Last Updated on May 23, 2017 by Morris Green
In our previous blog, we discussed the top three co-occurring conditions of addiction: major depression, panic attacks and anxiety, and mental illnesses like schizophrenia and personality disorders. Knowing the most common dual diagnosis of addiction is important, but recognizing their symptoms is even more critical. Whether you’re a concerned friend or family member, or a substance abuse counselor working with a client, knowing what certain signs mean could help a current, recovering, or former addict receive the help they need.
Symptoms of Major Depression
Everyone has bad days, but they can become troublesome when they linger. It’s not uncommon for anyone to go through a down time, but when feelings of hopelessness set in or the blues just won’t go away, depression may be the culprit.
According to DualDiagnosis.org, people who have depression usually experience five or more of the following symptoms:
- Aches and pains
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of guilt
- Feelings of worthlessness
- General irritability
- Increases in appetite and/or weight gain
- Lapses in concentration on daily tasks
- Loss of energy
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once loved or liked
- Noticeable loss of appetite and/or weight loss
- Sleep issues including sleeping too much or too little
- Suicidal thoughts and/or suicide attempts.
Signs of Anxiety
Alcohol alone isn’t the cause of a panic disorder, but drinking excessively or consistently (even in moderation) can aggravate an anxiety disorder. Most people who develop an anxiety disorder during or after alcoholism were battling the illness long before alcohol became a problem.
According to HealthLine.com, alcohol dependent anxiety comes with the following symptoms:
- The need to have a drink in the morning to get going or get comfortable.
- The need to drink heavily for four or more days during the week.
- The need to drink at every gathering.
- An inability to stop drinking.
- Consuming 5+ alcoholic beverages in a single day.
Feelings of worry and fear may intensify after consuming alcohol. Some may feel jittery or on edge the day after drinking, and the sensation could last for several days, intensifying with more alcohol consumption. Rapid heart rate, trembling hands, sweating, and hyperventilating can also accompany anxiety.
Recognizing Schizophrenia and Personality Disorders
While schizophrenia and personality disorders are related, they’re also different. The use of addictive substances for a prolonged period could cause emotional or mental instability, revealing a disorder.
According to HelpGuide.org, personality disorders have four types of symptoms:
- Disorganized behavior
- Disorganized speech
- Negative symptoms or absence of normal behaviors
The symptoms of these disorders vary greatly from person to person, but chances are you’ll notice the lack of or improper emotional expression, problems with motivation, lack of self-care, lack of interest in the world, and other abnormalities.
Seek Qualified Help
Untreated co-occurring conditions can rapidly sideline the success of alcohol and drug treatment both during the treatment episode and during recovery. If you notice symptoms that suggest a co-occurring problem, the best action is to seek qualified help and pursue an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment recommendations.