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Concurrent disorders: Face it and fight it

Concurrent disorders: Face it and fight it

To free yourself from the tentacles of concurrent disorders, it is important that you first accept the reality that you are suffering from this problem because it is only you who can decide whether you want to live with it or get rid of it. A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that 53 percent of drug abusers and 37 percent of alcohol abusers struggle from at least one serious mental illness.

Studies say that if someone has a history of alcohol or drug abuse, he is most likely to experience anxiety and depression. Though symptoms for both the mental conditions can be different, they can weaken the person when they strike together. What keeps the person in a vulnerable state of mind is its denial. Accepting one’s battle with mental illness and substance abuse is not an easy thing, as people usually tend to ignore it or are ashamed of sharing it with others. As per a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people suffering from mental illness may become drug dependent in their attempt to self-medicate.

Mental disorders: There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Depression mood swings, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, dementia and behavioral changes are some of the common disorders. Different mental disorders occur at different stages in life. Mental diseases like schizophrenia and psychotic disorders are said to emerge in early adulthood. And children are more prone to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Substance abuse: An individual is said to be suffering from substance abuse if he is found to use alcohol and/or drugs in excess leading to health problems, disability and failure to meet major responsibilities. According to a 2014 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report, 21.5 million Americans aged 12 and above had a substance use disorder in the past year. Some 2.6 million had problems with both alcohol and drugs, 4.5 million had problems with drugs but not alcohol and 14.4 million were said to have problems with alcohol only.

Understanding severity of concurrent disorders

Concurrent disorders can lead to many other disorders and complications if not treated properly. And if an individual continues to be in a state of denial, he will not understand the dual problem associated with the disease and the extent to which it can harm him. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) by SAMHSA, 43.6 million Americans aged 18 and above experienced some form of mental illness. Some 20.2 million adults had a substance use disorder in the past year. It was found that 7.9 million people had both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder. Accepting the situation may help you find a better cure and can be your best bet in vanishing concurrent disorders from your life. Here’s how you can make out if you are battling this disease for long and not aware of it.

  • If you get depressed while drinking or your mood gets off after drug intake, there are high chances that you are struggling with concurrent disorders.
  • If you have a family history of drinking or drug abuse or a family member has dealt with any major mental illness, you are likely to develop these problems.
  • If you have stopped drinking and drug intake, but still have symptoms, you might be dealing with depression.

The way forward

It takes time to recover from concurrent disorders and there are treatments which help the patient to lead a normal life. Since there is duality in the nature of the disease, it is better to go for a mixed approach. Combined treatment helps an individual recover from substance abuse through an effective program, along with behavior therapy sessions to deal with mental illness. If you know someone with concurrent disorders and need some information, help is available. The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline can assist you well. Call us at 866-971-2658 to help someone lead a healthy life.