Co-occurring Disorders Facts & Information

What are Co-occurring Disorders?

People who suffer from one or more mental health or psychiatric problems in addition to having an alcohol or other drug abuse problem are said to have a co-occurring disorder. These combinations of health issues are sometimes referred to as dual diagnosis or dual disorders.

What are the Most Common Kinds of Co-occurring Disorders?

In addition to having a chemical dependency problem (with alcohol and/or other drugs) people with co-occurring disorders may also suffer from:

  • Mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder)
  • Anxiety disorders such as PTSD, panic attacks or obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Thought disorders such as schizophrenia.


Complications of Co-occurring Disorders

Using alcohol or other drugs to cope will almost always make your mental health problem(s) worse. On the other hand, your mental health problems can bring about an increase in your use of alcohol or other drugs.  That’s why both problems need to be treated at the same time.

Co-occurring Disorders Treatment

Integrated treatment means treating both your mental health problem(s) and your substance abuse problems at the same time. This is the approach offers the greatest chance of success in helping you recover from a co-occurring disorder.

Treatment often include taking the first steps to stabilize both conditions. Sometimes a hospital stay is required, for example, when detoxification from alcohol or other drugs is necessary and/or you need help recovering from a severe episode of depression, bipolar disorder or other psychiatric issue.

Once your conditions have been stabilized, treatment can then proceed to include individual and group counseling (psychotherapy), taking part in self-help programs, and prescription medication(s). Helping people with co-occurring disorders is a specialty of the Brattleboro Retreat.

For more information about the Brattleboro Retreat’s programs & services for treating co-occurring disorders and other mental health or addiction issues, call 802-258-3700 or go to our  Central Intake Department.