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What is a Dual Diagnosis and How Does it Relate to Substance Abuse?

Many people who spend their time drinking or doing drugs find that they are not quite sure why they continue to hurt themselves like this. According to the National Library of Medicine, you could be a dual diagnosis patient. Most people who suffer from a substance abuse problem find that they are dual diagnosis patients. They also find themselves in somewhat of a chicken and the egg problem, unable to determine what came first.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

People who have a substance abuse problem often also have a mental health problem. When this happens it is very difficult to tell whether you have a substance abuse problem that caused a mental health issue or a mental health issue that caused a substance abuse problem. Since the two are so closely linked, it is difficult to figure out which is causing which. There is a proven link between substance abuse and mental health, this link is often referred to simply as dual diagnosis. Scientists are studying this link and what causes it.


Dual Diagnosis

Having an untreated mental illness often leads to self-medicating behaviors.

Far too often, people suffer from misdiagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness. These individuals often don’t know what is wrong with them, only that something isn’t right. Unfortunately these problems build to a point where the sufferer turns to illicit substances or non-prescribed medication for relief. This, in turn, creates dependence and an addiction disorder.

Increased Risk

People with mental illnesses are far more likely to develop an addiction to a substance of abuse. It is suspected that this is because the majority of mental illnesses are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, and most drugs, especially in large doses, alter brain chemistry. In this case the use of drugs gives mentally ill people the false feeling of being “normal”. However, the negative effects of dependence and addiction far outweigh the temporary and often false benefits of drug use.

How to Recognize Dual Diagnosis in Yourself and Others

There are a few signs that you or someone else may have a dual diagnosis. If you find yourself using drugs that are not prescribed to you by a doctor in order to feel “normal”, this is a sign. If you have anxiety, depression, or insomnia that only seems to be helped by illicit drugs, this is a sign. If you feel like you have to use drugs to escape pain, fear, or your own thoughts, you probably have a duel diagnosis. These signs can be very subtle though, and require verification by a medical professional.

Seeking Help for Mental Health Issues When You Have a Substance Abuse Problem

Where to Find Help

There are a number of options available that can help you with this duel diagnosis. Drug treatment centers, counselors, and even hospitals can help you detox and seek treatment for mental health issues. There are so many options, in fact, that it can all be overwhelming. That’s where we come in. Give us a call at 800-487-1890 (Who Answers?) We can answer your questions and help you find the care that you need.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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