An individual with dual diagnosis has both a problem with drugs or/and alcohol together with a mental disorder.
A lot of people who abuse alcohol and drugs also experience mental illness, and a lot of people who have mental illness experience problems with substance abuse.
Research has indicated that almost a third of individuals with all mental illnesses and about a half of individuals with severe mental illnesses experience substance abuse as well. On the other hand, over a third of all alcohol abusers and over a half of all drug abusers are struggling with mental illness as well.
- Alcohol and drugs can be a kind of self-medication, and in such instances, individuals who have mental illness could have conditions like depression or anxiety that might temporarily be eased when the individual is high on alcohol or drugs. However, abuse of these substances doesn’t treat the underlying condition and usually makes it worse.
- Alcohol and drugs can aggravate an underlying mental illness, which can happen both during withdrawal from a substance and during acute intoxication.
- Alcohol and drugs can result an individual free of mental illness to experience the onset of symptoms for the 1st time.
Mental illness is always aggravated by alcohol and drug abuse, and of major concern is that individuals abusing alcohol and drugs are more likely to attempt suicide and also to die from suicide attempts.
People with mental illness who are actively abusing alcohol or drugs are more unlikely to achieve lasting sobriety.
According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 8.9 million individuals have dual diagnosis with only 7.4% receiving treatment for both conditions and 55.8% not receiving treatment at all.