A dual diagnosis is challenging to treat. It can be challenging for family members to know where their loved one’s mental health disorder symptoms end and their substance abuse disorder begins. Because of this, it can be hard to determine what is causing the symptoms that a loved one is experiencing. To receive a proper diagnosis, the individual should see a healthcare professional trained and experienced in dual diagnosis treatment.
Some individuals begin using alcohol and drugs to cope with their mental health disorder symptoms. They may not understand what’s happening to them when symptoms start showing up. As a result, they may use different substances to self-medicate.
In other situations, the SUD exists first, and the mental disorder appears afterward. Alcohol or drug abuse can lead to or trigger mental illness in some individuals. Depression symptoms can be brought on by excessive or long-term alcohol or drug use.
Some individuals turn to drugs or alcohol when they’re feeling depressed to try and make themselves feel better. They may obtain a temporary lift, but the substance makes them feel worse. If a person with a dual diagnosis receives treatment in a program that’s not suited well to their needs, they may not recover.
Some problems that can arise when healthcare professionals don’t correctly address dual diagnosis include the following: