Recognizing a Dual Diagnosis

Posted on: January 8, 2021 by in Dual Diagnosis
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Recognizing a dual diagnosis can be difficult. It can take time to figure out what part is attributed to mental health disorder and what might be the drug or alcohol problem.

Here are some general questions to ask yourself if you think you are experiencing a co-occurring disorder:

  • Do you use alcohol or drugs to cope with memories or feelings, to control pain, to help with your moods, or to help you stay focused on tasks?
  • Have you noticed a relationship between your mental health and your substance abuse?
  • Do you know anyone in your family that has experienced or is experiencing substance abuse or mental health disorders?
  • Do you have feelings of depression or anxiety when you are sober?
  • Have you previously been treated for either a mental health disorder or substance abuse?

Dual Diagnosis Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms can vary depending on what substance is being abused and the type of mental health problem you are experiencing. Some of the most common co-occurring mental health problems are depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. These are accompanied by prescription medication abuse, recreational drug usage, and/or alcohol abuse and the effects those substances have on your life.

Treatment for a Dual Diagnosis

If you have any issues with any of the disorders or substances, it is time to investigate treatment. Treatments tend to have an integrated approach, where both substance abuse and mental health disorder are treated at the same time. Long-term recovery can be reached by focusing on your specific issues:

  • Treatment options for mental health disorders include: medication, counseling, self-help, lifestyle changes, and more
  • Treatment for substance abuse include: detox, management of withdrawal symptoms, therapy, support groups, and more


Keep in mind that there is always hope. Both issues are treatable. Recovery may take time, but it can happen. If you or a loved one is having any difficulty with mental health and substance abuse, seek help from a medical professional who can create a personalized treatment plan to see yourself or a loved one on the road to recovery.

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