How Co-Occurring Mental Health Conditions Contribute to Addiction

Studies have shown that mental health conditions are one of the leading causes of addiction in the United States. Whether it be an addiction to alcohol, opioids, or any other commonly abused substances, a significant number of people that suffer from such addictions are also suffering from a mental illness. This combination of effects creates a scenario known as a co-occuring mental health condition, an increasingly common occurrence that currently accounts for roughly 50% of today’s addiction cases. In this article, we will discuss co-occurring mental health conditions in detail, and how they can create serious obstacles with a person’s recovery.

What Is A Co-Occurring Mental Health Condition?

A co-occurring mental health condition is a diagnosed condition that occurs alongside an addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD). Many mental health conditions are difficult to treat, and even more difficult for people to cope with. This struggle can often lead them to substance abuse as a form of self medicating, a loss of self control, or in extreme cases, even a desire to inflict self harm. 

This occurrence can take place with any mental health condition, but the most common cases involve depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is important to be aware of these co-occurring mental health disorders, and be able to identify them when they take place, because the symptoms can have a compounded impact on the struggling individual and their families.

How It Affects Addiction

As mentioned, addiction to alcohol and other substances can be fueled by an existing mental health disorder for a number of reasons, or it can easily be the other way around, with the addiction being the leading cause of their mental illness. The two occurrences function as a double-edged sword to the detriment of the individual, and they often require extensive amounts of treatment and intervention in order to have a successful recovery.

It is an unfortunate fact that mental health care in the United States is not the best that it could be, and it is not always easily available to those who need it most. Many patients who struggle with co-occurring mental health disorders may go through therapy, or rehabilitation, and only receive treatment for their addiction, and not their mental illness, or the other way around. 

Experts agree that if a patient receives treatment for an addiction, but not the co-occurring illness that fuels their addiction habits, then the patient is extremely likely to experience a relapse within their first year. A thorough evaluation for a dual diagnosis is imperative to the success of any treatment, and both conditions will need to be treated simultaneously in order for the patient to have any real hope of recovery.

Mental Health Service by American Treatment Network

Co-occurring mental health conditions can have a horrible impact on the lives of patients and their loved ones. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you should contact a dual diagnosis treatment center immediately and begin the first steps toward recovery today. American Treatment Network offers mental health service in DE and PA, and our team of medical professionals is standing by ready to help. Please visit our website, or contact a treatment center near you, and speak to a professional today.


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