Did you know that 45% of people who have an addiction are struggling with a mental health disorder as well? 

Many people are not getting the correct treatment in order to overcome their addiction, so they often struggle to stay sober. 

Taking charge of your life, or helping someone you love, can be a difficult process when substance abuse is involved. Making it hard to accomplish on your own.

Continue reading to learn about dual diagnosis treatment, and the types of programs available.  

What is Dual Diagnosis? 

Dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders, are terms used for when a person has both a mental health disorder and an addiction simultaneously. The order of these disorders is insignificant because either can start first for it to be a dual diagnosis. 

People who suffer from mental health disorders are likely to deal with addiction as well. This event makes it harder on someone to overcome their addiction because they need a specialized dual diagnosis treatment that will account for both issues. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse but aren’t sure if it is truly a problem, take an addiction quiz to see if you may need further help.  

Common Mental Health Disorders Associated with Addiction

Many people who have these mental disorders are likely to deal with addiction as well. Take a look at the following list to see if you are more susceptible to substance abuse problems and why. 

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
    • Most people with ADHD are prescribed stimulants for treatment. These pills can be habit forming and lead to a spiraling pattern of substance abuse. 
  • Bipolar Disorder 
    • People dealing with bipolar disorder are more likely to deal with addiction because the drugs or alcohol provide a momentary sense of relief. 
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
    • Borderline personality disorder is characterized with intense emotions that the individual feels. They are likely to self medicate with drugs or alcohol to try and cope with their emotions.  
  • Depression
    • Similar to borderline personality disorder, people dealing with depression typically use drugs or alcohol to cope with emotions but this usually makes depression worse.
  • Eating Disorders
    • People with eating disorders often get into taking pills to help them lose weight. This can include appetite suppressants and dieting pills, that become addicting over time. 
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
    • It is common for doctors to prescribe pills to people suffering from anxiety. Unfortunately, the medications prescribed are highly addictive. Many people with GAD take pills every day for many years, it’s not uncommon for them to become addicted. 
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    • Many people with obsessive compulsive disorder also deal with anxiety and depression because they feel they have no sense of control of their actions. People suffering with OCD often self medicate or are prescribed pills from their doctors that lead to addiction. 
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 
    • Someone suffering from PTSD is likely to go to drugs or alcohol to get a release. People with post-traumatic stress disorder have negative thoughts from an experience that consumes their brain and self-medicating gives them a form of relief. 
  • Schizophrenia 
    • Those with schizophrenia also deal with anxiety and depression leading them to self medicate with drugs or alcohol. Those suffering from schizophrenia and substance abuse put them at high risk and can worsen their current situation. 

Besides mental health disorders, there are other various factors that play a role in addiction such as:

  • brain reactions- a lack of certain chemicals in brain making substance abuse seem rewarding
  • genetics-many mental health disorders are passed down generations in a family 
  • environment- being around a group that encourages substance abuse 
  • exposure- if exposed to alcohol or drugs when younger they are likely to have been abusing substances for a longer period of time, making it harder to quit

Even with all the factors taken into consideration it still may be difficult to identify dual diagnosis. Take a look at the symptoms to get a further understanding.

Signs and Symptoms   

There are many signs and symptoms to help identify if you or someone else are struggling with an addiction and a disorder at the same time. Take a look at the following red flags:

  • Isolating self from friends and family in favor of new crowd or activities
  • Unable to keep up with work and school
  • Stealing and/or lying in order to feed an addiction
  • Sleeping during the day and staying up all night
  • Trying to quit addiction but quickly relapse
  • Expressing feelings of guilt about a behavior
  • Using other drugs or drinks that have a larger dose to get the same high
  • Withdrawal symptoms after quitting or taking smaller doses

Relapse is a major indicator of someone dealing with substance abuse problems and a mental health disorder. It is important to learn about relapse prevention so that the individual can build a solid foundation at the beginning and move forward. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options 

Addiction with dual diagnosis can be treated a variety of ways, sometimes you may need to use a combination of them. You can find treatment at rehabilitation centers, detoxification, housing centers for people struggling with addiction, psychotherapy, medications, self- help, and various support groups  

Check out all of the addiction treatment programs we have to offer. 

Take Charge of Your Life

Struggling with addiction can be lonely and difficult but there are many options for treatment that you can take advantage of. Rehabilitation centers are well informed on dual diagnosis treatment and can offer you the help you need. 

Contact us to change your life for the better (or someone you know) and kick your addiction to the curb. 


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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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