Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders: Mental Health and Substance Abuse

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The term co-occurring disorders refers to a person who has both a substance use disorder and another mental health condition. Say’s  Dr. Charles Noplis, these disorders can be treated as independent issues that do not require a treatment plan for both, or they may require simultaneous treatment for both in order to achieve full recovery. Do you need treatment for co-occurring disorders? Are you experiencing any signs of addiction and mental illness? Let’s take a deeper look into this complex issue so that we can answer these questions.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are a combination of mental health and substance abuse. The two disorders can impact each other, but they can also be treated separately. There are many people who have both types of problems that require treatment in order to get better. If you’re struggling with both mental health issues and substance abuse problems, it’s important to know that there are resources available for you!

Do You Need Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders?

Do you need treatment for co-occurring disorders?

Yes. If you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder and substance use disorder, it is important to seek help from a professional. The most effective way to treat these conditions is through a combination of therapy and medication.

The Connection Between Addiction and Mental Illness

It’s important to understand that addiction and mental illness are closely linked. Mental health disorders can be a symptom of addiction, or vice versa.

One example of this is bipolar disorder, which causes people to experience alternating periods of depression and mania (an abnormally elevated mood). Some people with bipolar disorder use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their symptoms during manic episodes. When they’re feeling depressed again, they may use more substances as an attempt at self-treatment–and then find themselves trapped in an unhealthy cycle where each episode leads directly into another one.

The Roots of Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are a complex issue. While it’s possible that both mental health and substance abuse issues stem from the same source, it’s also possible that they may have different roots.

A person who has been diagnosed with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder could have developed them independently of one another or at different points in life. In some cases, these problems may arise from an interaction between environmental factors like trauma or poor parenting styles and genetic predisposition (meaning there is an inherited tendency toward certain conditions).

The best way to address co-occurring disorders is to get the help you need.

  • There is no shame in seeking help.
  • There are many ways to get help, including therapy, treatment programs and support groups.
  • The benefits of getting treatment for co-occurring disorders include:
  • Improved mental health symptoms and quality of life
  • Reduced risk of self-harm or suicide attempts


You may have already begun to see that there is a connection between mental health and substance abuse disorders. This can be difficult for many people to understand or accept, but it’s important that we do so in order to get the help we need. If you think that you or someone close to you has co-occurring disorders, please seek professional help as soon as possible.

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