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What Are the Signs of Dual Diagnosis?

Distraught young man is consoled by therapist as she explains what are the signs of dual diagnosis

It’s incredibly common for people living with a substance abuse disorder to also struggle with a mental health concern and vice versa. In cases like this, the person is said to have a dual diagnosis, aka co-occurring disorders. While coping with this state of affairs can be incredibly challenging, the good news is that effective treatment is widely available. If you or your loved one could use help identifying dual diagnosis signs or needs dual diagnosis treatment, contact Ray Recovery today. Our friendly team members are standing by to assist you with answers to your questions and information about our Hudson, Ohio, clinic. Call 888.598.6299 or message us online to get started—we can answer any questions, verify your insurance, or give you more information about our programs and services.

What Are the Symptoms of a Dual Diagnosis?

While the signs of dual diagnosis vary by individual and by the types of substance or mental illness at play, there are nonetheless common symptoms to watch for. For example, if any of the following are present, it may be a good idea to ask for a professional evaluation for possible dual diagnosis:

  • You’ve become socially withdrawn from family or other supportive loved ones.
  • Your sleep cycle is disrupted, meaning you’re either sleeping too little or too much, potentially alternating between periods of both phenomena.
  • It’s very difficult to concentrate, and you may experience severe worry or tension.
  • Strong feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or despair are common for you.
  • It’s tough to maintain stable relationships due to rapidly shifting moods or energy levels or because your behavior is unpredictable.
  • You’ve experienced severe anxiety that you feel you can only manage by performing certain behaviors or rituals.
  • You have a history of trauma. For example, you witnessed a devastating event like a natural disaster or personally experienced a harrowing experience like childhood abuse or sexual assault.
  • There have been dramatic shifts in your appetite or weight.
  • You’ve tried drug or alcohol treatment, such as a 12-step, in the past, but your recovery was incomplete or didn’t stick because your mental health remained problematic.
  • Although you’ve received mental health treatment, such as one-on-one therapy, you’ve continued to abuse substances.

Substance Use and Mental Illness – a ‘Chicken or the Egg’ Quandary

Co-occurring disorders’ origins can be mysterious and complex. A person may start off with a mental health issue and then begin abusing drugs or alcohol as a way to “self-medicate.” This may be especially likely if they cannot access healthcare due to finances, stigma, lack of knowledge, or a combination of reasons.

In other cases, a person with a substance use disorder develops a mental health issue as a result. Many mental illnesses are linked to both genetic and environmental factors. Sometimes, substance use thus acts as a determinant, tipping an individual over the edge into illness. The sad reality is that substance use can change brain physiology substantially. This can give it the power to worsen or even trigger mental illness.

Finally, individuals may develop a substance use disorder and mental illness around the same time and in response to the same stimulus. For example, severe trauma such as living through a mass shooting event could trigger both problem drinking and post-traumatic stress disorder. As in all cases of co-occurring disorders, however, individuals can substantially recover through proper treatment.

The most effective method behavioral health providers have found for working with co-occurring disorders is simultaneous treatment. Gone are the days when clinicians believed clients needed to be treated for one issue before the other could be addressed. Rather, it’s been shown repeatedly that clients stand the best odds of lasting recovery when the same provider or team of providers attend to both their substance use and mental health concerns simultaneously. At qualified treatment centers like Ray Recovery, precisely this form of wrap-around dual diagnostic care is available.

Get Help Identifying Signs of Dual Diagnosis and Start Treatment with Ray Recovery Today

Why wait to pursue quality care for dual diagnosis of substance use and mental illness? The caring and knowledgeable team at Ray Recovery is standing by to assist you with your questions and enrollment needs. Call us today at 888.598.6299 or reach out online to begin the recovery journey now.