Many people lost in addiction actually suffer two diseases without realizing it. Their first disease is addiction and the second is a co-occurring mental illness. In fact, mental illnesses commonly occurring with addiction include depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and panic disorder. When one person suffers two conditions at the same time, it’s known as comorbidity.

Exactly What is Comorbidity? comorbidity

Comorbidity is not just a problem in addiction. Moreover, many diseases can occur like this. For example, heart disease and diabetes can occur in one person. The same holds true for an unlimited number of diseases. Two conditions are comorbid when each require different treatments.

In addiction, co-occurring conditions fall under a dual diagnosis. If you suffer a dual diagnosis, you need treatment for both illnesses at the same time. Without treating both, you stand a greater chance of falling into relapse. In addition, one condition left active fuels the treated one into activity.

Addiction commonly happens with mental illnesses, whichever condition comes first. Maybe you suffer depression or anxiety and use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate. However, maybe your addiction started and only then did you see symptoms of mental illness. Regardless of which happens first, you still must treat both at once for true healing.

Getting to Know Your Comorbidity Conditions

When you suffer mental illness with addiction, you do not stand alone. Almost as many people walk in the same shoes as you, versus those suffering only addiction without mental illness. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports over four million Americans live with comorbid addiction.

Doctors find it difficult to know which condition came first, for many people. Really, which came first does not matter. What does matter is that you get the treatment you need for complete recovery.

Therefore, why do so many people receive a dual diagnosis? Researchers know addiction and mental illness share common genetic markers and pathways. In other words, being vulnerable to one condition makes you vulnerable to both. Beyond that higher genetic chance for these diseases to co-occur, your environment, family history, health, and other factors influence whether both conditions develop.

You can suffer almost any mental illness with your addiction. But some illnesses more commonly appear with substance abuse. For example, these include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • PTSD
  • Phobias
  • Personality disorder

Your addiction specialist identifies your conditions if you require a dual diagnosis. You find out whether you need treatment for any of the above illnesses in a dual diagnosis rehab program. Furthermore, you also gain an individual treatment plan to address both diseases. You only need to ensure you get help from the right rehab, one offering dual diagnosis treatment.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment Like?

Dual diagnosis treatment feels much like treatment for people suffering only addiction. You attend individual counseling, behavioral therapies, addiction therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. Some of your individual sessions simply focus on dealing with both of your conditions in the same ways. However, your mental illness possibly requires medication.

You and your family learn about your mental illness during addiction treatment. You get to know signs of problems and how to know you need additional support, medication changes, or other help. With co-occurring conditions, you must be aware of your wellness and “check in” with yourself regularly. When you notice signs of problems with either disease, you must take responsibility and get the help you need.

However, do not fear comorbidity. Many people find knowing about their conditions a relief. After all, you spend a great deal of time trying to figure out why you started abusing drugs or alcohol. Your mental illness probably holds some of the keys you’ve searched for. In the same way, the right treatment holds the keys to a better future.

Help for Comorbidity in Asheville, NC

In Asheville, North Carolina, Crest View Recovery Center provides the help you deserve. In fact, you learn and grow in your recovery at CVRC, gaining the coping skills and knowledge to form a clear path to a better future.

For example, programs of Crest View Recovery Center include:

If you or someone you love suffers addiction with or without a co-occurring condition, call Crest View Recovery Center for help at 866-327-2505. At Crest View Recovery Center, you can rebuild your life for a better future in sobriety.