If you have a substance use disorder and you feel like you’re struggling in other ways mentally, then you may very well have a comorbid diagnosis. Comorbidity is common among people with substance use disorder and can be treated with outpatient addiction therapy services. You may wonder what is comorbidity? This is an important question to answer so you can get the proper care for your needs. Let’s take a closer look at this term and what it means.
What is Comorbidity?
Comorbidity refers to having more than one disorder at a time. This can refer to any two types of disorders occurring in the same person. For example, someone with depression may also have anxiety. There is a strong connection between comorbidity and people with substance use disorder, and that is an important consideration for those seeking treatment.
The Connection Between Substance Use Disorder and Comorbidity
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately half of the individuals who have a mental health disorder also suffer from substance use disorder and vice versa. Some mental health disorders seem to be particularly prevalent among those with substance use disorders such as generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Substance use disorder is when an individual abuses a particular substance such as alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs. Usually, an individual is unable to control their intake of the substance, as is the case with alcohol use disorder, and the longer they use the greater the risk of dependency becomes. There are stages to substance use disorder such as:
- Experimentations: The individual uses a substance recreationally.
- Regular use: An individual begins to experience negative side effects like missing work or school, uses to self-medicate, and begins to develop a tolerance.
- Problematic use: Major and clear behavioral changes as getting and using the substance become more important than work, school, other interests, and even relationships.
- Addiction: Denial is frequent at this stage. However, the individual can go through a day without using. They experience physical illness as well as mental health issues.
Other mental health problems also tend to have a connection with substance use disorder. These include the following:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline personality
- Antisocial personality
Outpatient addiction therapy services are highly critical for people who have a comorbid diagnosis, but finding the right type of therapy services is just as important.
Treatment for a Comorbid Diagnosis
Without proper treatment for a comorbid diagnosis, a person will never fully resolve their disorders. Many in the medical field believe that mental health disorders, left untreated, often lead people to abuse drugs or alcohol. The symptoms of anxiety, depression, and attention deficit are resolved temporarily by taking drugs or alcohol. However, this only creates an additional problem. The person may find a little relief but it’s short-lived.
Drugs and alcohol can alter the brain leading to more mental health issues. The only way to deal with a comorbid diagnosis is to ensure a comprehensive treatment that addresses both issues. Some of the treatments that are effective for mental health disorders that co-exist with substance use disorders include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Trauma therapy
Find Help for a Comorbid Diagnosis
If you’re struggling with a dual problem — a mental health disorder and substance use disorder, then healing is available at Victory Bay Recovery Center. Our knowledgeable doctors and staff are equipped to handle both mental health problems as well as substance use disorders. We provide a complete program of therapies that address both issues. Some of our treatment programs include:
- Intensive outpatient program
- Family programs
- Extended care & 12 step program
- Co-occurring disorder treatment
Don’t let mental and drug problems harm your life. Now that you understand what is comorbidity, you can overcome both of these conditions and find healing. Contact us at 855.259.1624, and we’ll provide the thorough care you need to get well.