One of the biggest challenges in diagnosing and treating addiction is that it is so often accompanied by other disorders—including a wide range of mental health issues. It can be tough to identify which symptoms stem from addiction and which emanate from the co-occurring mental health condition. What’s more, it’s important for clinicians to ensure they know the underlying, root cause—that they’re not just treating surface-level issues.
But what are some of the mental health disorders that are most common among those in addiction recovery? In this post, we’ll highlight eight of them.
Mental Health Disorders and Addiction Recovery
- Depression. It’s not uncommon for those who struggle with depression to seek ways to self-medicate—and all too often, that means abusing drugs or alcohol. This, in turn, can become a problem with addiction.
- Bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is identified by alternating mood cycles—including seasons of depression followed by abnormal “highs,” or mania. Those who have bipolar disorder often seek ways to “smooth out” their mood swings, and in doing so, they may turn either to drug or alcohol abuse.
- Anxiety. It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous or to deal with anxiety from time to time. That’s just a part of life. An extreme or persistent sense of nervousness may in fact point to an anxiety disorder, though—and once again, those who struggle with an anxiety order may turn to drugs or alcohol for relief.
- Schizophrenia. This mental health disorder is marked by psychotic symptoms, which may include delusions or hallucinations. These symptoms can cause real distress, and in an effort to allay that distress, individuals sometimes turn to drugs or alcohol. What starts as self-medication can turn into an ongoing struggle with addiction.
- PTSD. Those who have experienced some kind of trauma—military service, domestic abuse, or even an extreme car accident—may sometimes see symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The impact may include nightmares and recurring anxieties. Again, drugs and alcohol may be used to self-medicate, and to mask these awful symptoms.
- ADHD. Those who struggle with ADHD may find it extremely difficult to focus on a particular task—leading to problems either at work or at school. Drugs or alcohol can seem like they help the mind to calm down or to focus—but of course, these substances are dangerous when they are overused.
- OCD. Those who struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder may have inescapable thoughts or “compulsions,” and the effect can be maddening. Alcohol and marijuana are both employed for their calming, soothing effects. Once again, these attempts at self-medication can sometimes open the door to addiction.
- Insomnia. This one is sort of a two-way street. Those who struggle to sleep at night may sometimes use alcohol or other depressives to calm themselves and get some much-needed rest—yet drugs and alcohol can also impair sound sleep, which only worsens the problem.
Get Dual Diagnosis Care
The precise relationship between addiction and these co-occurring mental health disorders can be hard to untangle—which is why a trained, clinical specialist is needed to identify the underlying problem and recommend treatment. The practice of dual diagnosis is relevant here. Basically, dual diagnosis is all about identifying and treating addiction and any related mental health disorders simultaneously.
If you struggle with addiction and wonder if there is also a component of depression, anxiety, or some other mental health disorder, it’s important to find a rehab center that offers dual diagnosis care. That’s something we can provide at Experience Recovery, located in Orange County, California. Reach out to us today to discuss our dual diagnosis care standards.