A co-occurring disorder is when a patient is diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Anxiety currently affects approximately 18% of the U.S. population. It is also estimated that nearly one-third of people in the United States have suffered from anxiety at one point during their lifetime.
With such a high percentage of people suffering from anxiety alone, it is not surprising that anxiety is the most common co-occurring disorder for those who also suffer from addiction. Almost one in five people with a substance use disorder reported co-occurring anxiety according to one study. People abusing opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers are more likely to see a co-occurrence of anxiety with an estimated 60% of patients experiencing both disorders simultaneously.
A person with a co-occurring disorder of anxiety and substance use will see greater symptom severity of both disorders than they would if they experienced them separately. However, it should also be noted that anxiety can sometimes be overlooked due to effects of certain illicit substances, making it much harder to identify that a person is suffering from an anxiety disorder.
A common finding among medical professionals is that treating only one disorder does not typically lead to improvements for the other disorder. Leading many to conclude that it is far better to have both disorders treated simultaneously to offer the best chance of recovery for the patient.
Addiction to illicit substances is common in people who suffer from mental health problems like anxiety. This is largely due to self medication in an effort to combat the effects of the disorder. On the other hand, abuse of alcohol and drugs have been shown to increase the risk for developing mental disorders such as anxiety. If a person is at risk for developing a mental disorder, substance abuse can be the determining factor.
While addiction or anxiety is difficult to overcome when presented separately, it is more difficult to overcome a diagnosis of co-occurring disorders and is why professional treatment is critical to recovery.
At Recovery Coast, we partner with licensed detox facilities that are specifically equipped to combat co-occurring disorders. Our trained staff with over 30 years of experience are also available and present 24 hours a day, 7 days per week to help our patients. Our licensed counselors and therapists are also specifically trained to work with those who may be affected by a co-occurring disorder.