Co-Occurring Disorder and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Centers in Nevada
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Many people with a substance use disorder (SUD) suffer from co-occurring mental health issues. This is especially true for those going through the process of overcoming an alcohol dependency. Whether it’s a mental health disorder that was previously diagnosed or the result of extended alcohol abuse and its associated lifestyle, these issues are often interlinked.1
According to statistics, over 19 million adults in the US are battling a substance use disorder, with over 51 million people have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness or disorder. Mental health issues and substance abuse often interact to create a compounding effect of distress.2
Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders in the US
Co-occurring disorders are defined as the presence of two or more mental illnesses that exist simultaneously in a person’s life. In 2019, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that nearly 10 million people in the US have been diagnosed with a comorbid disorder.3
These comorbidities are common among people with substance use disorder, depression, and anxiety disorders. The simultaneous presence of these two conditions can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms of one can mask the signs of the other. In many cases, both issues need to be addressed for effective treatment.3
What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?
A co-occurring disorder, or dual diagnosis, is the presence of both a substance abuse problem and one or more mental health disorders. The most common case of this pairing is alcohol dependence with various types and degrees of mental health issues. It’s estimated that up to 50% of cases involve an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and/or a mental health disorder.4
It’s common to find co-occurring mental health issues and substance use because those struggling with their mental well-being frequently turn to alcohol or other substances, such as illicit drugs or prescription medications. Although it is possible to suffer from alcohol abuse or mental illness and not develop a co-occurring disorder, the chance of that happening is significantly higher when there has been extensive use over an extended period.4
What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Alcoholism and Co-Occurring Disorders?
- Increased tolerance to alcohol
- Uncontrollable cravings for alcohol
- Drinking more than intended or desired
- Neglecting responsibilities or obligations due to drinking
- Social isolation or withdrawal from family and friends due to drinking
- Feeling irritable, anxious, or depressed when not drinking
What Are the Common Co-Occurring Disorders That Occur With Alcohol Abuse?
Mental illness and substance abuse often go hand-in-hand as half of those who struggle with serious mental illnesses, and one-third of all individuals dealing with any form of mental health issues also engage in the misuse of substances. The other way around is just as true, as more than half of people who misused drugs happened to suffer from mental disorders too, while a third part was found to have abused alcohol as well.6
When it comes to mental health, mood and anxiety disorders often appear in combination with substance use. Alcohol might seem like an easy way to reduce symptoms of your disorder at first, but the crash that follows can be much more damaging and may even worsen existing side effects. Below are common mental health issues that may occur alongside substance abuse or alcohol addiction:7
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Personality disorders
Experiencing a lack of energy, activity levels, and mood changes are all possible indicators of depression, which can be enhanced by alcohol abuse. Statistics show that about 40% of those who suffer from mental illness also misuse drugs or alcohol – making them more likely than not to experience addiction issues.8
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a condition that can cause people to experience emotional highs and lows. Those with bipolar disorder often have other mental health issues such as substance abuse or anxiety disorders in addition to their primary diagnosis. These extreme changes in mood and energy levels can make it difficult for those affected by the illness to complete even the most basic tasks on some days.9
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition in which individuals become obsessed with certain thoughts and behaviors that can have a negative impact on their lives. People with OCD may struggle to control the need to perform certain rituals and routines, oftentimes leading them to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Alcohol abuse can worsen the symptoms of OCD, as it can increase the person’s worries and make it even harder to manage their behaviors.10
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health problems and can range from mild to severe. People with this disorder often suffer from a persistent sense of worry and fear, feeling like something terrible is going to happen. Alcohol use can worsen the symptoms of anxiety disorders, as it affects a person’s ability to think clearly and make sound decisions.11
Post-traumatic stress disorder can be associated with drug and alcohol abuse, as many individuals may use these substances to cope with the symptoms of their disorder. Since substance abuse can lead to increased levels of anxiety and depression, it can worsen the severity of PTSD.12
For over four decades, the effects of PTSD have been intensely investigated. Results indicate that people living with PTSD frequently indulge in alcohol consumption more often than those without it and are more likely to develop an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). The co-occurring disorder factors contributing to this phenomenon are mainly due to the fact that people with PTSD use alcohol in an attempt to alleviate negative emotions and reduce distress.12
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can affect how an individual thinks, behaves, and perceives reality. People with this condition may experience hallucinations, delusions, difficulty communicating and concentrating, disorganized thinking and behavior, extreme mood swings, and difficulty functioning in day-to-day life. Alcohol abuse can also worsen these symptoms and make it harder for individuals to cope with their disorder. Drinking can interfere with medications used to treat schizophrenia, potentially leading to more severe side effects.13
Personality disorders involve difficulty relating to others and behavior patterns that are often extreme and problematic. People with personality disorders may find it difficult to manage their emotions and behavior, leading them to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Studies have found that over half of those who struggled with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) also battled addiction at some point in their lives. Substance abuse can make it even more difficult for people with personality disorders to cope and manage their emotions, leading them to become further isolated from others.14
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can lead to impulsivity, difficulty focusing, disorganized thinking, and restlessness. Additionally, adults with ADHD are more likely to suffer from addiction or dependence on drugs or alcohol than the general population. This is because they may use these substances as a way to cope with the symptoms of their disorder.15
What Are the Dangers of Co-Occurring Disorders?
Co-occurring disorders are a combination of two or more mental health disorders that occur at the same time. People who experience them often face unique challenges and complications. This can make diagnosis, treatment, and recovery more difficult than if only one disorder was present. When left untreated, the effects can be serious.5
When two or more disorders are present at the same time, people may be especially vulnerable to issues such as:5
- Increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Poor physical health, such as an increased risk of chronic diseases
- Increased risk of criminal activities or incarceration
- Higher rates of violence or self-harm
- Poor work performance
- Difficulty maintaining relationships
What Factors Cause Co-Occurring Disorder With Alcohol Addiction?
Mental illness and alcohol abuse often co-occur, yet this does not necessarily indicate that one caused the other. It can be difficult to decipher the cause-and-effect relationship between mental disorders and alcohol use since those with mental health issues may resort to self-medication in the form of drinking. Furthermore, people dealing with co-occurring disorders are more likely to increase their alcohol consumption for temporary relief from symptoms.14
According to researchers, there is a strong correlation between these three factors that could explain this common occurrence:14
- Heredity and other biological variables
- Environmental factors, including abuse, trauma, or stress.
- Psychological factors, including personality traits and mental health conditions.
What is Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders and Alcohol Addiction?
Integrated treatment is a form of treatment that focuses on treating both mental health disorders and addiction at the same time. Integrated co-occurring disorder treatments recognize that both disorders must be treated simultaneously in order for a person to have a successful recovery. Co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders are managed with a combination of individual and group therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. These include:15
- Behavioral therapy: Behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals learn how to better manage their moods, cope with stress, and recognize triggers for substance use.
- Pharmacotherapy: Medications such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and medications to reduce cravings can be used to treat mental health disorders. Medications may also be prescribed to help individuals manage withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other substances.
- Support groups: Support groups can provide a safe place for individuals to share their experiences, learn new coping strategies, and receive support from others who are struggling with similar issues. Family therapy can help family members understand the role they play in their loved one’s recovery and how they can best support them.
The benefits of integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders and alcohol addiction include improved mental health symptoms, better overall physical health, increased engagement in healthy activities, reduction in substance use and relapse, improved quality of life, improved social functioning, and fewer hospitalizations. While integrated treatment can be difficult due to the complexity of the various conditions, it is essential for long-term recovery.15
Find Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders and Alcohol Addiction in Nevada
If you’re committed to addressing your alcohol addiction and are uncertain of where to begin, then it’s essential that you seek reliable information regarding rehabilitation options. American Addiction Center (AAC) stands as the leading substance abuse treatment providers in the United States. Boasting facilities across America and contracts with all major health insurance carriers, this wide-reaching group offers evidence-based treatments for any and all coexisting conditions.
If you are seeking resources on alcohol abuse and dual diagnosis, the American Addiction Centers helpline is here to answer your inquiries 24/7. You can learn more about our top-notch treatment program costs or any other information pertinent to this field in a matter of minutes. Their professional admissions navigators can assess your benefits and discuss payment options with you, or even provide alternative financial solutions if your health insurance cannot cover the entirety of the costs. In addition, you can always be up to date on your insurance coverage by completing and submitting a Verification of Benefits form available on AAC’s website.
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