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Understanding the Dual Diagnosis: The Connection between Addiction and Mental Health

Coping with life’s difficulties means something different for each one of us, as we construct our own methods and systems to keep our minds off our problems, motivate us to go on, or deal with intense feelings that leave us drained, confused, angry, or upset. In the following article, we will discuss a commonly occurring situation: dual diagnosis.

What Does Dual Diagnosis Mean?

Dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders, is defined by the coexistence of different disorders affecting someone on multiple levels. In this particular case, we are discussing the occurrence of mental health disorders at the same time as substance abuse or addiction.

Diagnosed by a professional or not, these two issues can feed one another and they invariably get worse if left untreated. If you or a loved one suspect the coexistence of mental health issues with addiction, seek the needed help as soon as possible.

Why Are Addiction and Mental Health Issues So Strongly Correlated?

While this connection comes as common knowledge in our society, it helps to better understand the underlying causes of this correlation. The reason why people who suffer from mental disorders also abuse substances cannot be put into a simple theory. There can be many varying factors, but, most commonly, these mechanisms come into place:

  • Patients try to medicate their mental illness by using relaxers or stimulants like prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, or nicotine. The episodes when they are under the influence give them a false feeling of control and security.
  • As substance abuse continues, the dose necessary to numb the negative feelings and behaviors becomes bigger and bigger. As a result, patients get tangled in an addiction that is increasingly harder to overcome without professional help.
  • As mental health issues are “fixed” through self-medication, they only get worse with time, as substance abuse doesn’t treat the underlying issues in the way medical treatment does.

These are only the most common examples of how this mechanism works. In reality, there are many nuances, variables, and circumstances that should be taken into consideration.

In every individual case, there are things to be considered: the severity of the diagnosed issues, having a support system, being able to go through detox or rehab without sabotaging interventions, having a chance at recovering after the initial treatment.

It might take months or even years before someone struggling with a dual diagnosis fully reclaims their self, their life, and their control. But the bottom line is, no matter what the circumstances are, when having two severe co-occurring disorders a person needs structured, specialized, long-term help.

Get Help for Your Mental Health Issue and Addiction Now!

If you are going through this or know someone who does, don’t hesitate to take the first step towards recovery and contact someone who can provide expert help.

Call Rehab Cape Town today on 021 790 7779.

Contact Rehab Cape Town via e-mail at info@ixande.co.za

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