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The Importance of Recognizing and Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

People who struggle with substance abuse disorders will typically have one or more co-occurring mood-related or anxiety-related health disorders. In fact, nearly eight million people in the United States struggle with both mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders.

Common co-occurring disorders include major depression, persistent mild depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, social anxiety, generalized anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Treating co-occurring disorders

It may take time for mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors to properly diagnose each co-occurring disorder in someone with an addiction. For example, if someone is struggling with marijuana abuse and schizophrenia, the signs and symptoms of these disorders will be drastically different from someone struggling with a cocaine addiction and bipolar disorder.

Treating addictive disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders at the same time is important for many reasons, including:

  • Mental health disorders are often compounded, or made worse, by substance abuse.
  • Mental health disorders often contribute to excessive use or abuse of alcohol and illegal substances.
  • Chronic drug and alcohol abuse increases our chance of becoming a victim of physical or sexual assault, which can in turn create serious mental health issues.
  • Methamphetamines and alcohol exacerbate mild depression, causing it to worsen over time.
  • Poor-decision making is often linked to substance and alcohol abuse, which can lead to anxiety and/or panic attacks.

Our skilled team of specialists offers a variety of specialized inpatient and outpatient programs that are tailored to the unique needs of each patient and his or her family. Gateway’s residential programs offer access to behavioral health specialists to effectively manage many co-occurring mental health conditions. Likewise, coordination of care for individuals with more complex behavioral health issues is supported in the outpatient programs and as a part of recovery support services. For more information about how Gateway Rehab can help you along your path toward recovery from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, call 800-472-1177.