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Co-Occurring Disorders & Dual Diagnosis

For many people, mental health disorders and addiction are two very separate problems. However, we know today that substance use disorders and mental illness are often synonymous with one another.

The two disorders can have similar underlying causes, and having one increases the chances of developing the other. Some mental illness gets so bad that they turn to drugs and alcohol to help them cope with the symptoms. For others, the severity of their addiction and the side effects of long-term alcohol and drug abuse can trigger or exacerbate mental illnesses.

The simultaneous presence of both of these disorders is what is known as a co-occurring or dual diagnosis. Co-occurring diseases have become common in the United States, affecting nearly 10 million Americans each year.

“Up to 65.5% of those with a substance dependence disorder had at least one mental disorder and 51% of those with a mental disorder had at least one substance dependence disorder.”

The Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Common Mental Health Disorders Treated Along with Addiction

Mental health disorders can involve changes in thinking, behavior, and mood, and they commonly hurt the way people live their everyday lives. According to studies, one out of five U.S. adults (over 40 million) suffer from a mental health condition, and nearly 60% of them did not receive treatment for their illness.

Here are some of the most common mental health disorders associated with substance addiction:


Anxiety disorders are the most common types of mental illnesses we see. Nearly 20% of U.S. adults struggle with anxiety, with approximately 23% of these people diagnosed with a severe case. Symptoms of anxiety may include:

  • Nervousness
  • Excessive worrying
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Racing heart
  • Chest pains
  • Panic attacks
  • Irrational fears
  • Feeling weak and nauseous.
  • Difficulty sleeping


Depressive disorders are the second most common type of mental disorders. Symptoms of depression may include:

  • Persistent sadness and anxiety
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Increased irritability
  • Energy loss
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Severe fluctuations in weight

Complex Trauma

Common causes of trauma include sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, and profound neglect. Typically, the traumatic occurrences happen during childhood, and the effects of the incidents persist with the individual through adulthood. Symptoms of complex trauma may include:

  • Feelings of anger, sadness, and hopelessness
  • Severe anxiety
  • Fear or depression
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty sleeping and nightmares
  • Inability to form close relationships
  • Dissociation

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD typically develops after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, such as military combat, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, sexual assault, or car accidents. Symptoms of PTSD may include:

  • Frequent flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty sleeping and nightmares
  • Negative and angry emotions
  • Intense distress
  • Distorted beliefs

“Co-occurring disorders effect nearly 10 million Americans each year”

Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders During Your Stay at Cycles of Change

When an individual has a substance addiction and a mental illness, they must get treatment for both disorders. Getting treated for just one issue can increase the chances for relapse after the recovery program is completed.

Getting separate treatment for both disorders can also be ineffective in achieving long-lasting recovery. Co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders impact one another, and therefore must be treated together. At Cycles of Change Recovery Center in Palmdale, California, we believe in holistic treatment that addresses an individual’s physical, mental and emotional needs. Our therapies and programs will help you understand how these two are related and help you overcome the pain experienced from both.

That’s why it is highly recommended that individuals with co-occurring disorders seek out integrated or dual-diagnosis treatment. The integrated treatment combines substance abuse and mental health services into one parallel treatment program. Passionate and caring professionals coordinate our treatment plans to treat both disorders in one setting, eliminating the division between mental health and substance abuse treatments.

Understand the Root Cause of Your Addiction & Mental Health Disorders

Cycles of Change Recovery Center in Palmdale, California, offers our patients the highest level of care from our licensed, dedicated, and experienced treatment staff. We offer a range of treatments to address your substance use and mental health problems, and we are committed to helping you achieve long-term health and wellbeing.

If you are suffering from co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, trauma, or others, do not hesitate to seek help. The link between mental health and substance use disorders is clear, and we are here to help you recover at your own pace.

“At Cycles of Change, it is OK to be depressed, it is OK to be anxious, it is OK to be an addict, and it is OK to talk about it.”

Brianna, Cycles of Change alumni

Contact Cycles of Change Recovery Center today to begin your recovery and start your journey to a happier, healthier life.


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