Addiction and substance abuse don’t exist in a vacuum. It often develops hand-in-hand with other mental health conditions, an occurrence called ‘dual diagnosis’. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, roughly 33 percent of individuals suffering from mental illness also succumb to substance abuse. Among those suffering with a severe mental illness, this figure increases closer to 50 percent.
According to NAMI, Dual diagnoses are more common among men than women; and it’s more likely to occur in drug users than in alcohol abusers—53 percent to 37 percent to be exact. However, no definitive pattern exists for which generally occurs first.
Some addictions tend to develop from mental illnesses.
Co-occurring mental illnesses and addiction disorders exist codependent of one another. When one gets worse or goes untreated, the other typically gets worse too. This often necessitates specialized treatment called ‘integrated intervention’. The course of integrated treatment may not be the same for every individual as it depends on the substance being abused as well as the co-occurring mental illness. Some common approaches exist, however; and both the addiction and the mental health disorder must be addressed.
Know that if you are suffering from both a mental disorder and substance abuse, you are certainly not alone. A qualified facility and trained medical professionals can treat both problems successfully.