Dual Diagnosis | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental IllnessWhen you have both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, it is called a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. To make the situation more complicated, the co-occurring disorders also affect each other. When a mental health problem goes untreated, the substance abuse problem usually gets worse. And when alcohol or drug abuse increases, mental health problems usually increase too. Co-occurring substance abuse problems and mental health issues are more common than many people realize. According to reports published in the Journal of the American Medical Association :. There are things you can do to conquer your demons, repair your relationships, and get on the road to recovery.
Substance Use and Mental Disorders: One, the Other, or Both? - January 2015
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues
Dual diagnosis also called co-occurring disorders , COD , or dual pathology   is the condition of suffering from a mental illness and a comorbid substance abuse problem. There is considerable debate surrounding the appropriateness of using a single category for a heterogeneous group of individuals with complex needs and a varied range of problems. The concept can be used broadly, for example depression and alcoholism, or it can be restricted to specify severe mental illness e. Those with co-occurring disorders face complex challenges. They have increased rates of relapse, hospitalization, homelessness , and HIV and hepatitis C infection compared to those with either mental or substance use disorders alone. The identification of substance-induced versus independent psychiatric symptoms or disorders has important treatment implications and often constitutes a challenge in daily clinical practice. Similar patterns of comorbidity and risk factors in individuals with substance induced disorder and those with independent non-substance induced psychiatric symptoms suggest that the two conditions may share underlying etiologic factors.
Understanding the link between substance abuse and mental health
Dual diagnosis also referred to as co-occurring disorders is a term for when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously. Either disorder—substance use or mental illness—can develop first. People experiencing a mental health condition may turn to alcohol or other drugs as a form of self-medication to improve the mental health symptoms they experience. However, research shows that alcohol and other drugs worsen the symptoms of mental illnesses. The professional fields of mental health and substance use recovery have different cultures, so finding integrated care can challenging. A national effort led by psychiatrist Ken Minkoff helps systems integrate these cultures and services on every level of care.
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