Understanding Dual Diagnosis: How Common is it?

According to the NSDUH, 45% of people in the United States are living with a dual diagnosis. This means that they have both a mental health condition and a problem with alcohol or drugs. Research from mental health statistics shows that 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health issues at least once in their life, and those with a mental disorder are twice as likely as the general population to suffer from SUD. When a patient has symptoms of both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, they are said to have a dual diagnosis.

This can include combinations such as alcoholism combined with mental illness, methamphetamine addiction, eating disorders, marijuana addiction and schizophrenia, opioid addiction and mental health statistics. Interactions between the two conditions can worsen both. As a result, many Americans are dealing with this problem and are unable to receive the care they need to recover. Treatment often focuses on common symptoms of disorders, such as negative mood or impulse control problems.

Deployment or combat pressures can exacerbate underlying mental disorders, and substance abuse is a common way of coping with feelings or memories. unpleasant symptoms associated with PTSD in military veterans. Many addiction professionals and public health researchers have dedicated their careers to studying the relationship of dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis can also affect people from all walks of life, women and men, rich and poor, old and young.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) frequently publishes different research and studies to examine the various causes, effects, signs and symptoms, treatment options for dual diagnosis. Dual diagnoses are also associated with financial problems, employment problems, housing problems, and legal issues. An interaction between both conditions can complicate a person's recovery, resulting in a less favorable treatment outlook and a combined risk of negative health consequences without adequate treatment. Trying to treat one of the co-occurring conditions on an individual basis and addressing only the other problem is usually unsuccessful. For example, if a person is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorder, they qualify for dual-diagnosis treatment. Unfortunately, a dual diagnosis can result in dual stigmas if not well understood, leading to poorer social support. About 5.7 million of these people face what is considered a serious mental illness, which means that the disorder has significantly interfered with their ability to live. It's important to understand that dual diagnosis is very common - millions of Americans struggle with it every day.

The health consequences of a dual diagnosis depend both on the substance being used and on the mental disorder present.

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