It is perfectly plausible that you might have several disorders presenting themselves at the same time. Suppose you are trying to deal with an addiction problem, such as substance abuse, for instance. In that scenario, you might also have the added complication of dealing with a co-occurring disorder such as a mental health problem like depression.

Having to contend with several disorders all at the same time can obviously be very challenging. It is very relevant to understand that there is a clearly defined link between substance abuse and a variety of mental health issues.

That fact is recognized in the form of dual diagnosis treatment which is aimed at finding a unique solution that meets your particular needs, based on what you are particularly struggling with in your life.

Disclosure:  Always speak to your health care professional for mental health diagnosis.  Mental health issues are complex, and it is important to understand the differences between different conditions.

Twice the problem

One of the fundamental problems associated with co-occurring disorders is that both the substance abuse and your diagnosed mental health disorder have their own individualistic symptoms but also manage to affect each other too.

It is going to be tough enough to deal with one of these disorders on its own but dealing with two at the same time can exacerbate the situation.

In simple terms, when a mental health problem is not diagnosed and treated it will often ensure that your substance abuse gets worse. This is why dual diagnosis is so effective in these situations.

It is estimated that about half of people with a recognized severe mental health disorder will also be impacted by substance abuse. For many, the two go hand in hand.

Inextricably linked

It is abundantly clear that mental health problems and substance abuse are very closely linked to each other. You might wonder which one comes first.

It is not the case that one is likely to trigger the other. However, it stands to reason that if you are struggling with alcohol abuse problems, it becomes more likely that you will experience anxiety and depression symptoms.

Another example would be when you are abusing a substance such as marijuana, which could then lead to a psychotic reaction.

How do you know if you have a co-occurring disorder? 

There are a number of mental health disorders that are most likely to come to the surface alongside substance abuse problems.

Classic mental health problems that are often likely to co-occur with substance abuse include anxiety disorders, depression, and signs of bipolar disorder.

There are also some telltale signs that you might be suffering from co-occurring disorders. Once you realize that there are two things going on at the same time by identifying the symptoms of anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder, you can look at a treatment program for your dual diagnosis.

When you find the right treatment provider you will be able to get help with all of your specific issues simultaneously.

Your treatment program for a mental health problem might include certain self-help measures, the use of medication, and a range of counseling services.

When it comes to dealing with a substance abuse problem, you can expect treatments such as managing withdrawal symptoms and detoxification help. Also, behavioral therapy and ongoing support to help you maintain your sobriety.

A dual diagnosis followed by combined treatments will help set you on a path to conquering all of your related issues at the same time.

Written by Hima Gandham

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