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Dual Diagnosis: What Is It? What Are the Common Symptoms?

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis refers to a condition in which two conditions, namely a mental disorder and an underlying alcohol or drug abuse problem, frequently coexist.

It has been determined that approximately 60% of people with a mental disorder also have a substance use disorder at some point in their lives, and vice versa. The interactions between these two co-occurring conditions tend to exacerbate one another.

Although these two co-occurring issues frequently manifest together, this does not imply that one causes the other, even if one appears first. Researchers believe that three factors contribute to the co-occurrence of the conditions: common risk factors, such as genetics, stress, and trauma, which contribute to both; mental disorders that contribute to drib and substance use disorders; and substance use addiction that contributes to the development of a mental disorder.

Common Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis

The common symptoms of dual diagnosis are as follows:

  1. Use of alcohol, drugs, or other substances to escape psychological problems

Anyone who uses alcohol, drugs, or other substances because their lives are too difficult to bear is likely to suffer from a mental illness. Some people, for example, start using alcohol, drugs, or other substances after a divorce or breakup. They mistakenly believe that by using these substances, they will be temporarily relieved of their pain. If, on the other hand, the emotional distress is so severe that the only way to escape is to abuse alcohol, drugs, or other substances, the person is dealing with more than just everyday stress. It indicates that they suffer from a mental illness such as anxiety or depression.

  1. History of mental illness

Signs of prior mental illness are the most telling signs that someone has a dual diagnosis. It is true that mental illness does not go away on its own, especially if intensive mental health treatment is not received. This means that if someone shows signs of a previous mental health diagnosis, chances are the diagnosis is still affecting their life and, as a result, plays a significant role in their decision to abuse alcohol, drugs, or other substances.

  1. Anger, suicidal tendencies, or violence when trying to quit addiction

In someone with dual diagnoses, you’ll notice episodes of rage, suicidal ideation, and violence. This is due to withdrawal from the substance to which they are addicted. Withdrawal is difficult for anyone who is addicted to alcohol, drugs, or other substances, and it tends to worsen with continued use of the substance to which one is addicted.

Anxiety, increased anger, and difficulty concentrating are all common symptoms of withdrawal. However, if the addict believes they are losing control or are unable to tolerate anything, it is time to seek immediate help.

Self-harm, flashbacks to or dreams of traumatic events in the past, overwhelming fear, and aggression and hostility towards people who have not provoked the concerned individual are some of the other symptoms associated with anger, suicidal tendencies, and violence, which are common among people with mental illness withdrawing from substance abuse.

  1. Alcohol, drugs, or other substances use making one feel like themselves

While many people use alcohol, drugs, or other substances to escape everyday stressors or to get a “high,” others rely on these addictive substances to feel normal. If this is the case, the individuals may be suffering from a mental illness and maybe dual diagnosis patients.

  1. Mental illness runs in the family

If a person has mentally ill relatives, even if they are not themselves, their childhood exposure to mental illness greatly increases their vulnerability to mental illness. This is true even if they are not genetically predisposed to mental illness. As a result, mental illness in the family is a symptom of dual diagnosis.

Need Help on Dual Diagnosis?

If you have any of the above-mentioned dual diagnosis symptoms and have experienced the condition’s causative factors such as genetic vulnerability, overlapping neurological networks, environmental factors such as trauma, a proclivity toward risky behavior, proclivity to self-medicate, or impulsivity or sensation-seeking behavior, you most likely have a dual diagnosis.

Contact Roots Through Recovery, which has qualified professionals on staff to answer any questions or concerns that you may have on dual diagnosis and to discuss the best treatment options available. Call now at 562-473-0827.


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