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Many people diagnosed with a substance use disorder also suffer from a co-occurring mental health or behavioral disorder. This is known as a dual diagnosis. Individuals with a dual diagnosis require a special treatment plan that acknowledges both disorders as interconnected mental health issues.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 45 percent of people with addiction have a co-occurring mental health disorder. Here are some of the common mental health issues that tend to go hand-in-hand with addiction:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Habit-forming stimulants are often prescribed to treat ADHD.
  • Bipolar Disorder. About half of people with bipolar disorder also struggle with addiction. and alcohol can provide temporary relief from depression and manic episodes.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder. Over two-thirds of people with BPD have experienced substance abuse at some point in their lives.
  • Many people diagnosed with depression try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
  • Eating Disorders. Drugs that suppress appetite are commonly abused.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder. People who suffer from GAD may be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol to manage their symptoms. Some also abuse benzodiazepines, which are highly addictive prescription medications used to treat anxiety disorders.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Schizophrenia

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 45 percent of people in the United States struggle with a dual diagnosis. People diagnosed with a mental health condition are about twice as likely as the general population to suffer from a substance use disorder. Addiction and mental disorders often have similar origins, such as genetics, environmental triggers, stress, and traumatic events.

Symptoms of a dual diagnosis can vary based on the mental disorder and the drug used, but some general things to look for are:

  • A sudden change in general behavior
  • Difficulty managing daily tasks and responsibilities
  • Avoiding events or social activities that were once enjoyed
  • Neglecting health and hygiene
  • Disillusioned thinking or cognitive impairments
  • Refusal to seek or comply with treatment
  • Mentions of thoughts of suicide or suicidal behaviors
  • Erratic and impulsive behaviors
  • Problems managing finances
  • Poor performance at school or work

Because of the complicated nature of co-occurring disorders, many people with a dual diagnosis will be better served by an inpatient or residential treatment program. These programs tend to offer a wider range of services, ongoing support, and on-site professionals from various backgrounds. Inpatient dual diagnosis rehab programs are more intensive because participants receive regular education about mental health issues as well as substance abuse and addiction. They receive daily therapy and may attend support groups every day. They also have the support of a group of peers who are learning to live without drugs or alcohol.

If you or a loved one need help to quit drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949)-438-4504.




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