Mental Health and Co-occurring Disorders

co-occurring disorders

About Common Co-Occurring Disorders

In many cases, a person who is dealing with a substance use issue may also suffer from a mental health disorder. When this happens, it means that the individual is living with co-occurring disorders (multiple disorders that affect a person at the same time). A member will have to go through detox before they begin treatment of their co-occurring disorder.

Unfortunately, those who are suffering from mental health disorders often develop substance abuse problems as well. In fact, according to a 2014 report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly 8.4 million adults in the United States were dealing with co-occurring disorders. No doubt, a large amount of U.S. adults are suffering from the same problem even now.

However, despite the fact that millions of people were struggling with addiction in addition to other mental health disorders, only thousands of people received treatment that dealt with their co-occurring disorders. According to the same report, just 7.9% of the individuals received this kind of treatment.

One common misunderstanding when it comes to addiction treatment is that it’s only meant to help people become free from substance use. But, the truth is that treatment should help individuals work through every element and contributing factor, including any co-occurring disorders.

We understand this truth here at Sana Lake Recovery Center. That’s why we provide treatment that deals with addiction as well as any accompanying disorders. Our clients receive care that helps them to work through each disorder and find total healing!

Everyone who enters our center will be assigned a Substance Use Counselor and a mental health therapist who will work together to develop an individualized plan that will address all underlying issues that may be contributing to the substance use disorder.

Additionally, we will provide a peer support specialist to help facilitate relationships within the treatment community, guide each person on their individual treatment plan while encouraging them after treatment to help them stay motivated for long-term sobriety.

Why Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment is Important

In many instances, struggling mental health may lead individuals to become addicted to medications, alcohol, or illicit drugs. This is why treatment should work to deal with both mental health disorders and substance use disorders.

When it comes to getting treatment for co-occurring disorders, it’s important to gain an understanding of various disorders and how they can affect people who are also dealing with substance abuse and addiction.

It’s also important to note that addiction develops as a result of several different factors. Sometimes, addiction develops because of genetics or certain environmental influences. Often, though, mental health disorders are actually partially responsible for addiction in people’s lives.

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One disorder that commonly accompanies substance abuse is depressive disorder. This mental health disorder affects millions of people every year.

Most people feel sad, lonely, or hopeless at some point or another. We all experience these emotions and thought patterns throughout our lives. But, depression is different from the natural emotional response to unfortunate situations we may face.

Major depressive disorder, also called clinical depression, is more than the occasional and circumstantial sadness everyone feels from time to time. It’s a mental health disorder that impacts many different aspects of life for those who suffer from it.

For some people, those emotions persist for days, weeks, months, and even years. This is definitely a sign that they are actually dealing with clinical depression.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of major depression:

  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of motivation
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Feelings of loneliness
  • Intense and extreme sadness
  • Isolation and social withdrawal
  • Lack of interest in social and family activities

The effects of depression can be very challenging. In some cases, the symptoms and effects of depression can become so overwhelming that individuals may turn to substance use in order to find relief.

Some people use alcohol in order to escape from depression’s symptoms. Others may use medication to treat their symptoms and, eventually, become dependent on the prescription drugs they’re using.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a term that many people use to describe the nervous feeling they experience from time to time. Individuals tend to feel this anxiety before important meetings, during difficult tests, and while meeting a new person. But, this is not what an anxiety disorder is.

Sometimes, people who are suffering from addiction are also living with an anxiety disorder. This means that they suffer from consistent and sometimes unprompted anxiety. Often, people who have an anxiety disorder feel anxious without really understanding why.

There are multiple types of anxiety disorders, each one having particular effects and symptoms.

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Social Anxiety

Individuals who live with this disorder suffer from anxiety when they encounter a social setting or situation. The thought of spending time with a large group may cause symptoms of anxiety. These symptoms might include nausea, excessive sweating, and increased heart rate.

Social Anxiety often causes people to feel uncomfortable at school, work, and social gatherings or events.

General Anxiety Disorder

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that general anxiety disorder (GAD) “affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, in any given year”.

People who suffer from this particular anxiety disorder may feel extremely concerned and worried about various matters. They may experience persistent anxiety regarding their jobs, health, and finances.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

This disorder is commonly known as PTSD. People experience this disorder as a result of traumatic experiences. Some individuals who deal with PTSD have been through violent and abusive domestic situations. Others may be veterans who have been in a war zone.

PTSD also affects people who have witnessed an unsettling event, such as a car accident. Some of the symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, avoidance of people or places related to the traumatic event, insomnia, agitation, and nightmares.

What Are Some Other Common Co-Occurring Disorders?


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


Bi-Polar Disorder

Personality Disorders

There are multiple disorders that might occur alongside addiction. As you begin to seek treatment for addiction and any accompanying disorders, it will be helpful to have as much information about these co-occurring disorders as possible.

Getting Treatment at Sana Lake Recovery Center

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction and a co-occurring disorder such as depression or PTSD, there is hope. Peace and healing are available through the professional treatment programs here at Sana Lake Recovery Center.

We are dedicated to making sure each of our clients finds freedom from addiction. So, there is no need to wait any longer; you can get the help you need today! Contact Sana Lake Recovery Center for information on getting help for yourself or your loved one today.


Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MDDavid Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.