For most people, substance dependence does not arise out of the blue. Often an addiction to alcohol or drugs develops as an unconscious coping mechanism to deal with underlying depression, anxiety, ADHD or trauma. Dual diagnosis refers to the particular condition that occurs when an individual is suffering from both a mental illness and a concurrent substance abuse problem - in other words, a person with dual diagnosis has both a mental disorder and an alcohol or drug problem. Dual diagnosis is also sometimes referred to as co-occurring disorder or comorbidity.
These conditions actually occur together very commonly. Much research shows that around half of the population living with a mental disorder will also deal with a substance use disorder at some point in his or her life — and vice versa. Research also shows that men are more likely to require treatment for dual diagnosis than women.
Specific examples of dual diagnosis include alcoholism and depression, opioid addiction and PTSD, prescription drug addiction and anxiety, and meth addiction and psychosis. Unfortunately, many people who are suffering from a dual diagnosis only receive treatment for one of the two co-existing conditions and it is difficult to fully heal if only one half of the problem is being addressed.
Living with a dual diagnosis may seem like a lot to understand and overcome. At BOLD Health, we want you to know that there is hope for improvement and a healthier, more peaceful life. We’re here to help you, whenever you need us.