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Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis: Substance Abuse & Mental Illness

Someone with a dual diagnosis has both a substance abuse illness along with an emotional or psychiatric disorder. We understand the difficult rehabilitation problems that are associated with a dual diagnosis and is professionally prepared to handle such matters.

A dual diagnosis is actually much more prevalent than one realizes. Recent statistics show that up to 65.5% of individuals with a substance abuse disorder have at least one mental health disorder. This research has led many medical professionals to begin accepting the problem of dual diagnosis as being far more common than previously thought among those with substance abuse issues. Common mental health conditions related to the dual diagnosis may include depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, just to name a few.

Drugs and alcohol can be a form of self-medication. In such cases, people with mental illness may have untreated—or incompletely treated—conditions (such as anxiety or depression) that may “feel less painful” when the person is high on drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, while drugs and alcohol may feel good in the moment, abuse of these substances doesn’t treat the underlying condition and—almost without exception—makes it worse.

Drugs and alcohol can worsen underlying mental illnesses. This can happen both during acute intoxication (e.g., a person with depression becomes suicidal in the context of drinking alcohol) and during withdrawal from a substance (e.g., a person with panic attacks experiences worsening symptoms during heroin withdrawal).

It is extremely important to identify and find a dual diagnosis treatment as well as the treating the substance abuse issues. If the emotional or psychological issue is not addressed during the substance abuse treatment, the chances of relapse are much higher.

At The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services of Central Florida, we are well versed in treating the dual diagnosis and have qualified counselors on staff. While many recovery centers focus on only the physical effects of substance abuse, Dr. Frank Haberle Drake places emphasis on treating the mind as well as the body.

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