Substance abuse and mental illnesses often intersect and influence one another. The intersection often leaves the patient with major issues that should be remedied. A recent study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse states that 17.5% of people with mental health issues have substance abuse issues. But how can you identify if you or your loved one has co-occurring disorders?
What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?
Co-occurring disorders are the simultaneous existence of mental health issues and substance abuse. The two illnesses may begin at the same time or cause the other to materialize. These illnesses influence the severity of the other. A patient with co-occurring disorders will need specialized treatment to remedy the two.
What Are The Common Mental Illnesses In Co-Occurring Disorders?
Mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression
- Personality disorders
- Conduct disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Eating disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
People with mental health disorders do not automatically develop a substance abuse problem, but they are definitely more susceptible. These individuals develop a dual diagnosis when their mental health issues lead them to substance abuse or vice versa. Immediate treatment is important as the disorders can exacerbate each other. As such, it is important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of co-occurring disorders.
4 Symptoms Of Co-Occurring Disorders
The four signs of co-occurring disorders are:
- Inability to report to work
- Strained relationships with friends
- Financial issues
- Extreme mood swings
It may be challenging to identify co-occurring disorders since the signs and symptoms of the two may overlap. A consultation with a psychiatrist can help with a dual diagnosis. These symptoms will help you signal that it is time for a consultation.
Signs Of Mental Disorders
Changes In Basic Functions
A person may have co-occurring disorders when they manifest major changes to the way they function. There may be changes in their eating habits in the form of appetite loss or binge eating. Their sleeping patterns may also change wherein they are either unable to sleep or sleeping a lot.
General Lack Of Interest
A person may have co-occurring disorders when they no longer express interest in the things that used to make them happy or excited. The patient may have abandoned old habits in favor of sleeping in. Their old hobbies may no longer bring them joy.
Frequent mood swings may indicate a mental illness. A person may feel extremely joyous one moment and sad at the next. These abnormal emotional highs and lows will occur in short timeframes. Some people may feel irrational fear and anxiety out of the blue. They may feel irritable over the littlest of things and being in a bad mood may be their default. This may also affect their sense of focus in such a way wherein they are unable to think clearly and will feel like they’re in a fog.
Lack Of Self-Awareness
Patients with mental disorders might be unable to spot these warning signs themselves. They will also be defensive or aggressive when someone points out their drastic change in behavior. They live in a state of denial wherein they feel like things are okay, even if they are not.
The patient may withdraw from social gatherings and refuse to spend quality time with friends and loved ones. They will pass up on opportunities to hang out and bond. They would much rather stay at home and perform mindless tasks. They may also choose to isolate themselves due to the behavioral changes triggered by mood swings.
Changes In The Body
Mental disorders may manifest into physical changes as well. The patient may experience a change in libido, weight loss or weight gain, fatigue, or a decline in personal hygiene. The patient may refrain from showering regularly or brushing their teeth which can likewise lead to physical changes.
Changes In Behavior
The patient may find themselves doing things that are out of their comfort zone. They may perform risky activities since they no longer have any regard for their personal safety. They may even dabble in using addictive substances as a form of temporary relief. This may become habitual which is exactly what causes the dual diagnosis. The patient may also experience chronic paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts.
Signs Of Substance Abuse
Unable To Quit
The patient may have numerous attempts to quit using drugs or drinking alcohol but failed. As such, the addiction may worsen over time as the body craves more of it. When the patient tries to quit, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as muscle aches, nausea, sweating, and restlessness.
Inability To Function
The patient has a substance abuse issue when they can no longer function normally. The majority of their thoughts dwell on how they can access the addictive substance. They are overcome by their cravings which affect their ability to function. They discard regular tasks since they live in a constant haze of wanting.
As the patient goes deeper into their substance abuse issue, they isolate themselves from their family and friends. They withdraw from social gatherings since they no longer feel like themselves. They would much rather stay at home or hang out with their supplier or a similar company that fuels their addiction.
The combination of the symptoms of the two disorders causes so much more issues compared to experiencing a singular problem. These symptoms become more severe as more time passes. As such, it is important to watch out for these symptoms so that they can be treated as soon as possible.
Co-occurring disorders are common among substance abuse patients. The best course of treatment is to pinpoint the exact diagnosis so that a specialized treatment plan can be executed. Knowing the signs and symptoms of co-occurring disorders paves the way for immediate discovery and treatment.
It is equally important to get admitted into a rehab center that specializes in the treatment of co-occurring disorders. R&R Recovery is an excellent example with experience in treating co-occurring disorders. Contact us today.