Substance abuse disorders impact more than 10% of Americans. Unfortunately, more than 20.3 million Americans struggle with addiction each year. More than 30% of people with a substance abuse disorder also have a mental health disorder, meaning that they have a co-occurring disorder and comorbidity. When you have a medical condition, like diabetes, and a substance abuse disorder, you have a comorbid condition. But what is comorbidity? When you have either a mental health disorder or a medical condition as well as an addiction, you have a comorbid condition.
Having a comorbid condition can make recovery more difficult because symptoms of one condition can worsen symptoms of your other condition. It is important when you struggle with a comorbid condition to find help from a dual diagnosis treatment center or bipolar disorder treatment programs.
What is Addiction?
Drugs and alcohol are neurotransmitter inhibitors that cause your brain to release more neurotransmitters than it should. It floods your body and mind with pleasurable chemicals like GABA, serotonin, and dopamine. This rush causes your brain to associate drugs and alcohol with pleasure, which changes your brain’s pleasure and reward system.
Your body and brain can become dependent on your substance of choice in order to function and feel normal. When the effects of your substance of choice wear off, your brain is depleted of neurotransmitters which leads to depressed moods and intensified cravings. Once you become addicted to your substance of choice, you can have withdrawal symptoms within hours of your last use.
Addiction can also:
- Cause medical and mental health problems
- Increase your risk of experiencing legal issues
- Lead to personal, familial and marital conflict
- Damage your finances
- Cause mood and personality changes
What is Comorbidity?
So, what is comorbidity definition? The comorbidity definition is when you have a substance abuse disorder and a medical or mental health condition at the same time, or one right after another. Some common comorbid conditions that occur with addiction are:
- Depression and major depression disorder
- Diabetes and endocrine
- Mood disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Neurological conditions, including head trauma
If you have an addiction and a mood disorder, dual diagnosis and bipolar disorder treatment centers can ensure that you receive help for your mental health and substance abuse conditions, side-by-side. Addressing underlying mental health symptoms decreases your chances of relapsing. Negative emotions like stress, depression, and anxiety can increase cravings during recovery.
Overwhelming emotions also play a strong role in addiction, because they can cause you to abuse drugs and alcohol as a means to self-medicate. In fact, when you struggle with a mental health disorder or certain medical conditions, like chronic pain, you are more likely to develop a substance abuse disorder.
Finding Help Today
When you battle addiction, you can feel frustrated and lost, especially if you have a comorbid condition. Reaching out for help is the first step in the recovery process. A dual diagnosis treatment center can provide you with the support, understanding, and tools you need to overcome addiction. Call us today at 855.786.1978 to learn more about our programs and what is comorbidity.