What’s a dual diagnosis and how do you know if you have one? First, a dual diagnosis is when an addiction and mental illness co-exist in the same person. There isn’t one fixed type of dual diagnosis, because it can refer to any number of combinations, including anxiety and addiction, depression and addiction, bipolar disorder and addiction, and so on. If you suspect you have a dual diagnosis, don’t panic. You’re not alone, and treatment is available for you.
SAMHSA estimates that each year, approximately 4 million Americans over the age of 18 are living with a mental health disorder and an addiction. More than 50 percent of those people do not receive treatment. Alternatively, they may be receiving treatment for either the mental health disorder or the addiction – this is not total treatment.
Understanding Dual Diagnosis
Let’s go back to our original question – how do you know if you have a dual diagnosis? It’s not always easy to tell, and the symptoms can often be confused for other ailments. Either the mental health issue or the addiction can come first, and each usually feeds off of the other. Here are some things that may indicate a dual diagnosis.
Symptoms of Alcohol or Substance Abuse
- Regularly using to the point of blackout
- Hiding your drug or alcohol use from others
- Preoccupation with when and where you’ll have your next hit
- Inability to stop using/drinking
- Feeling like you need to cut back on your using/drinking
- Family members or friends show concern about your usage
Symptoms of Mental Illness
- Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Extreme anxiety, worry, or stress for no clear reason
- Lack of energy
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Periods of hyperactivity cycled with periods of inactivity
- Racing, jumbled thoughts
If you suspect that you have a mental illness, an addiction, or a dual diagnosis, you should see a behavioral health professional as soon as possible. A dual diagnosis can present complicated, confusing symptoms and a professional can help you work through them to identify whether or not you have a dual diagnosis. If you do, it’s important to get specialized treatment that attends to both the mental health disorder and the addiction.
Because both facets of a dual diagnosis are so closely linked, specialized treatment can help pull them apart. Your treatment should be designed with you in mind, not just your diagnosis. It is possible to manage the symptoms and recover, and the earlier you start, the more effective treatment can be.
If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse, substance addiction or any other type of addiction, please call us today. Our addiction treatment counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. A substance abuse treatment program is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.