What is Dual Diagnosis?
The recovery community often speaks of dual diagnosis, but what does it mean?
Many people in addiction recovery live with mental illness as well as addiction. Sometimes becoming addicted to a substance or chemical was a means to self-medicate an undiagnosed mental illness, even though this rarely yielded positive results. The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that “about a third of all alcohol abusers and more than half of all drug abusers report experiencing a mental illness.” (Dual Diagnosis).
A dual diagnosis can be a combination of any mental disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder, coupled with drug addiction, sex addiction, or other types of addictions. However daunting a dual diagnosis may seem, many people are successfully in recovery from both a mental illness and addiction.
How does addiction affect depression?
The body becomes weak when depressed, and when this is coupled with mind-altering substances, the possibility for injury increases. In fact, “Depression is all too often a gateway into drug and alcohol use” (Depression and Addiction). When we are facing trauma, grief, or any emotion that has the ability to transform into depression or affect our mental well-being, using drugs or alcohol to numb the pain can sound very appealing. But this quick fix can soon become a life-altering addiction.
Many accredited facilities provide inpatient and outpatient treatment for both the addiction and the mental illness. It’s important to do research when determining which facility will be right for you or your loved one. Although there is no cure for addiction, there is a way to start living life again. This is the same idea when it comes to mental illness. If you or someone you love is using drugs or alcohol to avoid feelings too painful to address or to hide a more serious mental illness, it’s important to reach out and get professional help. There are people who understand your struggle and want nothing more than to see you succeed.
Types of Dual Diagnosis
Here is a video from eHow describing various types of dual diagnosis, many of which are often overlooked.
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