Many people who are struggling with addiction are living with other mental health issues. For many, living with an undiagnosed or even diagnosed mental health issue can lead to the use of drugs and alcohol as a means to escape or numb the symptoms of mental health conditions. For others, mental health issues can develop as a result of drug or alcohol use. In any case, for people living with concurring mental health issues and substance use disorder, it’s important to seek help from a dual diagnosis program.
Understanding More About What Dual Diagnosis Is
So, what exactly is a dual diagnosis? Dual diagnosis is the term used to describe the instance that a person is living with concurring mental health issues, specifically substance use disorder and another mental illness. According to research, over 8 million adults living in the United States are living with dual diagnosis. For these individuals, it’s important that the help they receive is specifically geared toward identifying and addressing not only substance use disorders but concurring mental health issues as well. Without a dual diagnosis program, individuals who are living with a dual diagnosis have an increased risk of relapsing once treatment concludes.
Most Common Mental Health Issues That Occur With Substance Use Disorder
There are certain mental health diagnoses that are more commonly paired with substance use disorder than others. Some of the most common mental health issues that occur alongside substance use disorder include:
Depression: People who haven’t been diagnosed with depression yet or haven’t received treatment for a depression diagnosis may attempt to use drugs or alcohol as a way to numb symptoms of depressive disorders. This can lead to a dependence on drugs or alcohol and even increase the severity of symptoms associated with depressive disorders.
ADHD: People living with ADHD can be at a higher risk of developing addiction as they may use drugs or alcohol to deal with symptoms. Furthermore, dependence and addiction can develop as a result of misusing ADHD prescription medications.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: People living with the anxiety disorder Generalized Anxiety Disorder that isn’t diagnosed or don’t get the treatment they need may develop substance use disorder as the result of attempting to deal with symptoms of anxiety. For example, after a stressful day with lots of anxiety, people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder may drink alcohol to calm their nerves. But, this can become habit-forming and lead to addiction.
Getting Help for Dual Diagnosis With an Addiction Dual Diagnosis Program
If you think that you may be living with concurring mental health issues and substance use disorder, it’s best to consider a dual diagnosis program. In traditional addiction rehabilitation centers, programs only identify and address substance use disorder. This may leave out the addressing of underlying issues like concurring mental health disorders. However, with an addiction dual diagnosis program, individuals who are living with dual diagnosis have the opportunity to learn about and address both mental health issues they may be living with.