Although having even one mental illness can be devastating, the reality is that many people struggle with more than one disorder at a time. Having two or more disorders simultaneously is known as comorbidity and it is actually very common in the field of mental health. Disorders such as social anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and substance abuse are all issues that tend to show comorbidity.
Certain problems tend to overlap with one another because they are connected in certain ways and influence each other. For example someone with social anxiety disorder may also have problems with depression because they tend to be more isolated and struggle with social interactions. Their social anxiety may cause them to become more depressed and vice versa.
Often, people with anxiety and other mental health problems may end up abusing substances as a way to cope with their symptoms leading to a dual disorder. Drinking or using drugs can temporarily alleviate symptoms but the two problems over time can worsen each other and become a complex situation that is difficult to treat. Substance abuse and mental health are closely connected in ways that must be addressed through specialized treatment.
Although comorbidity of any kind can be a challenging issue, if both disorders are treated simultaneously it is possible for patients to recover. Failing to treat one of the disorders will only lead to worsening symptoms and more complications. It is important for people with comorbid disorders to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment that is designed for multiple disorders.
Many people dealing with mental health issues may not realize that they have more than one disorder which is making it difficult for them to recover. A high quality treatment center can recognize comorbidity and provide immediate help to alleviate the symptoms of both problems over time.