Mental disorders, such as depression, often accompany an addiction. When co-occurring disorders are present, the individual has a dual diagnosis.
What is a Dual Diagnosis?
A dual diagnosis describes a person who has a mental illness and co-existing substance abuse problem.
Addiction and mental illness both stem from the brain, making people with mental disorders more susceptible to addiction and vice versa.
Common Mental Health Issues and Addiction
There are a few mental health issues that often present themselves alongside addiction. These include:
- Depression. An estimated 1 in 10 adults in the United States have reported suffering from depression. With numbers this high, it’s unsurprising that addiction and depression have a strong connection. Many people experiencing depression try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. This often makes the problem worse. The crash after the high can be devastating for those with a pre-existing depressive condition.
- Bipolar disorder. About half of people with bipolar disorder also struggle with addiction. As with any other disorder, it can be tempting to self-medicate. Drugs and alcohol provide temporary relief from painful situations and manic episodes for people with bipolar.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD causes a number of unwanted obsessions and compulsions. Many people with OCD often suffer from anxiety and depression as a result of their involuntary behavior, which can lead substance abuse.
- Anxiety. Anxiety is the most common mental condition in the U.S. It affects 18% of the adult population. People who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks may be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol to manage their symptoms.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some people witness terrifying and traumatic events in their lives that cause them long-lasting duress. Many people with PTSD use drugs and alcohol in an attempt to cope with their past.
- Eating disorders. People with eating disorders often have strong feelings of inferiority, similar to people who self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. It’s common for people with an eating disorders to abuse drugs. Drugs that suppress appetite are especially common among people with these disorders.
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Why Co-Occurring Disorders Are Treated Differently
Only treating the physical effects of addiction leaves the underlying disorder untreated. Recovering addicts with an untreated co-occurring disorder have an increased risk of relapse.
Signs of drug abuse and mental health disorders are often similar and connected. Depression and addiction, for example, have several things in common, including:
- Loss of interest in once-enjoyable activities.
- Feelings of hopelessness.
- Reckless behavior.
A treatment center that understands how to treat mental health issues can get to the root of these problems, treating both issues at once. Treatment of co-occurring disorders is necessary for a successful addiction recovery.
Get Help for a Dual Diagnosis
If you or someone you know is struggling with a co-occurring disorder, don’t wait to get help. Qualified treatment centers across the U.S. can help treat the substance and mental health issues in your life. Get help with a dual diagnosis now.