Understanding Dual Diagnosis: Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

When a person is dual-diagnosed, it means they have both a mental disorder and an alcohol or drug problem. It's estimated that around half of people with a mental disorder will also have a substance use disorder at some point in their lives, and vice versa. To reduce stigma and help individuals and families facing challenges related to mental health conditions, stories and publications about living with dual diagnosis are being published. People with substance use disorders are at an increased risk of developing one or more primary conditions or chronic diseases. Co-occurring disorder, also known as dual diagnosis, is common among those receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Those with mental illness are more likely to suffer from substance use disorder than those without mental illness. According to Psychology Today, those with a combination of disorders may experience more serious medical and mental health challenges than those with a single disorder. Inpatient rehabilitation centers can be extremely beneficial for those with dual diagnosis, as the structured and safe environment can help wean them off the substance or its medical alternative. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is dedicated to reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on communities across the United States. Whether the mental health or substance use problem came first, long-term recovery depends on treating both disorders simultaneously. It's hard to say whether substance abuse ever causes mental health problems directly, as they are caused by a complex interplay of genetics, environment, and other factors.

After the initial examination, it may be difficult for a doctor to determine whether a person's main problem is substance abuse or a psychiatric disorder. At Turning Point of Tampa, we understand the importance of treating both mental health and substance abuse together. We tailor treatment plans accordingly to ensure that our patients receive the highest level of care. Going to inpatient rehabilitation for co-occurring disorder is ideal because of the high level of care patients receive. Our goal is to always provide a safe environment and a strong foundation in 12-step recovery, along with quality individual and group therapy. When you have both a substance abuse problem and a mental health problem, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, it's called co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.

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