Proudly Serving Our Military and Veterans: In-Network with TriCare and TriWest
Recognizing Signs of Undiagnosed Mental Health Disorder

Recognizing Signs of Undiagnosed Mental Health Disorder

Coming to terms with oneself about substance misuse is no small pill to swallow. It’s a realization that takes humility — one that millions who suffer every day continually avoid. So imagine the double whammy clients must feel when they are then told or discover that they also have a co-occurring mental health disorder. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), many individuals who develop substance use disorders (SUD) are also diagnosed with mental health disorders, and vice versa. Furthermore, multiple national population surveys have found that about half of those who experience a mental illness during their lives will also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa.

Common Signs of Undiagnosed Mental Health Disorders

If you have never considered yourself to have a mental health disorder, there’s no history of mental health disorders in your family, and you’re just finding out that your SUD has a positive correlation with mental health disorders, of course, you are not going to be hip to the different ways mental health disorders could look or how they are even affecting you. There is just no easy test that determines whether you’re experiencing mental illness, if your actions and thoughts are typical, or your experience is the result of a physical illness.

Now that you know your mental health could be compromised with a SUD, here are common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling extremely sad or low
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and having low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or a lack of appetite
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s feelings, behavior, or personality (” lack of insight” or anosognosia)
  • Overuse of substances like alcohol, tobacco, or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this prevalence of both a mental illness and a substance use disorder is referred to as a co-occurring disorder

Some of the most common mental disorders seen in SUD clients include: 

  • Anxiety and mood disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder

SAMHSA also points out that treatment centers should take caution in treating co-occurring disorders, as combining medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and anxiety treatment medications can have severe adverse effects. In addition, researchers have found that integrated therapy is the best method for treating clients with co-occurring disorders and that combining psychiatric and addiction treatment techniques can decrease relapses and reduce suicide attempts in rehab alumni while promoting long-term abstinence.

Professional Treatment Is Essential for Continued Sobriety

If you and your treatment center fail to address your mental health disorder and it goes undiagnosed, it could add additional stress to your life and increase the risk of relapse. The last thing you want is to go back out into the real world unaware and unprepared due to an untreated aspect of your journey, so why wait until then?

At White House Recovery and Detox, we don’t leave you hanging and will even help set up several forms of motivation to keep yourself on track. From community engagement, local 12-Step meetings, and ongoing individual counseling, you will have the chance to work with professionals to establish an aftercare plan that’s right for you.

The Importance of Relapse Prevention

For many, the journey of recovery has resulted in their unexpected discovery of undiagnosed mental health issues, and they have no idea their addiction could make them susceptible to a co-occurring mental health disorder. As one learns about their substance use disorder and how it continues to transform them during the recovery process, it is best to adopt practices to address these issues head-on.  

Luckily there are facilities like White House Recovery and Detox, which are aware of this fact and are proactive in educating clients on relapse prevention methods as a standard part of their treatment for SUD. Once you start to recognize what triggers intrusive thoughts and cravings and then counter them with healthy alternatives, it will keep your recovery moving forward. Treating co-occurring disorders of substance use and mental illness together at White House Recovery will help you stay sober and healthy after detox and inpatient rehab.

When you decided that you needed help and finally came to terms with your substance use disorder, you probably didn’t think you might have a co-occurring mental health disorder as well. However, that’s the case for many. While this reality can be brutal, it does not need to be a fatal blow. Once you realize that the two are common, from there, it’s all about being able to recognize the common signs of a mental health disorder, understand how to treat it, then ensure you do not relapse.  At White House Recovery and Detox, we not only offer a myriad of different treatment techniques but will not abandon you in aftercare, as we offer case management, relapse prevention, meditation, and mindfulness. You deserve to undergo treatment with a facility that will see you through the entire way and in every way. Call us at (800) 510-5393 to learn about our services today.

Table of Contents