Dissociative Disorders and Addiction

Dissociative Disorders and AddictionMental health concerns and substance abuse are closely related. One can cause the other, or one may hide symptoms of the other. Getting an accurate Dual Diagnosis of all issues related to mental health and addiction is essential for treatment. Although co-occurring dissociative disorder and addiction issues make recovery more complex, treatment is available.

What Are Dissociative Disorders?

Dissociative disorders typically stem from a traumatic experience or multiple traumatic experiences and involve feelings of separation or dissociation from an individual’s personal identity or history. There are several types of dissociative disorders, and these include the following:

  • Dissociative amnesia, or blocking memories of all or parts of a traumatic past
  • Dissociative fugue, or experiencing a psychologically journey separate from the body
  • Dissociative identity disorder (DID), or having more than one distinct personality or personality state
  • Depersonalization disorder, or feeling detached from yourself or your body

Dissociative disorders often involve anxiety and depression, and dissociative symptoms may be a part of other mental health concerns such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Drug Abuse and Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders are often a reaction to a lack of coping skills and unresolved trauma issues. These same issues lead to addiction, and the National Institutes of Health explains that dissociative identity disorder is, “associated with a high degree of psychiatric comorbidity. Among the most frequent diagnoses found in patients with DID are substance use and dependence.” The reasons for this are explained in Scott Winter’s “Understanding Dissociative Disorders and Addiction Pamphlet.” Winter shares that individuals with dissociative disorders may turn to drugs in an attempt to do the following:

  • Escape feelings of confusion
  • Block traumatic memories
  • Mask dissociative symptoms

While dissociative disorders contribute to drug use, drug use can also lead to the development of dissociative symptoms or can trigger dissociative episodes in susceptible individuals. Getting a professional diagnosis for all co-occurring mental health issues allows integrated treatment to address the causes and effects of drug use.

Integrated Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and dissociative symptoms, do not wait to get help. Recovery is possible, but it requires treatment and support. Let our team of admissions coordinators find the resources you need for a real and lasting recovery. We are here 24 hours a day to connect you to interventionists, treatment programs, and experienced professionals. All calls are free and confidential, so please pick up the phone today.