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Co-Occurring Disorders   

Co-occurring disorders, also called dual disorders, refers to the presence of both a mental health disorder and substance abuse. It’s also more common than most people think. Studies show that one of every two people with mental illness (such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder) also struggles with drug or alcohol abuse. Integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders is effective and offers hope for women seeking to achieve stability in their lives.

Common Types of Co-Occurring Disorders

The following types of mental illnesses are commonly seen in patients with a co-occurring disorder:

  • Depressive disorders – These include depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Anxiety disorders – These include generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, and panic disorder.
  • Other psychiatric disorders – These include schizophrenia and personality disorders.

To learn more about co-occurring disorders treatment at Malibu Vista, Call 844-874-6483

What Is Substance Abuse?

The abuse of alcohol or other drugs is called substance abuse. Drug dependence or addiction occurs when a person develops an intense physical and/or psychological need for a drug. Despite mounting negative consequences, the addicted individual is unable to control their use of the drug. Denial of any problem frequently accompanies drug dependence or addiction and a person may not realize they are addicted or dependent until they try to stop taking the drug.

Symptoms of Substance Abuse

Women with substance abuse may experience a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Personality changes
  • Blackouts
  • Drinking/using more and more to achieve the same “high”
  • Denial of the problem
  • Drinking alone
  • Drinking early in the morning
  • Suffering from the shakes or other withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop
  • Problems in the family, at school or work
  • Getting into trouble with the law due to drinking or drug use

Abuse of alcohol or drugs can lead to health problems, violence, accidents, social isolation, prison time, and increasing problems at work and home.

High-Risk Groups

Some groups of people are more likely than others to have problems with alcohol or drug use.

  • Teens and young adults – About half of all teenagers in the U.S. admit to having tried alcohol or illegal drugs. Poor school performance and higher dropout rates are more likely to occur among teens using alcohol and drugs. Substance abuse among teens increases the risk for accidents, injuries, high-risk sexual behavior, and crime.
  • Women – Although they are less likely than men to abuse alcohol, women are more likely to develop alcohol-related problems, such as liver disease. Women are more likely to abuse prescription medications than men. Drugs most often abused by women include tranquilizers (more than two-thirds of all tranquilizers are prescribed for them), pain medicines, sedatives, and amphetamines. Women who abuse alcohol and drugs are at greater risk of developing other health problems, such as osteoporosis. And women who abuse alcohol and drugs attempt suicide four times more frequently than women who don’t abuse them.
  • Adults older than age 65 – Alcohol abuse is more common than drug abuse in older adults, many of whom self-medicate to relieve problems or pain. Drug abuse is a problem with older adults because of the high number of prescription medications and lack of coordination between doctors. Problems with drug and alcohol abuse are often mistaken for other diseases or overlooked as a symptom of “aging.”

How Substance Abuse and Mental Health Problems Are Related

For women with dual diagnosis, there are a few important things to know about co-occurring disorders:

  • Self-medication – Women with a mental illness such as depression or anxiety often use alcohol or drugs in an attempt to ease their symptoms. But substance abuse has side effects that can worsen or prolong the symptoms of mental illness in the long run. In addition, over time the substances no longer numb or relieve the mental illness symptoms.
  • Substance abuse may make mental health problems worse – Using alcohol or drugs may increase the symptoms of mental illness or trigger new symptoms. Interactions between alcohol and drugs and certain medications such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications may also make such medications ineffective.
  • The risk of underlying mental illness may increase with substance abuse – Women who abuse alcohol and drugs and who have a vulnerability or susceptibility to a mental health disorder (mental disorders are caused by a complex interplay between genetics, environment, and other factors), may develop symptoms of mental illness.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders

At Malibu Vista, women suffering from co-occurring disorders receive integrated treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders in the same setting, without having to go to separate facilities or complete separate treatment programs. The goal of integrated treatment at Malibu Vista is for the client to manage both illnesses so that it becomes possible to pursue meaningful life goals.

Reconnect with your passion for life. Call Malibu Vista 844-874-6483