Dual Diagnosis

Being that this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness month is “Risky Business” I’m going to talk about dual diagnosis. So here is a problem we have here…does drugs and/or alcohol lead to mental illness or…does mental illness lead to drug and/or alcohol abuse? It’s hard to say. It’s kinda like the “chicken or the egg” thing. Anyways, if you are not familiar with the term, dual diagnosis is a term for individuals who live mental illness and substance abuse. According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). It’s a broad category. It can include, for example (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.):

  • Mild depression due to binge drinking
  • A person’s symptoms of bipolar disorder becoming more severe when they abuse heroin during periods of mania.
  • Drug abuse leading to mental illness because of how the drug has an influence on a person’s moods, thoughts, brain chemistry and behavior.
  • Self-medication using drugs and alcohol to mollify the symptoms of an existing mental health disorder

Regardless of how a dual diagnosis begins it impacts an individual’s interpersonal & intrapersonal relationships (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.):

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Using substance under dangerous conditions
  • Engaging in risky behaviors when drunk or high
  • Loss of control over use of substance
  • Developing tolerance & withdrawal symptoms
  • Feeling like you need the drug to function


About 1/3 of people experience mental illness in the U.S. and about half of people who live with a severe mental illness and undergo substance abuse (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.). Men are more likely than women to have a dual diagnosis, then, individuals on a lower socioeconomic status, part of the military or veterans. So how can dual diagnosis be treated? Individuals can be treated by detoxification, attending impatient detoxification, medication, psychology and/or self-help and support groups (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.). And I know one resource that can help you and/or your loved one overcome that problem.

Drug Rehab.com is an informational website that provides resources and tools to help break from addiction, so individuals and/or loved ones can achieve long term recovery. The site covers various forms of addiction such as

  • Alcohol addition
  • Drug addiction
  • Prescription drug addiction
  • Crystal meth addiction
  • Heroin addiction

Drug Rehab 2

Details on Adderal, its potency and how it’s digested.

Then some of these topics have subtopics; for example, in the discussion of Prescription drug abuse it covers:

  • Prescription Drug Abuse
  • Chronic Pain & Prescription Addiction
  • Who Addiction Affects
  • Mental Illness & Addiction
  • Commonly Abused Prescribed Drugs
  • Signs & Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

Other topics  Drug Rehab.com goes into are:

  • Eating disorders
  • Functioning alcoholics
  • Teen Drug Abuse
  • Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Co-Occurring disorders (aka: dual diagnosis)

For example, in the topic on Co-Occurring disorders, discussions include:

  • Mental illness
  • Self-medicating mental illness
  • Common mental health disorders
  • Symptoms of Co-morbidity
  • Stigma of mental illness & addiction
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Causes of mental disorder & drug use

In addition, the Drug Rehab website is an extension of Advance Recovery Systems or ARS. The ARS—which also funded and provided information for the website—helps people treat addiction, substance abuse eating disorders and mental health issues. They offer services such as:

Therapeutic learning

Cognative Healing


They also (which I find awesome about this mental health services) provide various mental health words to assist in substance abuse recovery:

  • Doctors
  • Dietitians
  • Case workers
  • Nurses
  • Therapists
  • Education

Whether you or someone you know has abused substances that has led to a mental illness or visa versa, everyone deserves to live a full life. Most importantly, you/they deserve to be happy and find the peace and serenity that has been within you/them all this time.

For more information, on Drug Rehab.com or ARS, click on the links below. Also check out 2 free resources the site offers. They have a free 24/7 confidential hotline you can call at: 855-402-0161. And they have a free Sobriety E-Book you can download.

Advanced Recovery Services


Drug Rehab 1.png

The Sobriety E-Book


Dual Diagnosis. (n.d.). National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Dual-Diagnosis


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