The 5 Most Common Co-occurring Mental Illnesses

The 5 Most Common Co-occurring Mental Illnesses, What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?, Examples of mental health disorders,

Mental health disorders are one of the most common causes of drug and alcohol addiction. No matter the complications you’re facing now, seeking care for both conditions through an addiction treatment center is critical.

Mental illness is not uncommon. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shares that 22.8% of adults in the US experienced some type of mental illness in 2021. That’s more than 57 million people. Of those, about 14 million people suffered serious mental illness.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

A person is said to have co-occurring disorders when they have both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. Knowing you have co-occurring disorders enables you to get the treatment you need, treatment that could save your life and give you confidence in your future. An estimated 1 in 15 adults suffer from substance use disorder and mental illness, as noted by NAMI. There is help available to you at the Ranch at Dove Tree.

Examples of mental health disorders include:

The most common substances misused with mental health disorders include alcohol, opioids (including prescription opioids), and stimulants

The Most Common Co-Occurring Disorders

To help you learn if you have co-occurring disorders, consider five of the most common, including the symptoms that could help signal it’s time for you to get help. If you believe you have any of these conditions, talk with your doctor or therapist, and contact The Ranch at Dove Tree for treatment.

#1: Generalized anxiety disorder and mood disorders

Anxiety feels like fear that takes over your mind uncontrollably. A panic attack, which is the most intense moment of anxiety, can occur when there is no immediate threat present. You may have symptoms like:

  • Being unable to sleep
  • Constant negative thoughts
  • Restlessness
  • Constant feeling of worry

Those with anxiety and mood disorders may turn to prescription anxiety medications like Xanax. These drugs are intended to offer short-term help, but they are often misused and/or used with alcohol or other drugs.

#2: Bipolar disorder

A person with bipolar disorder has a chemical imbalance in the brain that creates intense episodes of both mania and depression. The symptoms of bipolar include:

  • Periods of intense mania or energy
  • Periods of depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Thoughts of suicide or harming yourself

People with bipolar disorder often turn to substances as a way to calm their intense feelings. They may use alcohol or stimulants, depending on whether they are in a depressive or a manic state. Bipolar disorder and addiction often go hand-in-hand because of the intensity of symptoms.

#3: Major Depressive Disorder

Depression is not just sadness. It’s an intense and nearly constant feeling of helplessness or hopelessness. In those with major depressive disorder, thoughts of suicide are not uncommon, and many people turn to stimulants and other drugs to fight the symptoms, which include: 

  • Withdrawing from things you used to love to do
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling hopeless even when external circumstances are neutral
  • Intense loneliness
  • Withdrawing from people

Those who have major depressive disorder may turn to alcohol and other depressants, or they may use stimulants as a way to improve brain function. Depression can also be brought on by the use of opioids and other medications when misused. Depression and addiction are very commonly linked.

#4: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD occurs when you experience some type of extreme stress that the brain doesn’t process fully. This could include experiencing the death of a loved one, car accidents, natural disasters, war/combat, or watching a family member get hurt. Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks of the event
  • Intense mood swings
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Difficulty with relationships and trust
  • Feeling out of control

Those who have PTSD and addiction often turn to depressive or stimulant substances to help them cope with the experiences. Alcohol is quite common because it can numb the feelings of fear and a racing mind.

#5: Schizophrenia

A condition often misunderstood and underdiagnosed, schizophrenia is characterized by difficulties in distinguishing reality from fantasy. Some symptoms of schizophrenia include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Out-of-body feelings
  • Delusions
  • Intense feelings that seem unjustified to others
  • Disorganized thinking

The intensity of the symptoms of schizophrenia often leads to the use of depressive substances, including alcohol. This condition, which is often genetic, is complex to diagnose and treat, often leading a person to use substances as a way to cope.

Are You Ready for Help with Co-Occurring Disorders?

If you believe you could be facing co-occurring disorders, now is the time to take action. The Ranch at Dove Tree is the team that can help you. Contact us now to learn more about the options available.