Common Co-Occurring Disorders With Substance Abuse

Co-Occurring Disorders With Substance Abuse

When you struggle with mental health and substance abuse, it is called a co-occurring disorder. Dealing with alcoholism and drug addiction is never easy, and it is even more challenging when you also experience difficulties with your mental health.

Some common co-occurring disorders with substance abuse have unique symptoms that may affect your ability to perform at school or work, and manage life’s challenges. Even worse, co-occurring disorders also affect each other. 

If you don’t treat your mental health disorder, the substance abuse can get more complicated or severe. Similarly, when drug or alcohol abuse increases, mental health issues increase too.

A large percentage of all co-occurring disorders are found in teenagers who are more prone to experience mental illness in their adolescence. Adults are also prone to co-occurring disorders as well. In a study done in 2018, a whopping 9 million adults were diagnosed with co-occurring disorders. 

Co-occurring disorders are treated simultaneously in what is known as an integrated treatment program, also called dual-diagnosis. The idea behind this treatment program is to tackle both disorders together. Integrated treatments seem to show more success than regular addiction treatment programs for co-occurring disorders. 

There are many common co-occurring disorders with substance abuse; let’s take a look at the most common ones, shall we?

Bipolar Disorder 

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness associated with extreme mood swings: from manic to depressive. Bipolar disorders commonly co-occur with substance abuse.  And due to the nature of a bipolar disorder and the similarities in genetic vulnerabilities with substance abuse, this co-occurrence can sometimes be difficult to treat. It’s important if you are struggling with the two to reach out for professional help. 


Depression is one of the most common co-occurring disorders with substance abuse. It is a common mental illness that affects the mood leaving individuals with deep sadness and loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. Depression goes beyond experiencing feelings of sadness. 

Also, depression is a dangerous co-occurring disorder with substance abuse because of its bi-directional effects. This means that depression could induce substance abuse and vice versa. 

Personality Disorders

A personality disorder is a mental illness where the individual exhibits actions that are different from the ‘norm’. It is common for personality disorders to co-occur with substance abuse. Antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorders are more of the common personality disorders treated. 

Anxiety Disorder 

An anxiety disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme feelings of worry, panic, and fear. Like bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders co-occur with substance abuse. Anxiety disorder often triggers substance abuse, especially alcohol abuse. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A large percentage of individuals struggling with substance abuse also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders. A study keeps this percentage at 25% to 50%. When PTSD co-occurs with substance abuse, it is difficult to treat. People struggling with PTSD also experience a decline in social functioning, little improvement, and more violence. 


Schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes a rift in an individual’s ability to perceive reality. This co-occurring disorder with substance abuse leaves people susceptible to substance abuse disorders. Men with schizophrenia are even more predisposed than women to substance abuse comorbidity. 

Scientists believe that an impairment in the dopamine mesocorticolimbic brain reward circuit triggers this common comorbidity. Schizophrenia and substance abuse comorbidity are dangerous as the latter worsens the symptoms of the former. 

How Enlight Can Help With Co-Occurring Disorders

Enlight is an addiction treatment center located in Los Angeles, California. We offer dual-diagnosis for individuals suspected to have co-occurring disorders. We also have an integrated treatment program set up for comorbid disorders. 

Do you or your loved one have a co-occurring disorder? Reach out to us today for help with your addiction! 

The Importance of Staff to Patient Ratio in Mental Health

Importance of Staff to Patient Ratio in Mental Health

It is vital for every health facility, including mental health facilities, to have an optimal staff-to-patient ratio for adequate care.

Staff to patient ratio in mental health refers to the number of patients assigned to each staff. Most times, the staff to patient ratio can be influenced by certain factors like the severity of illness, the type of treatment program, the staff’s qualification, and many more.

What is A Staff to Patient Ratio in a Mental Health Facility?

The variations in the staff to patient ratio in health facilities depends on the treatment programs and the number of staff and patients available. However, a standard staff-patient ratio in mental health translates to;

  • One nurse to 4/6 patients during the day
  • One nurse to 7 patients overnight
  • In acute mental health patients, one to one or one to two depending on the level of need.

The Importance of a Balanced Staff to Patient Ratio

A balanced staff to patient ratio will lead to many positive outcomes, not just for the patients but also for the staff and the facilities. That’s why the staff to patient ratio at Enlight Treatment Center is 3:1.

Why We Have A 3-1 Staff to Patient Ratio?

  • To offer Personalized and Tailored Care

Standard staff to patient ratio makes it easy to deliver personalized services to patients living with mental illness.  NIH confirms that an appropriate staff to patient ratio in mental health facilities enhances patient-staff relation and satisfaction. 

At Enlight, we do not offer a one size fits all treatment option. We believe in the uniqueness of each patient and tailor services that will suit their needs. The best way to accomplish those needs is through a balanced staff to patient ratio.

  • To Prevent Nurse Fatigue

Mental health patients require attention and, in some critical cases, a lot of attention. However, nurses with many duties to do will quickly burn out, affecting their nursing duties. Our 3 in 1 staffing ratio prevents nurse fatigue as our staffs have fewer patients to care for at a time. This ensures our patients get the attention they need.

  • Safety and Reduction in Errors

Falls, accidents, medication errors, and other mistakes are likely to happen in facilities with inadequate staff. However, a 3:1 staff to patient ratio in mental health makes it easy for staff to monitor patients adequately and learn about their diagnosis to deliver treatment and care without mix up.

  • To Provide Quality Care

The quality of care a patient receives increases since our staff has fewer duties to attend to. A study done on 845 patients showed that 95 percent are more likely to recover fast when hospitals follow a balanced staff to patient ratio.

  • To be Available 

There’s nothing more assuring for a patient than having easy access to their nurse. It makes it easy for patients to confide in their caregivers. Also, patients would find it easy to ask questions and make complaints. Interacting with staff extensively regularly can also help patients become more confident in their recovery process.

Enlight Treatment Center

We are a mental health facility that helps people living with mental illness to get their lives back. Asides from an excellent . staff to patient ratio in mental health, Enlight offers high-quality treatment programs, including detoxification and gambling addiction treatment. 

We also personalize and tailor our treatment programs to fit the needs of each client. What’s more? We offer a beautiful and outstanding environment that fosters quick recovery. Reach out to Enlight Treatment Center today to start your healing process! 

Importance of Mental Health Awareness

importance of mental health awareness

As each year passes, the importance of mental health awareness becomes more apparent. In fact, an entire month (the month of May) is dedicated to mental health awareness. This is when people educate others on mental health, what it is, and how to preserve it.

Thanks to more research and attention, more people have become aware of their mental health and how to keep it healthy. 

Despite the recent progress society has made, we are yet to discover so much about our mental health and how it can affect every aspect of our lives.

But why is mental health awareness important, and why must everyone keep their mental health in check?

Studies have shown that the state of an individual’s mental health could determine so much. But most importantly, it explains their actions, decisions, and even their substance abuse

This article will discuss mental health awareness, how it affects individuals, and what connection it may have to substance abuse. 

But first, what is mental health? 

Defining Mental Health

Mental health refers to the emotional, social, and psychological aspects of every individual. In simpler words, it can be described as the healthiness of the mind. 

Mental health is so integral to every individual’s well-being because the mind is the powerhouse of every individual. It controls what they think, what they eat, what they do, how they interact with others, and all other small and large decisions. 

This is one of the reasons why the importance of mental health awareness cannot be underestimated. 

Why Is Mental Health Awareness Important?

As important as every person’s mental health is, few people understand how much impact the state of their mental health really has. 

Firstly, mental health awareness is essential because people still get stigmatized for it. If more people understand what mental health is and how it can affect people, there will be less stigmatization and more empathy. 

Secondly, there seems to be a strong connection between mental health and substance abuse

Is There a Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse?

There is a clear connection between mental health and substance abuse. You don’t have to look further than the definition of addiction. Every addiction is a mental illness because it changes how people react, think, and behave. 

In addition to that, several research types have shown that some substance abuse disorders were co-occurring with mental disorders.

For example, Angela, a recovering addict, started taking benzodiazepines because she suffered from a bad case of anxiety. At one point, she couldn’t function without taking the pills.

Angela’s story is just one out of millions of other addicts who resorted to substance abuse to cope with some other mental illness. 

This story is one of the reasons why the importance of mental health awareness to the fight against substance abuse cannot be overemphasized. 

Now more than ever, research is dedicated to discovering the link between mental disorders and substance abuse that co-occur. The establishment of this connection between mental disorders and substance abuse is integral to treating co-occurring disorders

In the past, before dual-diagnosis became a treatment option, individuals whose substance abuse was influenced by their mental health were potentially unable to stay sober for long. In some cases, they relapsed as soon as their mental health deteriorated again. 

Get Help With Mental Health and Substance Abuse at Enlight Treatment Center

Today, treatment centers make accommodations to treat co-occurring mental disorders in a treatment option known as dual-diagnosis. Enlight Treatment Center is one of the top substance abuse treatment centers that offer a wide range of treatment options, including dual-diagnosis. We have highly qualified staff as well as a beautiful location to aid all patients in early recovery. Reach out to us today for help with your addiction! 

What Is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

what are co-ocurring disorders

When you hear of mental illness, you don’t necessarily associate it with addiction and vice versa. In today’s society, millions of people worldwide suffer from mental health disorders. They are much more common than you think. Unfortunately, just because someone suffers from a mental health disorder, doesn’t mean they are immune to addiction. All too often, a person can have a mental illness and addiction at the same time. This is called a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. Today, we’d like to take a deeper dive into dual diagnosis & co-occurring disorders. 

What Is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

A co-occurring disorder is a term that describes an underlying mental health concern alongside a substance use disorder. Co-occurring disorders can look a little different on everyone, and it isn’t proven if one “causes” the other. Kind of like what came first, the chicken or the egg?

Many people abuse alcohol and drugs to cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. Others experience mental health issues after alcohol or drug triggers. 

Common Co-Occurring Disorders in Addiction

Several underlying mental health concerns can prompt someone to start abusing alcohol and drugs. One reason is they may use substances to mask feelings and emotions such as guilt, anxiety, pain, and shame.

While some co-occurring disorders are more prevalent than others, every disorder should be treated as soon as possible. Some common co-occurring disorders include we see in addiction treatment are:

  • Depression

Depression is a condition that affects all kinds of people, regardless of age, gender, race, etc. Many abuse drugs and alcohol to cope with emotional feelings and even excitement.

However, these substances can cause substance-induced depression as soon as the initial excitement wears off. This then triggers more drug or alcohol abuse, especially if the user wants to experience the euphoria to suppress any negative emotion. A dangerous cycle of depression followed by an intense addiction and vice versa ,then can potentially follow.

  • Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a disorder marked by extreme mood swings. Symptoms may include emotional highs (mania) mania or emotional lows (depression). 

People with this condition often abuse drugs to assuage the gravity of these episodes, eventually causing severe brain activity levels. Some studies reveal that a bipolar sufferer will abuse drugs or alcohol at some point in their lives.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD develops as a result of life-threatening and stressful experiences like accidents, natural disasters, or long-term bullying.  

To relieve the symptoms of PTSD, it’s not uncommon for someone to use alcohol or drugs. However, substance abuse can aggravate PTSD symptoms. And since the symptoms can be weakening, sufferers may continue to abuse drugs or alcohol to manage the symptoms irrespective of the consequences.

  • Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is marked by visual or auditory hallucinations. It is a condition that affects how an individual feels, thinks, and acts. 

Schizophrenic individuals often abuse drugs or alcohol to manage schizophrenic episodes and to overcome hallucinations. Sadly, abusing drugs and alcohol can increase the frequency and severity of the episodes.

Types of Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorder

Fortunately, there are numerous treatment options and addiction treatment centers available for co-occurring disorders, such as: 

  • Intensive individual therapy with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist can address the symptoms of co-occurring disorders.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy can teach sufferers how to cope with the disorder and raise self-awareness.
  • Medication therapy can help control psychiatric symptoms and lessen the urge for alcohol or drugs.
  • Group therapy for people who are going through similar disorders can help treat the disorder.
  • Counseling and family education help loved ones know the nature of the disorder.
  • Holistic therapies, including yoga, meditation, recreation therapies, creative therapies, can help encourage self-expression.

Finding Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Managing a co-occurring disorder can be difficult if you attempt to do it alone. If you or your loved one has a mental health condition and is abusing alcohol or drugs, it is crucial to get professional help as soon as possible. Abusing drugs and alcohol can make a co-occurring disorder much worse. So contact us today, and begin the path to healing.

Enlight Treatment Center encourages and promotes choices for healthier living by offering professional assistance to people who need crisis intervention and therapy for substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Anxiety Inducing Addiction

Sudie E. Back and Kathleen T. Brady wrote Anxiety Disorders with Comorbid Substance Use Disorders: Diagnostic and Treatment Considerations, in which they discuss generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and substance use disorder (SUD) and the relationship between the two. They cited a recent study in which nearly 6,000 adults stated that GAD was the anxiety disorder most frequently attributed to using substances to overcome the symptomologies associated with anxiety. GAD that is accompanied by other disorders is shown to increase the rate at which people go from first starting to use substances and getting to a point of reliance on them. Furthermore, SUDs that are experienced in conjunction with anxiety disorders have proven to make GAD much harder to overcome and be successful against. In order for many anxiety disorders to be clinically diagnosed, they must be present in an individual for at least six months before they can be considered a disorder. Treatment of anxiety disorders, namely GAD can be quite difficult in those who are more prone to substance use or those who already have SUD. While there are some medications that can be effective, others are generally off-limits due to the addictiveness of the substance. Despite treatment seeming like a difficult thing to obtain, there are ways to get help with the treatment of both disorders. However, one of the most important steps is to understand why those with anxiety feel the need to seek out substance use as a means to quell their anxiety and what can be done in those instances.

Those who have GAD or any other type of disorder involving anxiety know that it can be extremely hard to cope with on a daily basis. Individuals with anxiety often experience symptoms such as feeling fatigued, muscular issues such as tensing or twitching, feelings of being on edge or nervousness, feeling as though they’re in harm’s way, an inability to focus, inability to sleep, feeling week, increased heart rate and breathing pace, along with gastrointestinal issues. In addition to these issues, many individuals experience symptoms associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), engaging in repetitive behaviors such as rocking back and forth, flashbacks to various occurrences such as those experienced accompanied with some sort of trauma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and avoiding situations that may induce anxiety, which can keep someone from being out in the real world because they are afraid about what could happen in any given situation or environment. Since there are so many symptomologies associated with anxiety, it is easy to imagine why someone would want to escape all these feelings, both the mental and the physical. However, it is important to find out why people with anxiety turn to substances in order to assuage their symptoms.
Why is Anxiety Linked to Substance Use?

People often turn to substances to relieve their symptoms associated with anxiety. They believe that various substances will help to calm them down and take their mind off things that are bothering them. No matter the substance of choice, there is the appeal of stepping outside of oneself and being able to feel anything other than what they’re experiencing. Most often, substance use tends to begin as a means of escaping what they’re going through by being utilized as a coping mechanism. Although, it should be noted that this is not a permanent solution, merely a temporary one. For those with anxiety, it is seen as a means to calm nerves and to help them relax. The problem with this type of coping mechanism is that it can have the tendency to make someone’s situation worse than it was, to begin with. Certain individuals experience the adverse side effects of substances, for example, paranoia, which can only heighten anxiety. Others may have impaired judgment, which can also lead to increased symptoms of anxiety, whether in the moment or the next day after trying to remember what they did the night before. While many substances are unfortunately readily available, that does not mean that they are viable options. Not to mention, after having begun using substances, there is the tendency to continue to do so, which can add to problems already being experienced in life. Everyone has a multitude of situations that they are currently experiencing and finding more suitable options for coping with life’s difficulties will not only help people learn how to better overcome obstacles, but it can help them to have fewer problems in the future and to be healthier overall, which is something we all should strive for.
Alternatives for Relieving Anxiety

Rather than looking to substances as a means of escape, facing anxiety head-on and being able to conquer it will lead to much more positive outcomes in the future. First, you must understand what your triggers are. Do you have GAD and simply remain on edge on a seemingly constant basis or do more specific situations trigger your anxiety? Understanding the type of person you are is a great first step, and while it may take time, it will help you, in the long run, to truly know yourself. Once you understand what causes your anxiety, you should try to break down the situations and look for alternatives to help you get through them easier. For example, if having to make phone calls to a doctor’s office for an appointment gives you anxiety, try talking on the phone with friends and family more frequently, then you can maybe three-way the office and know that you have support with you should you begin to feel anxious. Work your way up until you can make those calls alone. Even though they seem like small steps, they are worth taking in order to feel more confident in difficult situations. There are also alternatives such as exercising, getting massages, reading, and drinking tea, among other things. Anything to do with self-care and helping you to be calm and in the right headspace is worth doing. You have to make yourself a priority and take care of yourself first before you can worry about anything or anyone else.

Having anxiety can be hard to deal with and we understand that it can be a hard disorder to navigate life with. While you may have chosen a coping mechanism that you thought would help, it’s okay to find out that maybe it wasn’t the best choice for you. To help you reduce your anxiety and feel your best, call us today at (805)719-7954.