Co-Occurring Disorders

Addiction is a disease that affects millions of individuals worldwide, but it often doesn’t arrive alone. More than half of all individuals seeking treatment for a substance use disorder are also affected by co-occurring concerns. Known as a dual diagnosis, these patients face unique challenges and obstacles in recovery. Co-occurring disorders play a significant role in addiction and patients with interwoven disorders require treatment that encompasses their physical, emotional and psychological needs to truly begin to heal.

Substance use and co-occurring disorders are closely linked. Individuals with co-occurring disorders will often self-medication with drugs or alcohol in an attempt to mask or alleviate their psychiatric symptoms. While this may provide temporary relief, their symptoms often worsen as addiction takes hold and begins to erode their overall quality of life. The cycle of addiction is chaotic and unstable, exacerbating existing co-occurring concerns and moving patients further away from a sense of wellness, stability and balance.

In addition to worsening existing psychiatric issues, drugs or alcohol may also trigger the onset of new or latent co-occurring conditions. Repeated exposure to illicit substances has detrimental effects on the brain, altering neurochemical balances that can lead to depression, anxiety, paranoia and more. Some of the most common co-occurring disorders include:


Depression is one of the most recognized and diagnosed co-occurring disorders, affecting people from all walks of life. Depression is a mood disorder that influences one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is primarily characterized by persistent and debilitating periods of sadness and emptiness but is also accompanied by a lack of energy, anxiousness, lack of interest in hobbies and other activities, difficulty concentrating, disrupted sleeping and eating patterns, suicidal ideations and feeling lost or helpless.

Although many people feel some or all of these symptoms at some time, depression is a chronic disorder that negatively impacts various aspects of life such as work, school and personal relationships.


Anxiety disorders are a group of co-occurring concerns that cause feelings of extreme stress, anxiousness, worry and fear severe enough to interfere with daily life.

The symptoms caused by anxiety disorders are different from the anxious feelings we all occasionally experience — they create an extreme amount of distress that negatively impacts an individual’s health and quality of life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a co-occurring disorder often triggered by distressing and terrifying events. Individuals who experience or witness trauma can be affected by it in many ways and may have difficulty adjusting and coping. Symptoms of PTSD often include nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety, depression and a fixation on the traumatic event.

The symptoms that people commonly experience are grouped into four different categories: avoidance, intrusive memories, adverse changes in one’s thinking and mood, and changes in both physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms often vary in intensity over time, but without proper treatment and care, they may worsen and cause significant disturbances to one’s life, relationships, career and more. Those with PTSD are also vulnerable to substance abuse disorders in an effort to alleviate and cope with their symptoms.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a co-occurring disorder that affects concentration, learning and behavior. Individuals affected by ADHD often have difficulty concentrating, sitting still, controlling impulsive behavior and staying organized. These symptoms can manifest in various ways and make it challenging to do well in school, maintain a steady job and manage their time responsibly. Those with ADHD may experience problems with addiction, self-esteem and personal relationships as a result, especially if their symptoms are untreated.

Contact Journey Hillside Tarzana

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and co-occurring disorders, Journey Hillside Tarzana can help. Our dedicated team of medical professionals and addiction specialists at experienced in treating dual diagnosis patients and can help you navigate the complexities of recovery while addressing your needs.

With comprehensive care, holistic treatments, high degrees of individual and group counseling, behavioral and experiential therapies and more, we can help you reclaim your independence and get your life back on track. Fill out a form or call us today at 833-756-8763 to learn more about our treatment programs and how they can help.