Over half of people who have a substance abuse disorder also have a co-occurring mental health disorder such as a mood disorder. If you have a mood disorder and a substance use disorder, the mood disorder is most likely a major underlying cause for the substance use disorder. You can definitely still receive drug treatment if you’re diagnosed with a mood disorder. Both will be treated at the same time.
Modern addiction treatment centers understand the significance of co-occurring disorders very well. For this reason, many of them employ professionals who are dual-licensed as addictions counselors and other mental health workers (e.g. licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, licensed clinical psychologists, etc.) to treat those who suffer from both. They also employ professionals such as psychiatrists who can treat the co-occurring disorder.
Common Mood Disorders for those Who Have a Substance Use Disorder
Those with substance use disorders often have the following co-occurring mood disorders:
• Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a lot more than just someone who is moody. It consists of periods of mania that followed by periods of major depression. Mania consists of elevated mood and energy level, which may cause the sufferers to engage in risky, impulsive behaviors (e.g. excessive gambling, unsafe or inappropriate sexual activity, violence, etc.). Periods of major depression consists of deep feelings of sadness and hopelessness, which may cause the sufferers to feel suicidal. Bipolar 1 disorder involves severe mania. Bipolar 2 involves hypomania, which is less severe mania.
• Cyclothymic Disorder
Cyclothymic disorder is the less severe form of bipolar disorder. It involves hypomania and brief periods of depression.
• Major Depressive Disorder
Everyone goes through periods of sadness in their life, especially when they have a specific reason (e.g. death of a loved one, divorce, family trouble, etc.). However, those with major depressive disorder experience much more than sadness over a period of time. They also suffer from feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. Their lifestyle may be affected by losing interest in activities that were once important to them, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating and having suicidal thoughts.
• Seasonal Affective Disorder
The seasonal affective disorder is depression that occurs during the winter months. While winter is depressing for many people because the weather is cold, days are shorter, and less fun activities can be done, those with the seasonal affective disorder have depression that is on a biological level due to the wintertime. Since the days are shorter in the winter and the cold weather makes outdoor activities limited, people get less sunlight, which causes them to produce less serotonin, making them feel depressed. Light therapy is commonly used for this disorder to help people get the amount of light exposure needed to alleviate their depressive symptoms.
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder falls under the category of anxiety disorders, but it is common in those who struggle with a substance use disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by feelings of constant fear and worries about a variety of issues that is severe enough to affect someone’s life.
• Schizoaffective Disorder
Schizoaffective disorder is a cross between schizophrenic symptoms (e.g. hallucinations and delusions) and mood disorder symptoms (e.g. depression and mania.
Common Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
Various types of medications (e.g. anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotics, lithium, etc.) are used to treat the biological origins of these co-occurring disorders. Many of these disorders have to do with chemical imbalances in the brain. These medications resolve those balances.
Psychotherapy consists of talk therapy where the therapist used a variety of different types of therapies to treat the client. Psychotherapy is intended to help people identify root causes for issues, develop solutions, and correct errors in thinking.
• Yoga/Meditation and other Alternative Therapies
Many people opt to avoid medication due to the side effects and turn to alternative therapies such as yoga and meditation to manage mild to moderate mood disorders. These therapies can also be used in combination with medication to take a more holistic approach. However, schizoaffective and other disorders that involve psychotic symptoms (e.g. hallucinations and delusions) can only be treated with medication. Severe forms of mood disorders may require medication to treat them.
The Right Treatment is Waiting for You
When you first arrive at addiction treatment, the first step is going to be for you to get detoxed off of any substances you were using. If you suspect that you have a mood disorder, you can only be diagnosed until all of the substances are out of your system to be sure that your symptoms are not due to your substance use. If you have already been diagnosed with a mood disorder, you can tell them during your initial assessment.
Fortunately, addiction treatment centers are well-equipped to diagnose and treat co-occurring disorders. You will most likely have a team of professionals working with you to treat both. It is vital you follow your treatment plan to ensure the best results for treating both disorders.
If you or a loved one have both a substance use disorder and mood disorder, the right treatment is waiting for you. Call our treatment center today 888-380-0342