A co-occurring disorder is used to describe a person who has mental illness and a disorder which is caused by a substance at the same time (Bright et al. 2017). People who have this kind of disorder usually have one or more disorders which relate to the use of alcohol or other drugs or more mental disorders. One is described to have the co-occurring disorder if at least one of the disorder of a specific type can be established independently, without having symptoms which result from another disorder. Some of the examples of the Co-occurring disorder include alcohol addiction with panic disorder, major depression with cocaine addiction, the disorder of bolder- line personality with episodic poly-drug addiction with schizophrenia among others. People with this kind of disorder usually experience severe and chronic social, medical and emotional problems than those who are experiencing substance-use disorder or mental health condition alone. These two diseases at times become difficult to differentiate them due to symptoms which appear to be alike.
Mental health and substance abuse disorder usually occur as a result of environmental and biological factors. Addiction and mental disorders are both lively processes, with a variation in the degree of severity, progression rate and show of symptoms. Both of them are influenced by factors like environment, pharmacological influences and genetic liabilities. Genetic risks expose an individual to higher risks of being infected. Environmental risk, on the other hand, can help in sustaining the disorder and finally, pharmacologic risks are whereby the drugs which are provided can lead to substance-use disorder problems.
There are also signs and symptoms associated with this disease. These symptoms include the ones which are associated with mental health and substance abuse that one has. It becomes had to treat this kind of diseases since in most cases you will find that the symptoms of substance abuse covers those of mental illness and vice versa. This makes them appear as one.
There are various ways which can be used in the treatment of this disorder. One of the ways is the provision of appropriate medication at the medical centres which can be used in treating the patients. Introduction of psychological classes may also be of importance to the infected patients, and also those who are not affected. This is a way of creating awareness, making people understand what this kind of disorder is all about how to manage it and also where to seek appropriate medication in case of its occurrence. The education will also be of importance in advising the society that the disorder is normal, which will help in reducing any isolation that was likely to occur.
The treatment of co-occurring disorders in most cases becomes trick due to various reasons. Clinicians should, therefore, keep in mind that some disorders occur frequently. They also need to know that there are many disorders which are very much similar and yet they are different (Kampman & Jarvis 2015). This calls for a thorough evaluation before deciding on the kind of treatment they are supposed to recommend the patients.
There are a lot of challenges when it comes to treatment of people with co-occurring disorders. This is because their health deteriorates at a higher rate since the treatment systems of substance abuse and mental health are not integrated generally. This makes it hard for a person to move from a specific region to be treated one illness and then move somewhere else to be treated on another health issue.
People with the co-occurring disorder in most cases will seek treatment due to their obvious stressing symptoms. It is noted that some of the people who have personality disorders seem to be less bothered as compared to those they interact with. They also appear as having no idea about the impact of personality disorder to their lives (Graham et al. 2016). Therefore when a patient seeks assistance to get treatment for distressing symptoms like anxiety or even depression, the presence of personality disorder is likely to make the treatment complicated. At time how the two disorders relate may also complicate treatment. For example, consider a person who comes for treatment to cure alcohol abuse following a DIU, The existence of underlying bordering personality would give an assumption that the abuse of alcohol results from impulsivity. It may also be resulting from attempts made in regulating intense emotions. All these reasons originate from underlying borderline personality, making the treatment of alcohol abuse complicated due to the problem of emotion regulations and impulsivity.
The other thing which makes treatment process complicated is that individuals with personality disorder usually have difficulties when it comes to interpersonal relationships. Interacting with the therapist is also a form of interpersonal relationship. Personal disorders may affect the formation of the therapeutic relationship, which in turn affects the healing process. People with disorders like Paranoid Personality Disorder find it very hard to trust someone. This makes them find it difficult to even trust their treatment providers. This makes them feel like they are being lied to and even go ahead not taking the drug which they are provided with, or failing to follow the instructions as guided by their medical attendants.
At times patients find it difficult in tolerating topics such as negative behaviours of the patients which are normally discussed by the therapists. This discussions in most cases make the patients feel uncomfortable, and at times they get angry. Most of these patients lack interpersonal skills which are required in dealing with unpleasant feeling as well as conflicts. This makes them more frustrated over an issue which was not even meant to harm them (Kampman & Jarvis 2015). This makes it difficult for the medical attendants to help, and you will find an issue which was supposed to be settled within a short period will have to take ages due to misunderstandings that arise between the patents and the therapists.
Other factors which may complicate treatment include self-destructive behaviours, which are normally carried out with people with personality disorders. These may include the use of a substance or self-injury. It may also include counter-therapeutic acts like unwillingness of the patients to follow the instructions given to them by doctors as well as dishonesty. All these factors that contribute to difficulties in the treatment of co-occurring disorders.
Looking at the co-current disorder, I also support the fact that it is difficult to treat this illness due to inability identify the specific distinct symptoms which are associated with the two diseases, and also the difficulties that arise as the therapists try to treat their patients. This, on the other hand, does not imply that the disease cannot be managed. There are other ways such as rehabilitations may be used to settling the mental problems caused by drugs, and then, the other illness may be treated with doctors later. If this fails, the doctors should carry out more research and find ways or even drugs which may be used for the treatment of concurrent diseases. The society as a whole should also be encouraged to support those who are affected rather than isolation them. Constant advice and even offering medical support may enable them to feel like part of the society, and take the disease positively which will also make them heal faster. Staying away from those when are infected will make them feel stigmatized, which will, in turn, worsen their situations.
Bright, S., Walsh, K., & Williams, C. (2017). Point Prevalence and Patterns of Mental Health Comorbidity Among People Accessing Australia’s First Older Adult–Specific Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Service. Journal of dual diagnosis, 1-6.
Graham, H. L., Copello, A., Birchwood, M. J., & Griffith, E. (2016). Brief Integrated Motivational Intervention: A Treatment Manual for Co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Problems. John Wiley & Sons.
Kampman, K., & Jarvis, M. (2015). American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) National Practice Guideline for the use of medications in the treatment of addiction involving opioid use. Journal of addiction medicine, 9(5), 358.