Mental health and substance use disorders do not discriminate against age, race or social or financial status, and can affect men in all walks of life.

Despite mental health resources being more readily available than ever, the majority of men are still reluctant to prioritize mental health care, or seek out professional mental health services.

In this article, we’re going to break down the ways in which co-occurring disorders (specifically those revolving around trauma) can affect men. 

The more truth-based education is supplied, the more we as a society can break down harmful stigmas that prevent men from seeking the treatment they need.

What are co-occurring disorders?

Co-occurring disorders — also known as dual-diagnosis disorders — are when a substance use disorder and mental health condition are simultaneously present in an individual.

Substance use disorder is characterized by the consistent abuse of or addiction to a substance, whether alcohol or drugs (prescription/legal or street/illegal).

A mental health condition can include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

According to the National Library of Medicine, men are more likely to develop a co-occurring disorder than women. This is due to the fact men are more likely to abuse substances when struggling with a mental health condition, and are less likely to seek professional help for a mental health condition or trauma they’ve endured.

Men and trauma

The effects of trauma on men are diverse and many, but certain symptoms are more prevalent than others.

If you are a man who has experienced trauma, learning how that trauma is most likely to manifest itself in your life can help you identify the symptoms and know when to seek professional help.

Some of the most common effects of trauma on men include:

  • Getting angry faster or more intensely (a “short fuse”)
  • Self-isolating and social avoidance (to “deal with it”)
  • Emotional unavailability (shutting down, or “spacing out”)
  • Turning to substances as a coping mechanism

Research by the Addiction Center has shown that men are more likely to turn to substance use in the face of trauma, and face a much higher chance of developing an addiction as the result of an unmanaged mental health condition (trauma-based and otherwise).

Co-occurring disorders in men

While we, the American collective, are overall more open and accepting of mental health care. Countless men still struggle to break free of generational, and cultural stigmas and stereotypes around mental health.

The fact remains, though, that a large majority of men who are seeking or actively in treatment for a substance disorder are often simultaneously struggling with an unhealed trauma or mental health condition.

Even though these men may not have anticipated (or \wanted) their trauma and mental health to be discussed or treated. The standard medical screenings and assessments prior to rehab require an honest assessment of the patient’s mental and emotional state.

Despite this requirement, many men are reluctant to fully lean into trauma healing and mental health care, which can cause the process of recovery to be slowed down or halted altogether. In these circumstances, a future relapse and overdose is, unfortunately, very common.

Reach out for professional support

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder or a mental health condition, encourage them to send us a message.

At Silvermist Recovery, we offer highly individualized treatment plans to meet all of your needs and help you achieve your personal goals. We’ve built a team of trusted, experienced professionals who found their passion providing person-focused service in the realms of mental health and substance abuse recovery.

Our intake specialists are available 24/7, so you can give us a call anytime. When you’re ready to talk, we’re ready to listen.