Dual Diagnosis- The Relationship Between Drug Addiction and Mental Illness

Dual diagnosis is a relatively new concept that emerged about twenty years ago. Unfortunately, the concept has not been fully understood by most medical establishments considering that it emerged a few years ago. The idea is quite simple, and a dual diagnosis treatment has proven to be incredibly effective in cases where it has been applied. 

What Is A Dual Diagnosis? 

Dual diagnosis refers to a technique used by medical practitioners to treat people who are suffering from both a psychiatric disorder and drug addiction. For instance, an individual could be addicted to alcohol, drugs, or gambling and yet have mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and many more. 

In many cases, it is difficult to determine which problem came first. For some individuals, it could be the psychiatric illness that caused the individual to turn to substance addiction, while in others, it could be drug abuse that brought about the mental illness. If an individual has a psychiatric condition, drug abuse could worsen the symptoms. 

An individual with a dual diagnosis needs two separate systems to treat drug addiction and mental illness. But unfortunately, most of these cases remain undiagnosed and untreated, and the affected individuals are likely to relapse to drug use even after completing a rehabilitation program. Understanding the relationship between drug addiction, mental illness and various types of co-occurring disorders can help the affected person to receive concurrent treatment and begin their recovery immediately. 

Drug Addiction and Mental Health 

You are probably aware that certain medical condition seems to come in pairs. For instance, most of the people who are diagnosed with allergy are also likely to be diagnosed with asthma. Also, most of the people with heart disease are likely to be diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes. Likewise, drug addiction and mental health seem to have a similar relationship. Some of the most common combinations include: 

Anxiety Disorders with Cocaine Addiction 

Cocaine is known for its euphoric effects. Most of those who use cocaine report to feeling powerful after taking the drug. However. Continued use of cocaine results to other symptoms that points to anxiety disorder. These symptoms include hallucinations, paranoia, suspiciousness, violence, and insomnia. For some people, these symptoms can disappear after staying away from drugs for some years, while in others the symptoms may linger around even after staying sober for many years. 

Schizophrenia and Marijuana Addiction 

A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry indicates that nearly half of individuals with schizophrenia develop addictions to drugs. It is unclear why individuals with schizophrenia chose marijuana considering that it produces the same symptoms that are produced during a schizophrenic episode. 

Depression and heroin addiction 

While heroin can make an individual to feel elated in the short term, continued use can destroy portions of the brain that are responsible for producing dopamine. Such individuals may not experience pleasure unless the drug is present. Thankfully, the problem can be rectified by following certain treatment regimens and staying sober. Numerous other co-occurring disorders exist, and they need experts to diagnose and treat.

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