Dual Diagnosis and Substance Abuse


Dual Diagnosis and Substance Abuse

Individuals suffering from Dual Diagnosis have both a mental disorder and a problem with drugs or alcohol. It's very common for individuals suffering from Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Schizophrenia and Personality Disorders to abuse alcohol and other substances. Many people suffering from Bipolar Disorder also abuse substances like drugs and alcohol especially if gone undiagnosed and untreated.


Every individual is different; some people abuse substances like drugs and alcohol and later develop mental and emotional problems. For others, the mental disorder takes place first and may be part of the reason people turn to substances like drugs and alcohol in the first place.

Individuals suffering from depression are not alone, there are more than 20 million people suffering from this medical illness every day in the United States. Depression affects people of all ages and affects their health and life in every way. Many people suffering from depression use drugs or alcohol, sometimes both in order to cope. This happens especially if their depression has gone untreated. Unfortunately they are only making their symptoms and illness worse by using substances to make themselves feel better for the moment.

Anxiety Disorders if gone undiagnosed and untreated is disabling to the individual suffering from them. Many people attempt to self-medicate themselves if they don't seek medical attention first.

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that the individual suffers from all their life. This chronic and severe illness can be disabling without proper diagnosis and treatment for the individual. They hallucinate and see things that aren't really there, and hear voices most of the time. Those suffering from schizophrenia also have attention span problems and their memory isn't very good. Many find themselves using alcohol or other substances and many become dependent on them.

Borderline Personality Disorder is also referred to as BPD and is a serious mental disorder for the individual suffering from this illness. They are unable to regulate their emotions and this affects every aspect of their life. Not only are they miserable but their home life, relationships and careers suffer.

Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder that affects many people today. Each person suffering from bipolar disorder may go through their own variation of mood swings from manic or mania to extreme depression. It isn't uncommon for individuals suffering from bipolar disorder to use alcohol or other substances especially if gone undiagnosed and untreated.

Substance Abuse Treatment and Dual Diagnosis

It's very important when entering into a substance abuse treatment program that the individual has an assessment done in order to rule out any underlying mental disorders first. If the person is suffering from dual diagnosis it's critical that both the disorder and the addiction be treated.

After determining if there is an underlying illness sometimes medications are recommended for treating the mental or emotional disorder. Rehabilitation and treatment for the substance abuse issues and mental disorder are worked into a specific treatment plan for the patient. Offering behavioral treatment, support therapy and individual counseling is very effective treatment for those suffering from dual diagnosis. It is possible for those suffering from a Dual Diagnosis to live a healthy substance free life as long as they receive professional help and treatment.

Website Used
Medline Plus
National Institute of Mental Health

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