Addiction & Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment in Las Vegas

Many people who seek help for drug and alcohol addiction have other mental health disorders that need to be addressed.1 When left untreated, these co-occurring mental disorders can hinder a person’s recovery from addiction.2 This article will define co-occurring disorders, list some common signs and symptoms, and discuss how they are treated.
What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

Co-occurring disorders refers to the presence of both side profile of man with head in his hands, looking stressed and depressed a substance use disorder (the clinical diagnosis for an addiction) and one or more mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.2

There are multiple factors that can contribute to the development of co-occurring disorders.  It is often difficult to know if the substance use disorder or co-occurring disorder came first or if one caused the other.1 This speaks to the complexity of co-occurring disorders, and either or both disorders can wax or wane over time.2

People with SUD and co-occurring disorders may:1

  • Use substances to cope with mental health problems. Individuals may begin using drugs and/or alcohol to relieve symptoms of mental health conditions. This is often called “self-medicating,” and although symptoms may be relieved temporarily, they can also result in the worsening of both conditions in the long run.
  • Have mental health problems that develop as a result of substance use. Substance use may kindle the development of mental disorders in those who are predisposed to these issues.
  • Develop both issues due to common risk factors. SUD and other mental health conditions can be the result of genetic, environmental, or adverse childhood experiences and trauma factors.

Regardless of which came first or what the cause, both substance use disorders and mental health disorders affect the other, and also have the potential to worsen each other. Untreated mental health disorders can be “an obstacle to addiction recovery,” according to the Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).2

How Common are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-occurring disorder statistics show that there is a high rate of comorbidity between substance use disorders and mental health disorders. Research on the history of co-occurring disorders has found that:1,3

  • Around 50% of individuals with a substance use disorder will also experience a mental illness during their lives, and vice versa.
  • Around 30% of individuals with a serious mental illness—defined as having a mental disorder that substantially interferes with major life activities—also have a substance use disorder.
  • 43% of individuals in treatment for prescription painkiller addiction also have symptoms or have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, with anxiety and depression among the most common co-occurring disorders.
  • In 2020, 17 million Americans age 18 and older suffered from addiction and any mental health disorder.
  • In 2020, American adults diagnosed with a mental illness were more than twice as likely to misuse marijuana, opioids (such as heroin or prescription painkillers), and illicit drugs than those not diagnosed with a mental health disorder
  • American adults with mental illness in 2020 were also more likely to binge alcohol and use tobacco products than those without a mental health disorder diagnosis.
Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders

Only a qualified professional can diagnose anYoung man in counseling session individual with substance use and mental health disorders.4 The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has identified a set of criteria used to diagnose substance use disorders, which can be found in our guide to addiction signs and treatment.

Mental disorders that commonly co-occur with SUDs include:2

  • Depression & Addiction: Depression is commonly expressed as feelings of intense sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest in all or almost all activities, significant weight change, fatigue, and irritable mood.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) & Addiction: GAD is characterized by intense and frequent worry about everyday living, relationships, work/school, finances, and other topics. Anxiety is excessive to the point that it may interfere with daily life.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder & Addiction: This disorder is characterized by the persistent fear of humiliation and embarrassment in social or performance situations. Feelings of significant anxiety and distress in social situations or in anticipation of social situations.
  • Agoraphobia & Addiction: People with agoraphobia express an intense fear of being in places where escape would be difficult, such as crowded venues, public transportation, and bridges. They may experience panic attacks in these situations or tolerate them in considerable discomfort.
  • Panic Disorder & Addiction: People with panic disorder suffer repeated panic attacks characterized by abrupt and intense symptoms of hyperventilation, dizziness, hot flashes, chills, palpitation, trembling, sweating, and feeling as though they are losing control or dying.
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) & Addiction: Common features of ASPD include deceitfulness, failure to conform to social norms regarding lawful behavior, lack of remorse, impulsivity, and aggression.
  • Schizophrenia & Addiction: Schizophrenia involves symptoms that include hallucinations, delusions, agitation, disorganized speech, and excitement. It also includes symptoms like apathy and lack of emotional expressiveness.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) & Addiction: People with BPD may exhibit inappropriate and intense anger, suicidal behavior, impulsive behavior, fear of abandonment, and unstable personal relationships.
  • Bipolar I Disorder & Addiction: Sometimes referred to as manic depression, this disorder is characterized by the fluctuation between episodes of depression (loss of pleasure in activities, extreme sadness, low energy) and mania (high energy, euphoria, impulsiveness, no need for sleep).
  • Anorexia Nervosa (AN) & Addiction: People that with AN engage in excessive exercise or limiting food intake due to an intense fear of weight gain.
  • Bulimia Nervosa (BN) & Addiction: People with BN may rapidly consume a large amount of food while feeling out of control (binging) followed by misusing laxatives or self-induced vomiting (purging).
  • Binge Eating Disorder (BED) & Addiction: BED is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large amounts of food in a short period of time, accompanied with feelings of guilt and loss of control.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) & Addiction: ADHD is characterized by difficulty concentrating (even short periods of time), restlessness, impulsiveness, and disorganization.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder & Addiction: PTSD symptoms include intrusive re-experiencing trauma, avoidance of situations/objects that could trigger traumatic memories, memory loss, self-blame, social withdrawal, irritable, easily startled, sleeplessness, and guilt.

Other conditions that may be co-occurring with addiction include:

How to Treat Co-Occurring Disorders

When patients get admitted into addiction treatment, they are first evaluated by medical staff to gain information about:2

  • The severity of their substance use disorder.
  • Their living environment and social situation.
  • Their physical and mental health (including the presence of any co-occurring disorders).

Should initial screening result in a suspected co-occurring disorder, a more thorough co-occurring disorder assessment will be undertaken to help define the nature of the co-occurring disorder and develop specific treatment recommendations to address them to avoid leaving dual diagnoses untreated. This information is used to match them with the appropriate services. Patients then undergo individualized addiction treatment that’s integrated with treatment for their co-occurring mental health disorder so that both are treated concurrently.2 Treatment is specific for the individual. For example, patients with severe co-occurring disorders may benefit from the increased medical and clinical supervision afforded by inpatient treatment.5

Throughout treatment, patients are continuously evaluated as their needs change. This is important given the the complex, bidirectional nature of SUDs and cooccurring disorders. A person whose mental health disorder improves after their body is cleared of substances and treatment begins, may not need the same level of intensive care recommended when entering treatment. The level of care (i.e., medical detox, inpatient or outpatient rehab), the duration of treatment (i.e., short-term drug and alcohol rehab, 30-day addiction treatment, or long-term rehab), and the combination of behavioral therapies for addiction treatment can all be adjusted based on changing needs.2

Co-occurring disorders are treatable, and an integrated care approach—treating mental disorders and substance use disorders concurrently—is generally more effective than treating each disorder separately.1 Integrated care prioritizes dual recovery goals for the SUD and mental health disorder and has become the standard of care for treating co-occurring disorders.

Our Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment in Las Vegas

Desert Hope Treatment Center is a Las Vegas rehabCounselor with patient facility that is equipped to provide individualized, integrated treatment of co-occurring disorders. Our staff carefully evaluates the physical and mental health of each patient and creates a treatment plain tailored to their needs.

Desert Hope Treatment Center’s integrated care approach offers multiple therapy programs to treat each patient’s substance use disorder and any co-occurring disorders concurrently. Therapies used to treat addiction and co-occurring disorders include:

Therapies, peer support, and medications for addiction treatment at Desert Hope are offered in both our inpatient program in Las Vegas and outpatient rehab program in Las Vegas. Our staff can help you determine which of these treatment settings and programs is right for you.

Desert Hope also offers specialized addiction treatment programs to support recovery. These include our:1,6,7,8

  • Addiction Treatment Program for Veterans & First Responders Salute to Recovery is our specialized addiction treatment track for first responders and military veterans who have unique experiences and challenges and often struggle with co-occurring disorders such as PTSD or depression.
  • LGBTQ+ Addiction Treatment Program – Members of the LGBTQ+ community face social stigma, harassment, discrimination, and higher rates of addiction and co-occurring disorders. Desert Hope recognizes the need for a safe, understanding, and supportive space to recover.
  • Trauma Support Track – Trauma is common in people who struggle with addiction and mental illness. Our trauma-based therapy and counseling helps patients address trauma and find healthy ways to cope without drugs or alcohol.

To ease the transition from addiction rehab programs back into everyday life, Desert Hope also offers support through aftercare. Aftercare can take many forms, from the sober living program—where patients live with their peers in a supportive community that is conducive to their continued recovery—to entry into 12-step or other mutual help programs and involvement with facility alumni.9

If you believe you or a loved one could benefit from learning more about Desert Hope’s addiction rehab programs, reach out to our admissions navigators today at .