Comorbidity applies to many types of health and behavioral conditions. Simply put, it is the presence of two health problems at once in a single person. A good example is someone with heart disease and diabetes. Also, many mental health problems coexist with drug or alcohol addiction.

Your Unique Comorbidity

woman suffering from undiagnosed comorbidityFor many people, substance abuse has its roots in co-occurring mental illness. Or psychological illness starts after addiction takes hold. Regardless of whether addiction or the mental illness comes first, these two conditions intertwine for a stronghold on your life. The only way to break loose from this dual diagnosis grasp is to gain treatment for both conditions at once.

Comorbid addiction and mental illness require an individualized treatment plan focusing on healing both problems. Your individualized treatment starts with a doctor’s diagnosis of your substance use disorder and the mental illness that goes with it. Mental illnesses commonly occurring with addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Phobias
  • PTSD or trauma
  • ADHD or OCD
  • Schizophrenia

Your co-occurring conditions and addiction make you unique. This holds true especially when you add all of your other health conditions, addiction history, living environment, gender, age, biology, family background and other factors into your diagnosis. Together, all of these conditions shape your needs in treatment.

Ignoring Your Comorbid Needs

If your treatment ignores your comorbid mental illness and only focuses on addiction, your untreated mental illness will push you into relapse. The same is true if you only gain treatment for your mental illness. Untreated addiction causes the mental illness to relapse. This makes your need for co-occurring condition treatment clear.

The only path to wellness for people with a dual diagnosis is through treatment of both conditions at once. But knowing which conditions to treat takes time and a doctor’s diagnosis. Some symptoms of mental illness and addiction look very much alike. This means you may not gain a diagnosis of your mental illness until you enter rehab after detox.

Although gaining a dual diagnosis feels upsetting to many people, you have an opportunity for a better future through identification of the comorbidity. Because you know your co-occurring conditions, you finally gain treatment that works. You also answer many questions of why you started abusing substances in the first place. Many people with mental illness self-medicate by using drugs or alcohol.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that addiction and mental illness share many of the same genetic markers. This means your biology, chemistry, and genetics almost set you up for both problems. Knowing about your comorbid conditions also means you have relief for both conditions on its way, with the right rehab treatment.

The Treatment You Need

In decades past, doctors spent a lot of time trying to identify which of your dual diagnosis conditions occurred first. The so-called primary condition was the one treatment focused on. Now addiction recovery services and doctors know which comes first does not matter. What matters is getting treatment for both at the same time.

There is no cure for addiction. Nor is there a cure for mental illness. But recovery from comorbidity is possible, with the right treatment. Luckily, many of the treatment methods for each overlap.

Therapy provides an excellent example of overlapping treatment methods, for both addiction and mental illness. Many types of therapies exist. In addiction rehab, you gain evidence-based therapies like CBT and psychotherapy. These work well for mental illness, just as they do for substance abuse.

In treatment, you also develop coping skills for both conditions. These skills help you gain control over your mental and physical wellness. You cope better with symptoms and know how to avoid pitfalls leading you back into relapse.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Steps to Recovery

In Levittown, PA you gain the help you need for your co-occurring disorders at Steps to Recovery. Steps to Recovery programs include:

Even if past addiction treatment did not work for you, Steps to Recovery offers real hope for lasting recovery from addiction comorbidity. Call Steps to Recovery now at 866-488-8684 to learn about available programs.