At The Detox Center of L.A., we understand the importance of treating the underlying causes of addiction in order to decrease the chances of relapse and increase the chance of long-term recovery. The term co-occurring disorder refers to the situation in which an individual is suffering from a co-existing mental illness and substance use disorder. When an addiction co-occurs with a mental health disorder, the severity of each may change over time. The two disorders may also exacerbate one another. In comparison to those who have a single disorder, those with co-occurring disorders may require more intensive medical and mental health treatment options.
Co-occurring disorders are not uncommon. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 8.2 million adults in the United States had a mental illness along with a substance abuse disorder in the past year. In order to achieve the most effective treatment for these individuals, both disorders must be addressed in a comprehensive manner. If one issue is treated without the other, the consequences include increased risk of relapse, suicide risk, and rehospitalization.
When a client enters our doors at The Detox Center of L.A., they will undergo a comprehensive assessment in order to put together an individualized treatment plan. Our dedicated team of clinicians will work together with clients to help them achieve their goals and succeed throughout their long-term sobriety and overall mental health.
At our treatment facility, we treat the following co-occurring mental health disorders.
The occasional feeling of anxiety is a normal part of life for any individual. These feelings can arise in situations like when an individual is faced with making an important decision, has a problem at work, or before taking a test. However, when a person is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the feelings of anxiety don’t go away and worsen over time. The symptoms start to interfere with daily life such as school, job performance, and personal relationships. There are several different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobia-related disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a variety of different things. Individuals who have GAD find it difficult to control their worry and anticipate disaster. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, GAD affects approximately 6.8 million adults in the United States a year.
Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder include:
- Persistent worry about normal/daily life
- Difficulty controlling their worry or feelings of nervousness
- Feeling restless or trouble relaxing
- Easily startled
- Difficulty handling uncertainty
- Headaches, muscle aches, or stomach aches
- Feeling light-headed or out of breath often
- Excessive sweating
- Overthinking plans
- Perceiving situations as threatening, even when they are not
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
Individuals with panic disorder experience recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are periods of intense fear that are brought on quickly and escalate, reaching their peak within minutes. Along with the periods of intense and sudden fear, individuals also worry about when the next panic attack will happen. They work to actively prevent future panic attacks by avoiding certain places, people, situations, or behaviors that they associate with the attacks. The panic attacks themselves, as well as the worry about them, results in significant issues in all areas of the person’s life.
Symptoms of Panic Disorder include:
- Feelings of impending doom
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of choking
- The feeling of being out of control
- Increased sweating
A phobia is an intense fear of specific things or situations. The fear is so intense it usually causes an aversion to actively avoid these objects or situations at all costs. While it isn’t unusual to be fearful or anxious in certain situations, the fear that people with phobia-related disorders feel is out of proportion with the actual “danger” that these things cause.
People with a phobia-related disorder display symptoms of:
- Irrational and excessive worry
- Immediate and intense anxiety when facing certain objects or anxiety
- Taking active steps to avoid certain situations
According to Mental Health America, research shows that one in three people diagnosed with depression also suffers from some sort of substance abuse disorder. Clinical depression is a common yet serious mental disorder that often goes undiagnosed. It causes symptoms that affect how an individual thinks, feels, and acts. Depression is more than just feelings of sadness and can interfere with daily activities such as work, sleeping, or eating.
Depression is a mood disorder that results in persistent feelings of sorrow and hopelessness. Individuals who are suffering from depression may also experience a loss of interest in everyday life. The symptoms of depression can range in severity and duration for each individual, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to keep in mind that some of these symptoms can pertain to a normal “low” in life. However, individuals with clinical depression experience more of these symptoms at a stronger severity with a longer duration.
The common signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Changes in sleep pattern
- Anger or irritability
- Energy loss
- Reckless or dangerous behavior
- Trouble concentrating
- Unexplained pains and aches
Borderline Personality Disorder
Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder experience ongoing patterns of different moods, self-image, and behaviors. These symptoms usually result in impulsive actions and trouble functioning in every life. This includes difficulty maintaining relationships and extreme emotions. People with Borderline Personality Disorder may experience mood swings and show uncertainty about how they view themselves and their role in the world. It also affects how they see others, and their opinions of other people may change quickly. These shifting feelings can result in patterns of instability.
The extreme reactions of individuals with Borderline Personality Disorders can make it difficult for them to maintain steady jobs, schooling, or social lives. They may experience intense episodes of anxiety, depression, and anger that can last hours to even days.
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorders include:
- Feelings of boredom or isolation
- Having an unstable self-image
- Trouble feeling empathy for others
- Highly changeable moods
- Persistent fear of abandonment or rejection
- Self-destructive behaviors
- Unstable career goals and plans
Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder that involves unusual shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. The disorder is also referred to as manic-depressive illness as it ranges in periods of “up”, elevated and energized behavior (or manic episodes) and “down” which are hopeless, sad periods (depressive episodes).
When an individual has a manic episode, they may feel euphoric, full of energy, elated, and irritable. When the mood shifts to a depressive episode, they may lose pleasure in most activities while dealing with feelings of hopelessness. There are four basic types of bipolar, all of which involve unusual mood changes:
- Bipolar I Disorder: Severe manic episodes that last at least seven days with depressive episodes typically lasting at least two weeks. Episodes of depressive and manic symptoms at the same time are also possible.
- Bipolar II Disorder: Patterns of depressive and hypomanic episodes (which are less severe manic episodes).
- Cyclothymic Disorder: Several periods of hypomanic and depressive symptoms lasting a period of at least two years.
- Other Types: Bipolar disorders induced by certain medical conditions or certain drugs or alcohol qualify as other types.
Symptoms of mania include:
- Abnormally upbeat
- Increased agitation, activity, and energy
- Less need for sleep
- Unusually talkative
- Racing thoughts
- Easily distracted
- Poor decision-making
Symptoms of depressive episodes:
- Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, and sadness
- Feeling little or no pleasure in activities
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of inappropriate guilt
- Suicidal thoughts
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that develops in some individuals who have experienced a traumatic event. It’s natural to experience fear during a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Fear triggers the body’s “fight-or-flight” response which is meant to protect itself from harm. Most individuals will experience a range of reactions after trauma and recover from them naturally. However, people with PTSD will have these symptoms continue even when they are no longer in danger.
Individuals with PTSD have intense, frightening thoughts and feelings related to their experience. This includes reliving the event through nightmares and flashbacks. The feelings of sadness, fear, or anger may cause individuals to isolate themselves from other people. People with PTSD may avoid certain people or situations that remind them of their trauma. They may also have a strong reaction to ordinary things that trigger their traumatic memories such as a loud noise.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Reactive symptoms
- Easily startled
- Angry outbursts
- Trouble sleeping
- Distorted feelings of guilt or shame
- Loss of interest
- Trouble remembering key factors of the traumatic event
Co-occurring disorders can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of addiction and substance abuse disorders can sometimes mask mental health disorder symptoms while symptoms of mental health disorders can be confused with addiction symptoms. Since both disorders can have an effect on one another, it’s important for the client to undergo an integrated treatment approach. Integrated treatment offers a range of different therapeutic services to provide clients with proper healing on all levels.
The Detox Center of L.A. believes that an individualized and integrated approach to treatment is best. Our goal for those battling addiction and co-occurring disorders is to help them build acceptance, security, and self-awareness. The dedicated team of clinicians will be a partner for you as you work through your own issues and build a strong foundation in life. We strive to create a safe environment to help people learn more about their addiction and co-occurring disorders, learn skills to better their lives and work towards a healthy future.
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