Most conversations about mental health focus on one condition at a time whether that’s depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. The truth, however, is that mental health is rarely so simple.
Many people face the challenge of dealing with multiple mental health conditions simultaneously. When you have multiple mental health conditions at one time, they’re referred to as comorbidities, which just means they coexist at the same time.
Some comorbidities 一 like anxiety and depression 一 are widely recognized, but others often go unspoken.
As a board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Hadi Estakhri and our team here at Allied Psychiatry & Mental Health are no strangers to diagnosing and treating comorbid conditions. If you have any concerns about your mental health, we encourage you to visit us here in Newport Beach, California.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at five mental health comorbidities that aren’t commonly discussed but are no less significant.
1. Eating disorders and depression
Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, often go hand in hand with depression. The pursuit of an idealized body image can lead to intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and self-loathing. According to a 2018 review, anorexia nervosa is also linked to several different anxiety disorders as well as schizophrenia.
Conversely, depression can contribute to disordered eating patterns as a coping mechanism or a form of control. Recognizing the link between these two conditions is crucial for effective treatment and support.
2. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and substance use disorder
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder frequently struggle with intense anxiety and intrusive thoughts. This can make them vulnerable to turning to substances as a means of self-medication.
The excessive use of drugs or alcohol can temporarily alleviate the distress but ultimately exacerbate the symptoms of OCD. Breaking this cycle requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both disorders simultaneously.
Here at Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health, Dr. Estakhri can simultaneously address substance use disorder at the same time as any comorbidities, whether that’s OCD or depression. Depending on your needs, he may recommend outpatient detox protocols or medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
3. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociative disorders
Experiencing or even witnessing traumatic experiences can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. In some cases, people with PTSD may also experience dissociative disorders. These disorders involve a disconnection from yourself, your reality, or your memories.
Dissociative disorders can manifest as depersonalization or dissociative identity disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder). These comorbidities can create significant challenges that impact your sense of self, memory, and overall functioning.
4. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is commonly associated with difficulties in attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. However, about 50% of all adults with ADHD have anxiety as well.
The constant mental and physical restlessness, coupled with challenges in time management and organization, can lead to chronic stress and anxiety. Recognizing and addressing the anxiety component is essential for managing ADHD effectively.
5. Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD)
Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder are distinct but often interconnected conditions. Both involve intense mood swings, impulsivity, and unstable interpersonal relationships, but borderline personality disorder is often triggered by interactions with other people. This is in contrast to the cyclical cycles of mania and depression of bipolar disorder.
About 20% of people with bipolar disorder also have borderline personality disorder. The overlap between symptoms can make diagnosis and treatment complex, which is why Dr. Estakhri considers both conditions and customizes your treatment plan accordingly.
Get the help you need for comorbid conditions
Mental health comorbidities are more common than you might realize, and this list is just a small snapshot. Your treatment depends on what conditions you have, but common treatments may include medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), or ketamine therapy.
In the spirit of breaking the silence and stigma surrounding these comorbidities, Dr. Estakhri and our team feel that no one should ever feel alone or unheard. By promoting awareness and fostering open and honest dialogue, we work to create a more compassionate and inclusive environment for those navigating the complexities of mental health.
Need to schedule a consultation? Book an appointment with Dr. Estakhri today by calling us at 949-945-0927 or scheduling online to get started.