Do You Show Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis or Co-Occurring Disorders?

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Do You Show Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis or Co-Occurring Disorders?

How does a person know if their problems with mental illness such as depression or bipolar disorder came before their difficulties with substance use disorder? Dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders are genuine issues for many individuals today. It is when a person struggles with both that treatment for only one of the disorders will not help. Whether you know it as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders, you must seek treatment for both issues at the same time.

Treating Dual Diagnosis or Co-Occurring Disorders can be Challenging

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

Dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) is a term for when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously. Either disorder—substance use or mental illness—can develop first.”

In the majority of cases, it is hard to know which problem was first. A person struggling with mental health issues could be self-medicating their symptoms with a substance of abuse. Then again, if a person is abusing alcohol or drugs, that may be the cause of the mental disorders they are experiencing.

When treating dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders, it’s hard for the physician or counselor to know what caused each problem. Therefore, the medical professional has to get to the root cause of each issue. Did the substance abuse cause depression? Or, did the patient start using substances because of the depression as a way of self-medicating that mental issue?

High-Risk Patients

Coping with either mental illness or substance use disorder alone is hard enough for an individual. But when you factor in two serious problems such as these, it’s easy to see what obstacles a person must face in trying to recover from both. The two issues must be treated simultaneously. There is no way to treat one and then come back and treat the other at a later time.

Those individuals who are suffering from a mental problem are at a much higher risk of addiction. Even when they think they can only use a substance every once in a while to make them feel better, it seldom works that way. They are far more likely to abuse their substance of choice and soon become addicted to the substance.

Symptoms of Substance Use Disorder and Symptoms of Mental Illness

Usually, when people struggle with a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders, each issue gets in the way of the other when it comes to treatment. If your problem is substance abuse, it may make your mental problem worse. At the same time, your psychological issue may make your substance abuse problem worse. You need to have a treatment plan which can treat each issue at the same time.

As reported in, “More than one in four adults living with serious mental health problems also has a substance use problem.

The mental health problems that occur most often with substance use problems are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality disorders
Many of the symptoms of substance use disorder and mental illness are the same. Some of the symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of energy
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Sleep changes
  • Concentration problems
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Inability to experience pleasure

Seek Help if You Feel that You are Struggling with Dual Diagnosis

If you feel that you may be struggling with a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders, reach out for help. You may think that admitting that you have a mental issue or substance use problem makes you weak. You are not weak. Anyone can have a problem with dual diagnosis, and many individuals do. It is a sign of strength reaching out and asking for help.

Most inpatient addiction treatment facilities treat dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders.  A Forever Recovery is one such inpatient addiction rehab. Contact one of our representatives today to learn more about the programs we offer. They can answer any questions you may have about our facility.

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