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Dual Diagnoses

Co-Occuring Disorders

It is not at all uncommon for people to struggle with both an addiction and a mental health disorder at the same time. When this happens, they are often referred to as having a “dual diagnosis.” This means that they have at least two conditions occurring at the same time and interacting with one other. These are also sometimes called co-occurring disorders or comorbidities.
For example, a person who has a social anxiety disorder may turn to alcohol as a way to help ease the symptoms that result from that condition. However, self-medicating in this way often only serves to make the problems worse. The underlying issues of the social anxiety disorder are left unaddressed, and the alcohol problem gets worse as the person becomes more reliant on it to cope.
Or, alternately, someone who has a habit of binge drinking may develop depression as a result of alcohol’s effects on their brain and their behavior.
A few conditions that most commonly occur alongside drug addictions include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Too often, a patient’s treatment will be focused primarily on one disorder. Sacred Hearts believe that leaving co-occurring conditions unaddressed increases the risk for relapse. Dual diagnoses often feed off of one another, so when left untreated, the symptoms of one condition can jump-start the symptoms of another.

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