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What Is Dual Diagnosis?

The term “dual diagnosis” refers to someone suffering from both a drug or alcohol addiction and a co-occurring psychiatric illness like depression or bipolar disorder. It is a growing area of addiction medicine.

According to a report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association:

-Thirty-seven percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.

-Of all people diagnosed as mentally ill, 29 percent abuse either alcohol or drugs.

Why is Dual Diagnosis treatment more complex?

The two illnesses can actually exacerbate each other. As a result, it becomes difficult to determine which symptoms are caused by which disorder, and psychiatric symptoms can be masked by drug use.

Conversely, drug or alcohol use, or withdrawal, can lead to behaviors that mimic psychiatric illness can lead to drug or alcohol use – and untreated drug addiction can cause reoccurrence of the psychiatric symptoms.

With symptoms and causal relationship so tightly connected, it is important to choose professionals experienced in dual diagnosis. Visit our website to learn more about dual diagnosis and treatment options.

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