Addiction Recovery Blog

Co-Occurring Disorders…They Are Not Meant to Co-Exist in our Lives

Co-Occurring Disorders…They Are Not Meant to Co-Exist in our Lives

Dealing with one condition is tough on its own, but what if one is the cause of another or the other way around? Confused? Lets try to break co-occurring disorders down for you as easily as possible…

Co-occurring disorders are typically conditions where a person suffers from both a mental and substance problem. According to SAMSHA, approximately 8.9 million adults have co-occurring disorders; that is they have both a mental and substance use disorder. Only 7.4 percent of individuals receive treatment for both conditions with 55.8 percent receiving no treatment at all. In majority of situations, things such as anxiety and /or depression will lead someone to seek out alcohol or substances which inevitably leads to an addiction.

According to SAMSHA, approximately 8.9 million adults have co-occurring disorders; that is they have both a mental and substance use disorder

Unfortunately, when one condition goes untreated, the other typically gets worse. It’s an extremely unhealthy see-saw of emotional and physical self-abuse. Just like a sole substance abuser, the consequences remain the same if not worse and at a more rapid rate, and includes health complications, relationship issues, job liability, law violations and even potential injury or death to self or others.

According to research, although one illness usually leads to another, one condition does not directly, medically cause the other. The reasons in which most people pick up alcohol or substances are what link the two, primarily as a “self-medication” or to numb whatever internal/mental issue they are dealing with. Unfortunately, these “self-medications” usually intensify the underlying problem as well as adding fuel to the fire in regards to health, especially if the patient is taking prescription medications for their mental illness.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association:

– Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse.
– 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.
– Of all people diagnosed as mentally ill, 29 percent abuse either alcohol or drugs.

co-occurring disorders

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness

The biggest issue facing co-occurrence disorders is the actual “coming to terms” with the illness(es) at hand and the courage to seek out treatment. The second issue is which one to work on first. However, some of the symptoms are so similar that just treating one can automatically assist in recovery from the other. It’s recommended that you combine your treatments as they do tend to go hand in hand. But both, or however many issuesthat need to be treated must all be addressed to prevent relapse from any progress made.

So, where to start for you or your loved one?

The best thing to do is enlist in a rehabilitation facility, such as Footprints in Recovery. The daily group therapy with our Addiction Counselors covers a variety of topics, including Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence, Abuse, Trauma, Irrational Thinking, Triggers, Relationships, Spirituality, Stress and Anger Management, Coping and Life Skills, Family Dynamics, Core Emotions and more. We also offer individual therapy with a (CSAC) Counselor.

In addition, we have off-site medical doctors and psychiatrists who can evaluate you and offer the best available treatment options for your mental illness, should you be diagnosed. Combined with our Traditional 12 Step Program, daily NA/AA meetings & recreational activities/outings exploring the different aspects of the Outer Banks, you or your loved one will be taking all of the necessary steps to a full recovery…mentally, physically and emotionally.

If you feel you’re ready to take or help your loved one recover, download Footprints in Recovery Application Questionnaire. Once you’ve downloaded and completed it, email it to or fax it to 252-441-8248 and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not hesitate to call us if you think you or others have co-occurring disorders at 877-429-0713 as this is the fastest way to have someone discuss admission to our drug and alcohol rehab therapy.