What Is Dual Diagnosis/Co-Occurring Disorders?
A person with dual diagnosis has both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. Also known as co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis is common among those who seek treatment at detox centers and drug rehab centers. This is because mental health disorders can often trigger substance abuse and vice versa.
Some people with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses will self-medicate their symptoms using drugs and alcohol in an effort to find relief. However, drugs and alcohol are only temporary solutions for mental illness and can actually worsen symptoms. Over time, individuals with mental illness who abuse drugs and alcohol for euphoric effects can eventually become addicted to these substances.
On the other hand, chronic use of drugs and alcohol can often change brain function and cause chemical imbalances that eventually lead to mental illness. People without a history of mental illness can develop depression, schizophrenia, and/or other mental illnesses due to the way drugs and alcohol affect their brains. In many cases, these individuals require long-term therapy to reverse and repair brain damage induced by addiction.