Typical Co-Occurring Disorders


Addiction strikes its victims with unexpected and harsh consequences. The symptoms and withdrawal aftermath could destroy anyone’s psyche. It tears apart families and the health of the addict.

Coping with addiction involves daily struggles, which cause both physical and mental pain. People who are prone to psychological imbalances are at the highest risk of developing co-occurring disorders. Alternatively, the other disorders were there all along and addiction was caused by those disorders or just made it a whole lot worse.

What Co-Occurring Disorders Are

Imagine your mental state is already unstable. You do not reach out for help and attempt to deal with it on your own. The situation worsens, though, so you turn to drugs.

Then, you develop a substance dependency and begin to abuse whatever you are craving. Now, you are at a stage at which you will get diagnosed with co-occurring disorders.

Receiving timely and adequate treatment is crucial to the recovery of patients with a dual diagnosis. The impact of both disorders usually entails more complications related to the patient’s physical & mental health.

Symptoms Of Dual Diagnosis

Depending on the type of psychological and drug condition the person is suffering from, the signs and symptoms will significantly vary.

Even though there are no universal symptoms to look out for, some or all of these may be observed in someone with co-occurring disorders:

Drug-Induced Symptoms

  • Unexpected behavior shifts
  • Abusing drugs and alcohol in hazardous circumstances
  • Self-isolation
  • Overall risky demeanor
  • Partial or complete lack of control over the amounts of substances consumed
  • Developing high tolerance toward abused drugs & alcohol
  • Experiencing unmatched cravings for the desired substance, under the belief that they cannot live without it

Psychological Indicators

  • Irrational and illogical thinking
  • Lack of concentration & focus
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Typical Co-Occurring Disorders

Despite the numerous scenarios, which could lead to the appearance of co-occurring disorders, patients usually suffer from similar conditions.

Bipolar Disorder

It is one of the most quoted co-occurring disorders. Patients experience alternating episodes of mania and depression.

If the psychological condition induced substance abuse, then it was a means to reduce the intensity of the episodes. However, what happens indeed are more severe and unpredictable fluctuations within the brain.

In fact, studies reveal that most patients with bipolar disorder will undoubtedly develop a drug addiction over time.


Post-traumatic stress disorder is often the result of highly stressful and life-threatening events, such as car accidents, brutal crimes, or natural disasters. Any sort of psychological, physical, or emotional abuse could also cause PTSD.

Patients experience intense symptoms, which usually cause them to re-live traumatic events. Drugs and alcohol are their means to cope with the unbearable symptoms.

However, the effects of substance abuse are counter-productive to relieving the pain. They intensify the negative emotions and interrupt regular sleeping patterns.

For PTSD there is only one way to deal with it. Therapy of some kind. Whether it is EMDR or EFT … both highly effective in the treatment of PTSD … you cannot just ‘get over it’, no matter what they do in films.

Final Thoughts

If you notice someone’s behavior suddenly shifting, do not be afraid to approach them. You can just inquire … do not expect a great response, but at least you are showing somebody cares.

To say addictions are complicated is an understatement. Addicts require immediate treatment and constant supervision.

Often, patients with co-occurring disorders will try to hide their conditions. It is crucial for their well-being that they feel comfortable to communicate their feelings. If you are an active and patient listener, you may be able to help someone take the first steps to sobriety.