How to Identify a Psychiatric Disorder or Mental Illness

Many people receive a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder or mental illness. Many others receive a diagnosis of a co-occurring disorder which means they have a mental illness and a substance use disorder. Even though some people don’t agree, addiction is a disease just like depression or PTSD. Depression is a mental illness. 

How do you identify if someone has a psychiatric disorder or mental illness? Before learning how to do this, it is essential to know more about common mental health illnesses. 

Common Psychiatric Disorder Diagnosis and Mental Health Conditions

There are some mental health conditions and other behavioral disorders that present themselves often along with addiction. Sometimes, these disorders cause addiction, which is just one reason not to ignore psychiatric disorders or mental health symptoms. Ignoring them could cause even more problems in a person’s life. 

Some common psychiatric and mental health disorders that are often found with substance abuse include:

  • ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactive disorder) – people with this condition often abuse substances to cope with symptoms of the disorder 
  • Bipolar disorder – many people with this disorder self-medicate to relieve emotional ups and downs 
  • Depression – people often abuse substances because they don’t see a point in life
  • Eating disorders – people with this condition often abuse drugs that suppress their appetite
  • GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) – people with this disorder often abuse alcohol or drugs to manage moderate to severe anxiety 
  • OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) – people may abuse substances to try to get rid of their compulsions and obsessions
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) – people often turn to drugs to feel happier 
  • Schizophrenia – people often self-medicate because of their delusional thinking and hallucinations

As you can see, many psychiatric disorders and mental instability conditions can lead someone to abuse drugs or alcohol. 

Need for Different Treatment with Co-Occurring Disorders

Millions of people have a psychiatric disorder or mental health illness. Millions of other people abuse substances. Both these issues can lead to similar symptoms. Why do doctors need to treat them differently? 

Substance abuse and mental health symptoms do produce similar symptoms. However, people with a substance abuse disorder may be struggling with mental health issues. Mental health issues may cause them to use alcohol or drugs. On the other hand, drugs and alcohol can cause mental health issues. The cycle is vicious and brutal to break free from – especially when someone is diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and addiction. 

Some overlapping symptoms the co-occurring disorder treatment centers handle include:

  • Brain responses such as psychosis and depression can stem from mental health issues and depression
  • Genetics can play a role in both addiction and mental health disorders
  • People may struggle with a mental health illness and addiction due to their environment 
  • Early age exposure to depression or other mental health issues or addiction can cause these same problems for someone later in their life

If someone has a mental health disorder and an addiction, getting co-occurring disorder treatment can give them the best chances of recovering. 

Ways to Identify a Psychiatric Disorder or Mental Illness 

Many signs could mean someone has a psychiatric disorder or mental illness. Some of these signs include:

  • Trouble managing responsibilities and daily tasks
  • Sudden behavior changes
  • Avoiding social activities where they won’t be able to use drugs or alcohol
  • Delusional thinking
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Not taking care of personal hygiene or health
  • Refusing to get medical treatment
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Being more impulsive than usual
  • Becoming erratic
  • Financial issues
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Fidgeting more than normal
  • Seeming on edge

If you notice these signs in someone you care about, make sure to do all you can to get them help. There are many co-occurring disorder treatment programs you can contact. When making the call, you can find out how to best help your loved one or friend. 

Steps to Take After Identifying a Psychiatric Disorder or Mental Illness

Have you recognized any of these signs in someone you care about? If so, they could have any one of the mental health conditions above. They could have an addiction or another psychiatric disorder, as well. 

If you notice these things in someone you care about, there are some steps you should take.

The first step would be to try talking to them. You can do this through intervention or by a casual conversation. If your loved one or friend isn’t a willing participant in this conversation, we recommend talking to co-occurring disorder professionals. These professionals can guide you in what to do from here. They can speak to you about the various treatments and disorders. 

Hopefully, after getting the information you need, you can convince your loved one or friend to seek help for their disorder or illness. 

Contact us today to get yourself or someone you know help for a psychiatric disorder or mental illness. 

Leave a Comment