The Frequency of Co-Occurring Disorders

How Mental Health and Addiction Disorders May be Linked

According to one of the largest studies done on co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders nearly 20% of respondents with a substance abuse disorder had an independent mood disorder and over 17% had at least one independent anxiety disorder. The study was part of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).  Given the frequency of co-occurring disorders, it is usually best to seek treatment that can address both substance use and mental health disorders.

In some cases, an underlying addiction to alcohol or mental health issue may be a “substantial factor” in the commission of a crime. California lawmakers enacted legislation to assist those that may be suffering from a mental health disorder or substance abuse obtain treatment through alternative sentencing or a pretrial diversion program. A key component to both alternative sentencing and pretrial diversion is seeking treatment and completing all requirements of the program. Generally, it is within a judge’s discretion to determine if the treatment is suitable. It is vital to find a program that is designed to meet your needs and court requirements. Read more about mental health diversion and co-occurring treatment.

For mental health diversion, treatment may last anywhere from six months to two years. Under Penal Code 1001.36, pretrial diversion may not be granted for a period longer than two years. Thus, any offender who qualifies for the deferred entry of judgment must complete the program within that timeframe. Additionally, the court will require the offender to show a long-term mental health treatment plan.

It is important to know that you have options in treatment. Finding the right treatment may be key to your success.