Heal Your Mind and Body: Overcoming Co-Occurring Disorders at Relief

Co-Occurring Disorders: How Mental Health Issues and Addiction Can Feed Into Each Other

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It’s not uncommon for individuals struggling with mental health issues to also struggle with addiction. This is known as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis. These conditions often occur together because they can feed into each other.

For example, someone who is struggling with depression or anxiety or PTSD may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and alleviate their symptoms, leading to addiction. Similarly, someone struggling with addiction may develop mental health issues due to the negative effects of drug or alcohol abuse on the brain.

Co-occurring disorders can make it challenging for individuals to recover, but with proper treatment, long-term recovery is possible.

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis or co-morbidity, refer to the presence of both substance abuse disorder and another mental health condition. Research indicates that more than half of individuals with addiction issues also have at least one additional mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression. Similarly, people with a primary mental health diagnosis are more likely to also struggle with substance use disorders.

Diagnosing a co-occurring disorder involves a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s physical, psychological, and social health. Mental health professionals may use a variety of tools and techniques, including interviews, questionnaires, and clinical observation, to determine the presence of both conditions. By finding the root cause of an individual’s struggles, clinicians can develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses both the addiction and mental health disorders, increasing the likelihood of successful recovery from both.

At Relief Recovery Center, we offer integrated treatment programs that address both addiction and co-occurring disorders to help individuals find the support they need to overcome their struggles and reconnect with life.

Quick Facts About Co-Occurring Disorders

  • Approximately 7.9 million adults in the United States have co-occurring disorders.
  • Among individuals with a substance use disorder, about 50% also have a mental health disorder.
  • Among individuals with a mental health disorder, about 30% also have a substance use disorder.
  • Co-occurring disorders are more prevalent in certain populations, such as veterans, individuals experiencing homelessness, and those involved with the criminal justice system.
  • Co-occurring disorders often go undiagnosed and untreated, with only a small percentage of individuals receiving treatment for both conditions simultaneously.

Relief Recovery Center provides personalized addiction treatment services in Cape Cod, MA to help individuals on the path to recovery.

What are Common Co-Occurring Disorders


A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder, are often linked to addiction as people turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate and alleviate their symptoms. However, substance abuse can exacerbate anxiety symptoms and create a vicious cycle of addiction and mental health issues.


A mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in daily activities.

Depression is a common co-occurring disorder with addiction, as people may use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their feelings of sadness and hopelessness. However, substance abuse can also worsen symptoms of depression and make it difficult for individuals to recover.

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

A disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Symptoms include intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and severe anxiety.

Many people with PTSD turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to numb their symptoms or cope with their trauma. However, substance abuse can worsen symptoms of PTSD and make it difficult for individuals to recover.

Bipolar Disorder

A mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings that alternate between periods of mania and depression.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings, and people with this disorder may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms. However, substance abuse can trigger or worsen manic or depressive episodes and interfere with the effectiveness of medication used to treat bipolar disorder.

Eating Disorders

A group of mental health disorders characterized by abnormal eating habits that can cause severe physical and mental health problems.


A chronic mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior, delusions, and hallucinations.

Schizophrenia is a serious mental health disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel, and behave clearly. People with schizophrenia may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and alleviate their symptoms. However, substance abuse can worsen symptoms of schizophrenia and interfere with the effectiveness of medication used to treat the disorder.

Signs and Symptoms of Co-Occurring Disorders

It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of co-occurring disorders in order to get the proper treatment.

Signs of a mental health disorder can include changes in mood, difficulty sleeping, and trouble concentrating. Signs of a substance use disorder can include increased tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and social withdrawal.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, it’s crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms of co-occurring disorders. Unfortunately, diagnosing these conditions can be difficult as they often present similar symptoms. However, our expert clinical staff is trained to provide the necessary care and evidence-based assessments to determine the root of the problem.

Get the Help You Need

Through a period of sobriety, combined with our integrated approach to treatment, we can provide the appropriate support needed to overcome addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Relief Recovery Center provides personalized addiction treatment services in Cape Cod, MA to help individuals on the path to recovery.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Effective treatment for co-occurring disorders typically involves a combination of therapies tailored to address both the addiction and the mental health disorder. Treatment may include medication-assisted therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, trauma-informed therapy, and family therapy. The goal is to develop a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan that supports long-term recovery. At our treatment center, we offer evidence-based practices and a compassionate, supportive environment to help individuals with co-occurring disorders achieve their recovery goals. Our team of mental health professionals and addiction specialists work together to provide integrated care that addresses both the addiction and the underlying mental health disorder.

Alcohol detox programs in Massachusetts


For individuals who are physically dependent on drugs, detox offers a secure setting under medical supervision where withdrawal symptoms can be managed.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) Rehab Massachuetts

Day Treatment Program

Day Treatment provides structure and supervision while providing more intensive care. It allows individuals to stay at the hospital or facility during the day while living at home in the evenings.
individual therapy for addiction

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

IOPs provide intensive care and support to help individuals develop sobriety skills. They are recommended for those at a higher risk of relapse or who require more intensive care.
How Much Is Rehab

Outpatient Program (OP)

Outpatient programs allow individuals to continue their daily routines while receiving treatment for their addiction. These programs typically involve attending therapy sessions and support groups multiple times per week.
cbt for substance abuse

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy gives an individual with a drug addiction the chance to discuss their drinking habits with a trained professional in a private setting. It can assist in identifying potential relapse triggers and give strategies for overcoming cravings.

If You Need Help Overcoming Substance Use, We’re Here to Support You, Just Take the First Step!

Contact Relief Recovery Center for a consultation and begin your journey to recovery. When making a call to Relief Recovery Center you will be greeted by one of our care coordinators who will guide you through a quick and easy process to start you on your path of recovery!