In order to understand dual diagnosis, it is important to know that one of the most common reasons people begin to abuse substances is because they’re experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, but they don’t know it. This is most common among young people because this is often when symptoms of anxiety and depression begin to develop. Young people are typically embarrassed to discuss their strange feelings with someone who can help, but they’ll find that drugs or alcohol can bring them some ease and comfort that they weren’t able to find on their own. This can also happen to older people as well.
Mental Illness and Chemical Dependencies
Although young people are more at risk of becoming addicted, it can happen to anyone who is treating their mental illness with drugs or alcohol. If the person begins drinking or using every time they’re experiencing symptoms of mental illness, they’re training their mind to crave these substances when the feelings come up. They eventually become dependent to the substances and no longer have the power of choice when they are going to drink or use.
What is a Dual Diagnosis?
One of the most common situations seen in rehab centers is that addicts suffer from a dual diagnosis, which means the person suffers from a mental illness as well as their addiction. It’s of the utmost importance that these two illnesses are treated separately, because the person’s mental illness symptoms will not always go away just because they get sober. There are some cases where a person’s depression or anxiety was purely caused by their substance abuse, so their symptoms will go away once they have been fully detoxed.
Once the person completes treatment for dual diagnosis, they should continue to follow up with an addiction specialist to see if they are making progress. According to recent studies, more people relapse from an untreated mental illness than any other reason, so it’s important that their mental illness is taken care of when the person leaves the treatment center.