Depression and Co-Occurring Disorders

Depression and Co-Occurring Disorders

Knowing the symptoms of depression and mania may help avoid co-occurring disorders. It's probably more common that you think for a person to be suffering from two separate illnesses at the same time, both a mental health condition and substance use disorder are linked together quite often today.

According to NIDA nearly six out of every 10 people that have a substance use disorder also suffer from bipolar disorder, depression or other mental health conditions at the same time. When both illnesses occur at the same time it's commonly termed 'co-occurring disorder' and unfortunately less than ten percent of the adults who have co-occurring disorders receive treatment for both conditions.

Young People Suffering from Co-Occurring Disorders

Adults aren't the only ones that suffer from co-occurring disorders, some young adolescents and teens do too. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), over half of the young people with a diagnosis of substance abuse are also suffering from a "diagnosable mental illness". Finding a treatment program that treats both substance abuse and mental health illness in adolescents isn't easy and because they're different illnesses, they need to be treated separately but at the same time.

Mental Health Conditions and Substance Abuse Disorders

Bipolar disorder, clinical depression, anxiety disorder, and other mental health conditions are often diagnosed in people who have a problem with drugs or alcohol and it's not always easy determining which illness came first. Some people start drinking or experimenting with drugs to cope with symptoms of depression, anxiety or mania caused from a mental health disorder or even trauma and they eventually become dependent on them. Some substance users develop severe depression, anxiety or other psychological symptoms due to chronic use of heroin or other powerful drugs over an extended period of time.

It's not uncommon for a person to start self-medicating symptoms of depression, sadness, anxiety or irritability on their own by using drugs or alcohol but unfortunately it only makes the symptoms and illness worse in the long run. No matter which illness came first, they both have to be properly diagnosed, addressed and treated separately but at the same time in order for a person to successfully manage abstinence from addiction.

Many people suffer from bipolar disorder or depression but have never been diagnosed with a mood disorder. Some adults don't even find out that they have a mental health condition until they enter a treatment program for substance abuse and addiction. There are some substance abuse programs for adults that provide full assessments for their clients before developing individualized treatment plans. If bipolar disorder, depression or any other mood disorder exists, separate individualized treatment plans are designed to treat both illnesses at the same time. This way their clients are able to learn how to manage their recovery from substance abuse as well as their mental health illness symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

According to Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), when a person has bipolar disorder (manic depression) their "mood switches between depression and mania". They provide symptoms for both depression and mania which may be helpful in determining whether a person should seek help from a health care professional. Hopefully being aware of symptoms associated with bipolar disorder will get people to seek help instead of medicating the symptoms on their own by drinking or using drugs and possibly becoming dependent on them.


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