According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), dual diagnosis is “a term for when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously.” Either one – the mental illness or the substance use disorder – can develop first. Some individuals with a mental illness may turn to alcohol or another drug to cope with their symptoms, while others may induce a mental illness after extended periods of substance abuse. Dual diagnosis is very common; about 7.9 million people in the world experience it, and more than half of those people are men.
Dual diagnosis can and should be treated at the same treatment center; treating both the mental illness and substance abuse disorder under the “same roof” has been proven to be highly effective in recovery and only treatment centers that emphasis dual diagnosis is effectively trained to do this. Those with dual diagnosis are considered more elevated risk primarily because having either one is challenging on its own – experiencing both at the same time can increase the chances of exhibiting more dangerous and/or risky behavior that could directly affect one’s livelihood. What are the symptoms that you may have a dual diagnosis?
There are many combinations that can occur with dual diagnoses, but many health clinics will use alcohol and drug screening tools to help determine the likelihood of this. Symptoms may include but are not limited to: withdrawal from friends or family, sudden changes in behavior, using substances under dangerous conditions, engaging in risky behaviors, losing control over substances, developing a high tolerance and withdrawal symptoms, and feeling like you need the drug to function. Extreme mood changes, difficulty concentrating, avoiding friends and social activities and thoughts of suicide are also signs a dual diagnosis may be present.
NAMI has noted several effective forms of treatment that are often included in cases of dual diagnosis. Detoxification, inpatient rehabilitation, supportive housing, psychotherapy, medication, and support groups have all been very beneficial for those with both a mental illness and a substance use disorder. If you feel that you may have a dual diagnosis, the first step is to seek help. It’s never too late, and it can be treated. By seeking treatment, you can learn new tools to better cope with your symptoms and live a happier, healthier life.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery treatment center. We believe in holistic recovery, meaning that we will help you develop the tools you need to restore your mind, body, and spirit. Make the decision to place your recovery as top priority today, and call us at 888-743-0490 for a consultation.