Co-Occurring Disorders: What They are and How They Could be Affecting You

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Co-Occurring Disorders, also known as dual diagnosis, refer to a situation where an individual is simultaneously affected by both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse issue. It’s important to understand its impacts as it affects a large portion of the population. This blog will dive into co-occurring disorders, their symptoms, and how they can affect individuals and their loved ones. 

Additionally, we will explore various treatment options for co-occurring disorders and how to get the needed help and support. By understanding co-occurring disorders, we can work towards reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse and creating a brighter future for those affected.

What are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual disorders, are identified in people with drug use problems and mental health issues. Dual diagnosis is another name for this. In addition, patients receiving treatment for mental illnesses frequently abuse the following substances:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Marijuana
  • Alcohol
  • Opioids
  • Hallucinogens
  • Stimulants
  • Tobacco
alcohol abuse treatments

Substance use disorder: Substance use disorders are more common in individuals with mental illness than those without such a condition.

  1. Abuse of alcohol or drugs: When substance use affects one’s ability to perform at work, alcohol or drug abuse addiction is identified. It is also identified when substance use results in the development of or aggravates a health condition or happens in risky circumstances.
  2. Dependency on drugs or alcohol: A more serious condition than the above is alcohol or drug dependency. People with dependency are unsuccessful in attempting to manage or refrain from using drugs and encountering more detrimental effects. Some people may also have a physiological dependency.

Mental Health Conditions

Mood and anxiety disorders are some of chemically dependent individuals’ most prevalent mental health conditions. Even more persons with serious mental disorders also have drug use problems co-occurring with them. These mental health diseases, which include schizoaffective and schizophrenia disorder, are severe due to the intensity and length of the illness episodes.

Symptoms Of Co-occurring Disorders

As a result of co-occurring disorders, people may display a wide range of symptoms connected to their mental health and addiction issues. The following warning signs and symptoms might indicate that a person has several mental health issues:

Behavioral Signs

  • Using drugs or alcohol to cope with grief or rage
  • Drastic personality changes
  • Withdrawal from friends or relatives
  • It was no longer taking part in things that were formerly very important.
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Intense energy bursts
  • Relationships with drug users
  • Aggressive attitudes

Physiological Signs

  • Hypersomnia or insomnia
  • Malnutrition
  • Significant weight gain or decrease
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Bad hygiene

Cognitive signs

  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Fluctuations of bewilderment
  • Disorientation
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Loss of awareness or blackouts

Mental and social symptoms

  • Unjustified rage or hostility
  • Dramatic changes in mood
  • Extreme impatience and agitation
  • Disrespect for others
  • Long stretches of intense melancholy
  • Feeling unstoppable or supremely powerful
  • Moments of emotional distance
  • Self-hatred
  • Suicidal thoughts
co-occurring disorders

How Do Co-Occurring Disorders Affect You?

Various negative consequences can be placed on people who are coping with co-occurring disorders and cannot or cannot obtain treatment. Although the precise short- and long-term consequences will invariably differ from individual to individual, the following scenarios could be given as some examples:

  • General deterioration of one’s mental health
  • The overall deterioration of one’s physical condition
  • Disturbances in one’s friendships and familial ties
  • The decline in attendance and performance at work might lead to a loss of employment and long-term unemployment
  • Financial difficulty
  • Homelessness
  • Law enforcement involvement as a result of utilizing illicit drugs
  • Separation from society and seclusion
  • Beginning of self-harming habits
  • Suicidal thoughts

Treatment Options for Co-Occurring Disorders 

Experts urge integrated therapy for those with co-occurring disorders, which entails treating both the addiction and the mental condition. Some types of therapy appear to be especially useful for those with co-occurring conditions:

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CBT)

This form of therapy assists people in replacing harmful attitudes and behaviors with healthy ways of thinking and acting. Because CBT is considered the “gold standard” for curing mental health issues like depression, this may be an extremely effective treatment method for persons suffering from addiction and depression.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Because this therapy is intended to eliminate dangerous behaviors such as cutting, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse, it is a good choice for those with co-occurring disorders.

While the most successful style of therapy may differ from person to person, it is critical to remember that if an individual has co-occurring disorders, both illnesses must be treated. A person’s mental health may never improve if drug use disorders are not addressed, and vice versa. Therefore, individuals with co-occurring problems may choose an integrated residence treatment program that incorporates mental health care, drug addiction therapies, housing help, and other supporting services.

Mental Health Treatment in Los Angeles

When you have a mental health disorder, you may believe you are the only one experiencing certain symptoms. Furthermore, you may be uncertain where you should look for assistance or of the available resources. Launch Centers understands that you are not alone in Mental Health Treatment in Los Angeles. Adults & children of every age are affected by mental health illnesses, and their beginning can profoundly influence mood, relationships, and the way they think. That is why we offer excellent treatment options for various psychiatric conditions, assisting clients in receiving the care they require to cope with their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Call us today to learn more.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

staff member drug alcohol treatment los angeles

Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

treatment team los angeles ca

Eric Chaghouri, MD


chloe kruskol los angeles rehab team

Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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