What are the Common Comorbidity in Substance Abuse?
Learn all you need to know about what comorbidity is in substance abuse and tips to treat and manage them.
What Is Comorbidity?
Drugs are everywhere. In movies, TV, and music, everyone is doing them. And while some people can use drugs recreationally without developing an addiction, substance abuse can spiral out of control for others.
Studies have shown that nearly 50% of individuals with a substance abuse problem also suffer from a mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD.1
Comorbidity is the presence of two chronic disorders or diseases in one individual.2 In the case of substance abuse, comorbidity most often refers to the co-occurrence of a mental health disorder and addiction.
This comorbidity can have several negative consequences on an individual's health, including an increased risk of suicide, poorer physical health, and difficulty accessing treatment. Sadly, the comorbidity of mental illness and addiction is all too common, but there is hope. Many individuals can recover and live happy and healthy lives with proper diagnosis and treatment.
Who's More Likely to Have Comorbidities?
As far as gender, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, comorbidity is more common among men than women.3
People at High Risk of Experiencing Comorbidity
It is important to note that certain groups are more likely to experience comorbidity than others. These groups include:
How Is a Comorbidity Different from a Complication?
It is essential to understand the difference between comorbidity and a complication. Comorbidity is defined as the presence of two chronic disorders or diseases in one individual. On the other hand, a complication is an adverse reaction from treating a primary condition.
For example, let's say a person has comorbidity of anxiety and addiction. In this case, such a person would be diagnosed with both disorders. However, if the person had one condition, it would be considered a complication.
Common Comorbidities in Substance Abuse
Many different mental health disorders can co-occur with addiction, but some are more common than others. The most common comorbidities in substance abuse will be detailed below.
Obesity is a condition that occurs when an individual has too much body fat. It's often caused by an imbalance of energy in which someone consumes more calories than they burn. Obesity can lead to serious health problems like:
These comorbidities can interact with each other and worsen the symptoms of both disorders. For example, someone who suffers from anxiety and addiction may use drugs to self-medicate their anxiety.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body can't produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body turn blood sugar into energy. There are two types of diabetes:
Diabetes Health Complications
Diabetes can lead to serious health problems like:
Mental health disorders are often comorbid with substance abuse. About half of those who have a mental illness also have a substance use disorder. The most common psychiatric comorbidities include:
How Does Comorbidity Affect Treatment Plan?
Comorbidity can affect treatment in the following ways:
When an individual experiences comorbidity, it can often complicate treatment and functional limitations. For example, a person with diabetes and addiction may find it challenging to stick to their treatment plan. In addition, they may struggle with managing their blood sugar levels and be more likely to experience adverse effects from their medication.
Comorbidity can also lead to disability. For example, when individuals have two chronic conditions, they're more likely to miss work and lower their quality of life. In addition, comorbidity can make it challenging to care for oneself, leading to an increased need for help from others.
Increased Use of Health Services
Comorbidity often leads to increased use of health services. This is because individuals with comorbidity often have more doctor's appointments and need more medication. In addition, they're more likely to be hospitalized and visit the emergency room.
Increased Risk of Relapse
Individuals who suffer from comorbidity are also at an increased risk of relapse. They often have difficulty managing their symptoms and may turn to substance abuse to cope.
Frailty is a condition that makes it difficult for the body to recover from illness or injury. Frail individuals are more likely to experience falls, have difficulty healing from wounds, and be hospitalized.
Adverse Drug Reactions
Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are a type of comorbidity that can occur when two drugs interact with each other. ADRs can range from mild to life-threatening. They're more common in older adults and those with chronic conditions.
Difficulties With Compliance
Compliance is the act of taking medication as prescribed. When individuals have a comorbidity, they often have difficulty complying with their treatment plan. This is because they may have trouble remembering to take their medication or may not be able to afford it.
Comorbidity can complicate treatment and make it more difficult to manage symptoms. Therefore, it's essential to work with a healthcare provider to develop the right treatment plan for you.
Prevalence of Comorbidities
Hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory system disease were the most prevalent comorbidities in our sample.4
The prevalence of comorbidities was significantly higher among current smokers than those who had never smoked cigarettes. In addition, the number of years of smoking was also associated with an increased prevalence of comorbidities.5
Treatment Challenges in Comorbidities
Individuals with comorbidities often have difficulty complying with their treatment plan. This is because they may have trouble remembering to take their medication or may not be able to afford it.
In addition, comorbidity can lead to increased use of health services. This is because individuals with comorbidity often have more doctor's appointments and need more medication.
Comorbidity can also complicate treatment and make it more difficult to manage symptoms. Therefore, it's essential to work with a healthcare provider to develop the right treatment plan for you.
Can Comorbidities Be Prevented?
Yes, you can prevent comorbidities. However, the best way to avoid comorbidities is to live a healthy lifestyle and manage your chronic conditions.
Here are some tips for preventing comorbidities:
Tips to Manage Comorbidities
If you have comorbidities, there are some things you can do to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life:
Get Treatment from Comorbidity at Anew Treatment Center
If you're struggling to manage your comorbidities, it may be time to seek treatment at a new treatment center.
At Anew Treatment Center, we offer comprehensive care for those struggling with substance abuse and mental illness. We understand the challenges of living with comorbidity and are here to help you every step of the way.
If you or someone you know is struggling with comorbidity, contact us today to learn more about our treatment options. We can help you get on the road to recovery and improve your quality of life.
Our services are as follows:
Substance abuse and mental illness often go hand-in-hand. This is known as comorbidity. Comorbidity can make both disorders worse and can make treatment more difficult.
However, it is essential to remember that comorbidity is not a death sentence. There are many effective treatments available for both substance abuse and mental illness. With the right help, people with comorbidity can recover and lead happy healthy lives.
Learn More About Our Treamtment Programs
Our team is ready to discuss your treatment options with you. Your call is confidential with no obligation is required.