Comorbidity occurs when a person suffers from two illnesses at the same time. They can be both chronic illnesses that affect your physical health, a mental health issue and a physical health issue, or two or more mental health conditions that impact you simultaneously.
One of the most common comorbidity combinations in mental health is a mood disorder, like depression or bipolar disorder, combined with a substance abuse problem. These form a complex pairing in which both will continue to exacerbate the effects of the other, creating a cycle of depression and dependence that can be extremely difficult to break free from on your own.
How Mood Disorders and Substance Abuse Interact
In comorbidity situations, a patient can experience a substance abuse problem and a mood disorder, or other mental health condition, alongside each other. Although an estimated 10 million people have a dual diagnosis each year, each case is often highly dependent on the individual, including the way it develops and the appropriate treatment method.
Comorbidity that includes a substance abuse and mood disorder diagnosis can develop due to:
- Independent Conditions – Because of genetics, environment, or other factors, those using alcohol or drugs have a higher correlation of also having a mental health condition. In this case, these are separate conditions, but they can still impact each other heavily.
- Self-Medication – In order to cope with the negative feeling of depression, some people will turn to drugs or alcohol for a numbing or distracting effect, potentially developing a dependency as a result.
- Challenges from Addiction – Substance abuse and addiction can severely interrupt your life, causing additional stress at work, with relationships, in finances, and more. This stress can trigger mood disorders in some cases.
The interrelation of addiction and mood disorders, regardless of how they developed, can continue to make each problem worse. Dependency can heighten symptoms of depression and anxiety, which can increase your dependence as you attempt to deal with the discomfort.
As your psychiatrist in Dallas, we will look at the different mental health conditions that make up your diagnosis and determine priorities and methods for treatment. We will prescribe appropriate medication to manage withdrawal and mood disorder symptoms, and supplement with other treatment solutions to help address all of your mental health concerns.
Dr. Sehdev at Aware Behavioral Health is a psychiatrist in Dallas experienced in treating a variety of different mental health conditions, including working with patients that have a dual diagnosis. We partner with you to treat depression and mood disorders, anxiety, alcohol addiction, opioid addiction, and a range of other mental health challenges that might occur together.
If you are currently dealing with one or more mental health conditions, make an appointment at Aware Behavioral Health to get started with treatment.