It is an unfortunate reality that people who suffer from addiction or substance abuse problems are often also dealing with mental health issues.
This condition is called a concurrent disorder or co-occurring disorder and it describes a situation in which an individual is dealing with both addiction and a psychiatric issue. While certainly not a complete list, common problems include:
- Street Drugs such as cocaine or heroin, meth etc.
- Prescription Drugs / opiates such as Percocet, oxy contin, etc.
- Benzodiazepines such as valium, Xanax, Ativan and other tranquilizers
- Hallucinogens such as LSD, Mescaline, Psilocybin and other dissociative drugs
- Post traumatic stress disorder PTSD
- Depression, bi-polar and other mood disorders
- Obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder and other anxiety disorders
- Anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders
- Conduct disorders (mostly in younger people)
- Attention deficit disorder ADD
The combination of two separate, serious issues generally compounds, masks and makes treatment of both more difficult. It isn’t all bad news though. When treatment targets both issues and an integrative treatment program is combined skillfully with love, patience and a lot of work, recovery is possible. For people suffering from a co-occurring disorder, unless addiction treatment is combined with treatment for the mental health issue, recovery is unlikely to take place.
It is important that professional diagnosis of a co-occurring disorder is done. Not everyone with an addiction problem has a co-occurring disorder. A mental health professional or a trained addiction specialist should determine this in consultation with primary medical care. This said, if drugs or alcohol are being used to cope with feelings of sadness, painful memories, abuse, trauma or simply daily living then it can be a significant sign and proper diagnosis is the first step to recovery.
At Ledgehill we recognize the importance of treating both addiction and mental health conditions and have a professional, experienced, well trained team that delivers a single integrated recovery program. Programs are designed for individual needs and targeted to provide the best chance of a successful recovery.