve-step programs and group counselling are standard features of many treatment programs.

Educate Families in Need of counselling:  It can be hard and painful to cope with a loved one who has an alcohol or drug issue. Whether you’re the patient or a family member, care and education are essential to a patient’s success in overcoming co-occurring disorders.

What Are The Benefits of Group Treatment For Co-occurring Patients?

Patients with co-occurring disorders who participate in group therapy build their network systems. They help reduce the odds of relapse, such as depression, mood swings, or panic attacks, by simultaneously treating Addiction and mental problems.

Staff members have specialized training and certifications in Dual Diagnosis treatment in facilities that treat co-occurring illnesses. Clients with co-occurring conditions confront unique challenges due to their mental illness, as these addiction specialists recognize

A coinciding treatment program for the mentally impaired must include substance abuse treatment and addiction issues. In addition, the needs of mentally ill people should be addressed during therapy sessions and group therapy meetings.

Indicators like social anxiety, despondency, and obsessive behaviour do not have to be a barrier to care when programs are adapted to meet the requirements of co-occurring disorder clients.

If you want to recover from a mental health problem like depression, you’ll need an effective addiction treatment plan, a robust support system, and a holistic approach to treatment.  A disturbing mental health patient will need an effective addiction treatment plan, a robust support system, and a complete treatment approach.

Substance Abuse and the 7 Most Common Co-Occurring Disorders

Anxiety disorder (generalized)

Individuals with persistent, regular anxiety or panic attacks and symptoms like sleep problems, restlessness, and functional impairment are diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

People who suffer from recurrent anxiety may turn to drugs or alcohol for various reasons. While some people abuse prescribed anxiety medications like Xanax, others use alcohol or illegal narcotics to improve their social skills or cope with anxiety symptoms.

Eating Disorder

In people who need addiction therapy, eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia are widespread. In addition, people frequently turn to medicines like stimulants, diet pills, and alcohol to suppress appetite and boost confidence.

Bipolar illness

Bipolar illness patients are more vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse and Addiction. This is because a chemical imbalance in the brain produces this mental disorder, which leads the individual to have uncontrollable, intense episodes of sadness and mania. In addition, many people with bipolar disorder self-medicate to lessen the severity of their seizures, which leads to an increase in attacks and serious Addiction.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

After a person experiences circumstances that create tremendous stress and, in some situations, are life-threatening, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops.

Co-occurring mental illness is a serious problem that must not be taken for granted. Therefore, if one experiences one or more of the symptoms, one should go for a mental health assessment and begin treatment as may be prescribed.

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