Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders

Overcoming Co-Occurring Disorders.

When first seeking treatment for addition, you go through both a physical and psychological exam. These exams, for the most part, help the staff offer you the right kind of care in terms of physical and mental treatment. You typically get the diagnosis you expect, which is some form of substance use disorder. Some people, however, walk away from these exams with a diagnosis of co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-occurring disorders happen when people show the symptoms of both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. For example, someone with an alcohol use disorder might also have an anxiety disorder. Someone with depression might turn to cocaine or amphetamines.

The substance abuse can actually prove a kind of self-medication. You unconsciously turn to substances that alleviate some of your symptoms. Unfortunately, the changes addiction can cause in the body and brain often make the mental health disorder worse in the long run.

DiagnosisOvercoming Co-Occurring Disorders.

Diagnosing a co-occurring disorder is often complex. Symptoms from a mental health disorder can mimic symptoms of addiction or withdrawal and vice versa. For example, withdrawal from many drugs can create fatigue, trouble concentrating, and sleep problems. These same symptoms often turn up with depression.

In general, a dual diagnosis results from a combination of factors. Details from your personal history can show on a pattern that signals a mental health disorder. Symptoms that don’t match up with the normal addiction/withdrawal symptoms for the drug you use serves as another sign.


Treating co-occurring disorders is more challenging, but it’s very possible. In most cases, you receive two tracks of treatment. For example, one track focuses on addiction treatment with therapies like:

The second track focusing on treatment for your mental health disorder. You often receive specialized individual therapy and, when appropriate, medications. Someone with co-occurring disorders and anxiety might receive alprazolam to relieve their anxiety symptoms. Most dual diagnosis programs tailor the treatment approach for your specific needs.

Clear Life Recovery

Clear Life Recovery is a dual diagnosis treatment center in California. We offer an integrative approach that uses proven traditional therapies in concert with holistic therapies.

A dual diagnosis program can leave you feeling like you lack any control in your life. A quality rehab program that offers dual diagnosis can help. You’ll overcome your co-occurring disorders and learn to manage your mental health in more constructive ways. Contact Clear Life Recovery at 866-261-7291 and find out how we can help you.