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Dual Diagnosis


When someone who suffers from a drug or alcohol addiction suffers from a mental health disorder alongside their substance abuse problem, they have a dual diagnosis, also commonly called co-existing or co-occurring disorders. Examples of a dual diagnosis are psychosis and a meth addiction, depression disorder and alcoholism, bipolar disorder and a heroin addiction or schizophrenia with a cocaine habit. These are just a few instances of how co-occurring disorders can potentially develop; there are a multitude of ways in which this illness can develop.

It can be challenging treatment a dual diagnosis, for it is a complex disorder, but many treatment facilities in New York offer the appropriate care for the illness.

Dual diagnosis points to be examined include:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse is the cause of psychiatric symptoms and mimics psychiatric disorders.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse is causing psychiatric disorders to develop, re-develop or become worse.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse is hiding psychiatric symptoms and disorders, especially when people are using drugs or alcohol to relieve undesired psychiatric symptoms.
  • Withdrawing from drugs or alcohol is causing psychiatric symptoms and mimicking psychiatric syndromes.

Addictions and Psychiatric Disorders

Commonly, an addict with an existing psychiatric disorder causes him or her to consume illicit substances to alleviate psychiatric symptoms. Another likely scenario is that prolonged drug or alcohol abuse will lead to the development of a mental health disorder. In both cases, a co-existing disorder will require professional assistance and treatment to overcome. If this form of professional care is not sought out, a relapse is probable.


Examples of Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

Depression and Addiction: Depression is commonly found as a mental health disorder among people addicted to alcohol in New York and the rest of the country. Those who suffer from the illness use alcohol to block painful thoughts, memories and emotions. Depression and drinking alcohol feed upon each other, creating a continuing cycle of both, as alcohol is a substance that depresses the central nervous system.

Anxiety and Addiction: Anxiety disorders cause those who suffer from it to develop intense feelings of unease for no particular reason. This disorder affects a large amount of people in New York, as well as the nation. Those who suffer from it often have a difficult time socializing or going about their daily routines. Drugs or alcohol can create a false sense of audacity and lower levels of anxiety. The perceived ability to function on a higher social level when abusing substances, leads people with anxiety disorders to substance addiction.


Dual Diagnosis Statistics

According to the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, the following statistics establish relationships between substance abuse and mental illness and shows the importance to treat all disorders at the same time:

  • Mentally ill people are three times more likely to have a substance abuse problem
  • Drug abusing people are four and a half times as likely to have a mental illness when compared to people who do not have a drug problem
  • 24% of people with anxiety disorder will have a substance abuse problem
  • 27% of people with depression disorder will have a substance abuse problem
  • 47% of people who are schizophrenics will have a substance abuse problem
  • 56% of people with bipolar disorder will have a substance abuse problem


Dual Diagnosis Treatments

All the following treatments are components of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Psychopharmacology: Once an addict is abstaining, psychiatric symptoms may disappear. Prescription medications are used to treat those remaining symptoms.

Psychotherapy: Individual therapy and group therapy sessions are part of a total treatment plan to address any mental health and addiction issues by uncovering root causes.

Behavioral Management: CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) is therapy where a person learns specific coping skills directly addressing avoiding destructive or disturbing thought patterns and improving behavior. Addicts are taught socialization and how their behavior affects themselves, their loved ones and the community.


Find Help

It is important to reach out to an addiction treatment center in New York that offers programs that treat co-occurring disorders. Due to the growing trend of dual diagnosis cases, a facility should offer all-inclusive treatment options. This form of addiction program coupled with aftercare services is necessary to prevent relapse and a lifetime of both mental and physical health.