The 5 Most Common Co-occurring Disorders, Revealed.

Co-Occurring Disorders

9.2 million adults in the United States have co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring conditions can cause challenges in the everyday lives of those with them. Their effects range from minor inconveniences to total debilitation.

Unfortunately, many people with these disorders don’t know they have them. Often, they only know about one. So, they treat one while the other continues to cause complications.

Understanding common dual diagnoses can help individuals seek appropriate treatment and support. Keep reading to learn more about the most common co-occurring disorders.

What Is a Co-occurring Disorder?

Co-occurring disorders go by a few names. You may have heard them called dual diagnosis and comorbidity as well. These terms refer to people simultaneously diagnosed with two or more mental health disorders.

For example, a person with depression may also have an anxiety disorder. Or someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could have a personality disorder. Co-occurring conditions also apply to someone with a mental health disorder and addiction.

An example of this would be someone with depression and an alcohol or drug addiction. Treating this type of dual diagnosis takes a specialized approach. Discover more about co-occurring disorder treatment today.

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a common co-occurring disorder. People with GAD experience excessive and persistent worry and anxiety.

Their anxiety differs from normal anxiety because they express it over everyday activities. For example, talking to neighbors or buying lunch could cause an anxiety attack in those with GAD.

People with GAD may also experience physical symptoms. The physical manifestation of GAD includes restlessness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and muscle tension.

2. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. ADHD affects attention, behavior, and executive functions.

People with ADHD may experience difficulty focusing, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD often co-occurs alongside substance use, anxiety, and mood disorders.

3. Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a mental health disorder marked by persistent sadness. But, those living with MDD also experience symptoms like:

  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Sleep disturbances and insomnia
  • Lack of energy and fatigue
  • Reduced or excessive appetite/cravings
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

MDD is a common dual diagnosis with anxiety, substance use, and personality disorders. Its comorbidities may enhance the severity of the symptoms listed above.

4. Substance Use Disorder

One common misconception about substance use and abuse is that it’s a choice. But, drug and alcohol addictions are mental health disorders. Like the others on this list, they often occur alongside other disorders.

People with this disorder have a mental and/or physiological need to use certain substances. These include but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Prescription drugs
  • Illicit drugs
  • Over-the-counter drugs

Drug or alcohol use can worsen the symptoms of a pre-existing mental health disorder. For example, depression and anxiety may worsen when using drugs.

People with this disorder may also have a higher risk of developing more mental health problems. Many people with this disorder also develop PTSD, MDD, and GAD. People with this disorder should seek dual diagnosis treatment.

5. Personality Disorders:

Individuals with personality disorders perceive their relationships and experiences differently than others. As such, there is a wide range of personality disorders. Some personality disorders you may recognize include:

  • Schizotypal
  • Borderline
  • Narcissistic
  • Antisocial
  • Obsessive – Compulsive

Mood and personality disorders can be comorbid with one another. They can also appear with disorders like PTSD. Since mood and personality disorders can be stressful, many also experience drug and alcohol problems.

Co-occurring Disorders and Other Health News

Knowledge is the best tool to continue becoming your best self. Understanding how co-occurring disorders affect your mental health is one step toward improving your quality of life. But taking care of yourself is a layered process.

Our blog stays updated on the latest health news and more. Check out our other posts to take the next step toward a healthier you today!


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