Dual Diagnosis: How Addiction and Mental Health Issues Go Hand-in-Hand

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction? Have you ever wondered why some people can drink just a few sips of alcohol or use drugs recreationally and not develop an issue? 

Addiction can be genetic and stem from environmental factors. It can also be affected by other underlying mental illnesses. When mental illness and addiction occur together, it is a dual diagnosis.

When both issues are present, it can create a seemingly never-ending cycle of drug abuse, depression, and anxiety. We’re going to look at how addiction and mental disorders go hand in hand. Keep reading for more information! 

Diagnosing Addiction & Mental Illness

When someone decides that their addiction has reached a level of hopelessness, that person will opt for some type of treatment. Most often, this occurs through inpatient or outpatient programs.

These programs offer counseling and seek the ‘root’ cause of substance abuse. This is to allow patients the ability to find long-term sobriety.

During the intake process, a series of questions about the patient’s mental health history will be asked. These inquiries will sound like a typical mental health screening that you may have at a doctor’s office.

If the patient is suffering from substance abuse disorder and mental health issues, a treatment plan will be created to address both problems individually and as one. 

Why Is Dual Diagnosis So Common? 

Dual diagnosis is a question similar to whether the egg or the chicken came first. Some people with mental health illnesses turn to drugs and alcohol to help themselves cope.

Other people develop mental health disorders after long periods of substance abuse. This can happen when neurotransmitters are damaged after years of addiction or alcoholism.   

Additionally, when the brain is accustomed to the feeling of being high or drunk, serotonin and dopamine production drops. This can leave a former user feeling depressed for what seems to be ‘no reason.’ This often leads to relapse and continuing the ugly cycle of addiction. 

The problem with either scenario is that when an addict or alcoholic attempts to get clean on their own, their mental health issues will still be present. Because of this, it is important to find a treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis treatment. 

Treatment centers like CBI Tucson can offer a holistic approach to treating both addiction and mental health issues–whether the addiction caused the illness or the other way around. 

Getting Help

Choosing to receive help with your dual diagnosis is a big step. There can be many questions about whether the treatment will work, if you ‘actually’ have a problem, and if you should simply go cold turkey. 

If you are questioning whether or not you are dealing with a substance abuse issue, the best option is to speak with a professional. A treatment center will help answer any questions you may have and can explain your individualized treatment plan. 

Should you have other general questions about addiction, mental health, or dual diagnosis, explore our blog for more helpful information!