What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?
When someone has a mental health condition and does not receive adequate care, they are at risk for turning to drugs or alcohol to alleviate their symptoms. Someone who has anxiety may drink alcohol in social situations, while someone with post-traumatic stress disorder may smoke marijuana to numb their emotional pain.
Drugs and alcohol do nothing to treat the symptoms of mental illness. In fact, they exacerbate these symptoms and put people at risk for more severe mental illness, suicidal thoughts and overdose. This is a dangerous cycle that can only be stopped with professional intervention and support services.
Treating a co-occurring disorder requires more intense, one-on-one treatment than if you were to have a substance use or mental health disorder alone. But healing is possible when you obtain the right treatment, make the appropriate lifestyle changes and receive continuing support that includes therapy and 12-step meetings.