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Individuals diagnosed with substance use disorder (SUD) may have untreated mental health issues related to substance misuse. Sometimes, people self-medicate to cope with mental health symptoms or side effects, leading to addictive behaviors. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “[A]pproximately 9.2 million adults in the United States have a co-occurring disorder.” West Coast Recovery Centers uses comprehensive assessments and screening tools to diagnose individuals with dual diagnosis. Clinicians provide evidence-based therapies to help clients with co-occurring disorders heal and thrive in recovery. 

The Effects of Untreated Mental Health Disorders

Untreated mental health disorders have the potential to negatively affect all areas of a person’s life, from their relationships to workplace productivity and home-life balance. Professional treatment programs provide the best support and resources for individuals with SUD and co-occurring or underlying mental health issues. 

According to SAMHSA, “With early and consistent treatment, people with serious mental illnesses can manage their conditions, overcome challenges, and lead meaningful, productive lives.” Co-occurring disorders are common in people with SUD. However, not everyone knows their maladaptive thoughts and behaviors are related to an untreated mental health issue. Sometimes, family or friends must intervene and motivate them to attend treatment programs. 

The Most Common Co-Occurring Disorders

Many disorders share overlapping symptoms and risk factors with substance misuse. A few of the most common co-occurring disorders include: 

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) 
  • Major depression 
  • Schizoaffective disorder 
  • Schizophrenia
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

Mood, panic, and personality disorders are some of the most common dual diagnoses. According to MedlinePlus, “Although these problems often occur together, this does not mean that one caused the other, even if one appeared first.” A clinical assessment can provide insights into the relationship between mental health issues and substance misuse, ensuring clients receive the best treatment for all co-occurring disorders. 

Mood and Behavior-Altering Symptoms 

Unaddressed mental health symptoms affecting mood and behavior sometimes contribute to the development of SUD as a way to cope with the symptoms. In many cases, self-medicating is an attempt to limit emotional or physical pain caused by untreated disorders. Individuals with untreated mood or behavior issues are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, including self-harming and substance misuse. 

Some symptoms people may try to self-medicate include: 

  • Manic episodes 
  • Depressive episodes 
  • Paranoid thoughts or behaviors
  • Anxiety or panic 

Some mental health symptoms affect the brain’s ability to make rational and healthy decisions. Extreme behavioral changes are common among individuals with untreated mental health symptoms. The combination of substance misuse and mental health issues may cause some people to experience a significant difference in temperament and personality. Early intervention and treatment is the best way to avoid long-term side effects and maladaptive behaviors. 

How to Recognize the Signs of Untreated Mental Health Disorders

Learning to recognize symptoms of mental distress is important. Spotting the signs of potential mental health issues makes it easier for people to reach out for help before the symptoms affect their ability to function. However, everyone reacts to stress differently, making it essential for people to get a clinical assessment if they notice unusual behavior changes. Not everyone who shows signs of mental distress meets the criteria for a mental health disorder. 

Some common signs of mental health issues include: 

  • Loss of pleasure from previously enjoyed activities 
  • Difficulty maintaining basic standards of daily living (e.g., dressing, cleaning, cooking, and personal hygiene)
  • Focus and memory issues, including persistent dissociative events and frequent forgetfulness 
  • Unusual and persistent feelings of dread, sadness, hopelessness, or helplessness
  • Frequent extreme mood swings or out-of-character behaviors 
  • Unusual and intense irritation, anger, or aggression
  • Risk-taking behaviors, including substance misuse and self-harming
  • Unexplained personality changes 
  • Changes to sleep patterns, including insomnia, night terrors, sleepwalking, and oversleeping

Anyone concerned about their mental health should get clinically assessed and diagnosed. West Coast Recovery Centers provides accurate diagnosis and treatments for individuals with SUD and co-occurring mental health issues. 

Treatment Options at West Coast Recovery Centers

Many people with SUD have co-occurring mental health issues. Leaving them untreated would complicate rehabilitation and long-term recovery. Simultaneous treatment and integrative care provide the best outcomes for most clients.

West Coast Recovery Centers offers clients the following treatment services:

  • Individual psychotherapy and alternative forms of therapy
  • Peer support through group therapy and community events
  • Case management, aftercare planning, and alumni support
  • Holistic and complementary therapies and services 
  • Prescription medication when appropriate 

The care team uses various therapeutic tools and methods to help clients heal from SUD and co-occurring disorders. Clients at West Coast Recovery Centers collaborate closely with clinicians to create treatment plans tailored to their unique needs and preferences. Alumni with lingering symptoms of co-occurring mental health issues can take advantage of aftercare and extended support services after they complete treatment. The care team ensures every person participating in therapy has access to the tools and resources they need to successfully maintain long-term sobriety and positive mental health. 

Mental health disorders affect all areas of a person’s life, including relationships, career decisions, education, and the ability to cope with social stressors. Untreated symptoms may cause people to develop substance use disorder (SUD) or other co-occurring disorders. Professional mental health treatment is the best way to reduce the side effects of mental health symptoms. Outpatient programs are an excellent option for individuals diagnosed with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. West Coast Recovery Centers offers outpatient treatments and extended support services to individuals recovering from substance misuse. The clinical team uses comprehensive assessments and screening tools to diagnose untreated mental health issues. To learn more about our programs and treatment services, call us today at (760) 492-6509.

West Coast Recovery Centers ( 370135CP), Valid through July 31, 2025
Jackson House Visalia (540056AP), Valid through May 15, 2025
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