Many curious individuals often wonder what the difference is between a co-occurring disorder and a dual diagnosis when regarding medical conditions. The fact of the matter is that a co-occurring disorder and a dual diagnosis are different terms used to describe the same condition. When an individual experiences both a chemical dependency and a mental illness, they are what’s commonly referred to as a dual diagnosis. The preference between terms truly depends on the medical professional who examines the patient.
Many individuals who are diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder are more likely to experience a relapse when they are trying to refrain from substance use. Not only is the individual dealing with addiction but they are also trying to get a grasp on their mental illness. Without the proper help and guidance, usually through a co-occurring disorder treatment center, recovery can be difficult.
In the past, many counselors believed that mental conditions couldn’t be addressed until the suffering individual had maintained a prolonged period of sobriety. Modern professionals are understanding that addiction and mental illnesses can go hand in hand and should be treated at the same time.
As a co-occurring disorder example, a returning soldier who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (a mental illness) might self-medicate with the use of illicit substances or alcohol. Treating their substance abuse issues without addressing their mental health will likely lead to a relapse. Because they have a co-occurring disorder, their PTSD could be triggering the use of substances. The same can be true when the treated disorders are reversed. This is why many leading dual diagnosis/co-occurring disorder treatment facilities are addressing both issues simultaneously.
After going through an extensive co-occurring disorder screening and assessment, an individual can begin their path to recovery. Another common mental health condition that is associated with substance abuse is what’s known as bi-polar disorder. Individuals who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder can have great difficulty remaining sober. Throughout the course of certain days they exhibit positive attitudes and express the desire to abstain from alcohol or drugs. On others, they could become manically depressed and quickly resort to the use of narcotics or alcohol to alleviate their pain.
Without addressing both conditions simultaneously, individuals are liable to fall short on their road to recovery. This is why it’s important for suffering individuals to seek help at a professional facility. Most are well staffed with knowledgeable counselors and doctors and they have the necessary facilities to accommodate those who are seeking change. With experience and compassion, co-occurring disorder rehab staff members can drastically improve a sufferer’s quality of life.
Nobody should have to go through co-occurring disorders alone. Reach out for help today by calling the recoveryas.com addiction treatment specialists.