Dual diagnosis… sounds a little strange, but maybe more familiar than you’re comfortable with, right? That’s because most people see or experience cases of dual diagnosis before understanding what it actually is. We can thank the suffocating stigma around both addiction and mental health for the fact that such a common phenomenon is so uncommonly talked about. But it’s important to understand the ways addiction and mental illness coexist.

Each Problem Exacerbates the Other

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, dual diagnosis is a term for when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance abuse problem simultaneously.

Either one can develop first. A person experiencing a mental health condition may turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication to improve the troubling mental health symptoms they experience.

Abusing substances can also lead to mental health problems because of the effects drugs have on a person’s moods, thoughts, brain chemistry and behavior.

of people experiencing mental illness struggle with addiction
1 in
drug addicts report experiencing mental illness
of people receive treatment for both conditions

Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

Struggling with dual diagnosis can feel incredibly overwhelming, but there is hope. New Start’s staff addiction therapists see these situations every day and have specific training to treat concurrent mental illnesses. It’s important to be honest with us about any mental health problems because we can structure treatment to accommodate them. You’ll get the most out of your rehab experience if both issues are addressed. Learn more about the therapy and treatment structures we offer.

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