Co-occurring disorders describe a condition wherein a patient has two or more illnesses. They can happen at the same time or one after another. Interactions between the two conditions can also exacerbate both illnesses, the Mental Help says. For instance, the effects of your substance abuse can worsen your anxiety or depression. It also works the other way around. Your depression can result in or worsen your alcohol or drug abuse.
If you think you have co-occurring disorders, you’ll start to exhibit some, if not all, of the following symptoms:
Withdrawal from Loved Ones
Individuals who develop substance abuse disorder typically withdraw from friends and family. The withdrawal is the result of a person spending less and less time interacting with loved ones, as all his or her time and attention are consumed by thoughts of getting another dose or drink. Withdrawal also leads to isolation, loneliness, and in many cases, depression.
Sudden Behavioral Changes
Addiction changes the person. If you have addiction problems, you’ll lose interest in people and hobbies that used to excite and absorb you. The only thing that matters anymore is getting high or drunk. If you’re losing interest at work or school, and your grades or performance is dropping, your drug or alcohol use may be getting out of hand. That isolation could also lead to anxiety or depression.
Inability to Stop
Have you ever tried to stop drinking or taking drugs? If you have and you’ve failed, those are signs of severe drug or alcohol abuse. If you can’t stop, even when you tell yourself to, it’s time to get recovery assistance. Also, if you’ve tried to, but withdrawal symptoms occurred, that’s a sure sign that you need help in managing your addiction.
Engaging in Risky Behaviors
Addiction requires money. If you don’t have enough funds, you may find yourself resorting to theft just to buy drugs or alcohol. Are you lying and cheating your loved ones? Do you often pass out drunk and unable to recall the events the next day? If you’re drinking and getting behind the wheel of your car, those are risky behaviors that could put your health and safety at risk. Also, the loss of inhibitions and the blackouts that come from heavy drinking could also put you at risk of casual sex, which could lead to HIV and other transmittable diseases. These behaviors can also lead to anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness.
Worsening Depression or Anxiety
Are you taking drugs to reduce your anxiety or depression? If withdrawal symptoms occur, that means you’ve developed an addiction along with your mental condition. Addiction only worsens or adds to your depression and anxiety, the National Alliance on Mental Illness says.
Substance addiction affects the chemical balance of your brain, which can result in mental disorders over time. For instance, you may start getting panic attacks and severe anxiety. That’s another sign that you’ve developed co-occurring disorders.
If these symptoms occur, don’t hesitate to look for help. Find a substance abuse recovery facility that offers dual diagnosis rehab treatment.