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Depression, Addiction, and Your Brain: How to Tackle a Co-Occurring Disorder

a person sits on a bed possibly struggling with depression and addiction

Many people struggle with independent addiction and mental health disorders. Additionally, people who struggle with addiction are also more likely to develop a mental health disorder. This occurrence is known as a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis. Trying to navigate the road to recovery or even just complete daily tasks can be challenging when coping with symptoms of a co-occurring disorder.

At Northpoint Seattle, our compassionate team of recovery specialists and medical professionals helps to lighten the burden you might feel on your sobriety journey. With evidence-based therapies making up each of our flexible treatment programs, you can be sure that a custom co-occurring disorders treatment plan will help you achieve your recovery goals. Call 888.483.6031 today to get started.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

A co-occurring disorder is when a person experiences a mental health disorder and addiction simultaneously. It’s important to note that a person can develop a mental health disorder after years of struggling with addiction. The term is used to describe this relationship between addiction and another psychiatric disorder because the two conditions often interact, making symptoms worse.

In the past, people who struggled with co-occurring disorders were only treated for one condition at a time. However, treatment methods have improved, and now doctors understand that treating both conditions together is necessary to achieve lasting recovery.

Common Co-Occurring Disorders

While co-occurring disorders can entail symptoms of various mental health and substance use disorders, some are more common than others.

Co-Occurring Disorders and Addiction

A doctor cannot diagnose a co-occurring disorder without an addiction present. To receive this diagnosis, a person must be struggling with both a substance use disorder and another psychiatric disorder.

Co-Occurring Disorders and Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders to co-occur with addiction. About one-third of people who struggle with a substance use disorder also suffer from depression.

Co-Occurring Disorders and PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is another common mental health disorder that often co-occurs with addiction. Studies have shown that about 50% of people who struggle with addiction have PTSD.

The Importance of Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Treating a co-occurring disorder is important because it can help address the root cause of addiction. When both disorders are left untreated, the symptoms of each tend to worsen. This pitfall can make it difficult for people to stick to their treatment plan and achieve lasting recovery.

Additionally, treating co-occurring disorders can also help to improve a person’s quality of life. When someone manages their symptoms, it’s easier to participate in activities that were once enjoyed and build positive relationships.

Effective Treatments for Co-Occurring Disorders

There are many treatment methods available to help people struggling with co-occurring disorders. Some common treatments include:

  • Psychotherapy – Talk therapy can help a person understand their thoughts and feelings. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular form of psychotherapy often used to treat co-occurring disorders.
  • Group therapy – This type of therapy is similar to psychotherapy, but therapists conduct it with a group of people struggling with similar issues. Group therapy can provide support and allow people to share their experiences with others.
  • Medication – Doctors can use medication to treat mental health disorders and addiction symptoms. For example, antidepressants can treat depression, while some specific medications can manage withdrawal symptoms.
  • Holistic therapies – Holistic therapies focus on treating the whole person, not just the symptoms of their disorders. Some common holistic therapies include yoga, meditation, and acupuncture.

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment at Northpoint Seattle

If you or someone you love is struggling with a co-occurring disorder, Northpoint Seattle can help. We offer a variety of treatment methods to meet each person’s unique needs. Our goal is to help people achieve lasting recovery to live happy, healthy lives.

Contact us to learn more about our treatment plans and design yours with a recovery specialist today by calling 888.483.6031.