Dual Diagnosis, What Does it Mean Exactly?

Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis disorders or comorbidity, means that someone has a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. Since one of these disorders can often worsen the symptoms of the other, in some cases, it can be tough to figure out which one started first making things a bit more troublesome to diagnose. 

Professionals estimate that over ½ of the people who are diagnosed with a severe mental health disorder also have an alcohol or drug addiction. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA, in 2015, around 8 million people throughout the United States experienced a substance use disorder and mental health disorder at the same time. Just over ½ of these people were men. 

If you or someone you know has a dual diagnosis disorder or believe you do, please reach out to us here at Harmony Recovery NC today. We can help to treat both the mental health disorder and addiction simultaneously. 

When is a Substance Use Disorder Diagnosed

Substance use disorders are diagnosed when the person isn’t able to control their illegal or legal use of alcohol or drugs. They continue to use these substances despite the severe negative consequences that are being caused in their life including those for their health, at school and at work. It needs to be known that a substance use disorder is a kind of mental health disorder as alcohol and drugs do negatively impact brain function, mood and emotional health. 

What About Mental Health Disorders 

Mental health disorders or mental health illnesses include many conditions. According to the American Psychiatric Association, these illnesses are conditions that involve changes in a person’s behavior, emotions and thinking patterns. It could be a change in one, two or three of these things. Mental health disorders are also associated with problems and/or distress at work, in social situation or in family or personal situations. 

Both substance use disorders and mental health disorders can severely impact how a person functions and takes care of (or the lack thereof) their responsibilities. They both can impact how someone completes tasks, as well. 

Which Substance Use Issues and Mental Health Issues Usually Occur Simultaneously

Many combinations of substance use disorders and mental health illnesses and issues can occur together. However, one of the most common combinations is that of an addiction and an anxiety or mood disorder. Research shows that around ½ of those who have an alcohol or drug addiction also struggle with some type of mood or anxiety disorder such as:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dysthmia disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD

Some other mental health illnesses that commonly co-occur with substance abuse include personality disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD and ADD.

If you or a loved one have any mental health illnesses that cause you to abuse alcohol or drugs or have an addiction that causes mental health issues to worsen, please reach out to us here at Harmony Recovery NC today. 

Symptoms and Signs of Dual Diagnosis Disorders 

There are many symptoms and signs that may be exhibited with dual diagnosis disorders. The symptoms that present themselves will be those that generally occur with substance use disorders and the specific mental health illness. Luckily, there are now great alcohol and drug screening tools that can make it simpler for a mental health facility to identify dual diagnosis disorders. 

Some of the symptoms and signs of substance use disorders include: 

  • Craving alcohol or drugs
  • Not able to control alcohol or drug use
  • Isolating oneself socially
  • Abrupt behavior or personality changes
  • Risky behaviors
  • Legal problems
  • Financial issues
  • Increased tolerance to the drug
  • Withdrawal symptoms

If you or a loved one have these symptoms or signs, please reach out to our Harmony Recovery NC team for assistance in treating your substance use disorder.

Some of the symptoms and signs of a mental health disorder can vary depending on which illness the person has, however, they might include:

  • Concentration issues
  • Confusion
  • Sleep issues
  • Eating issues 
  • Can’t function with daily tasks
  • Sex drive issues
  • Social isolation
  • Mood fluctuations ranging from lows to highs and everything in between
  • Exaggerated emotions including those of anger, fear, worry, and sadness
  • Unexplained physical discomfort and pain
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia 
  • Talking about suicide
  • Suicidal attempts

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder, please get the treatment you need from our Harmony Recovery NC team today.

If you are experiencing symptoms from both these lists, it is very possible that you could have a dual diagnosis disorder. Our Harmony Recovery NC team can diagnose you with this and treat these disorders, too. While treatment of dual diagnosis disorders is more complex than treating just an addiction or mental health disorder on its own, we have experience in doing this and we can help you starting right away. 

Let Harmony Recovery Center Treat Your Dual Diagnosis Disorder

Here at Harmony Recovery NC, we want to help anyone who is struggling with a mental health illness and/or an addiction. Whether you just have one of these or both, we have integrated, comprehensive and individualized treatment approaches for all of this. We can tailor your treatment and aftecare plan specifically to what you are going through. 

Our highly compassionate, experienced staff members can provide you with the structured, safe and supportive environment needed to recover from a mental health illness and addiction. In fact, many of our team members have personal experience with recovery, so they can better guide you throughout your recovery process, too.

Some of the treatments that we can offer to you, here at Harmony Recovery NC, include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychiatric evaluations
  • Medical assessments
  • Individualized treatments
  • Family therapy
  • Nutritional therapy
  • 12-step treatments
  • Outpatient and inpatient treatments
  • Life skills education

If you are ready to get the treatment you need for a dual diagnosis disorder, addiction or another mental health disorder, please contact us today here at Harmony Recovery NC.

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