In many dual diagnosis cases, the underlying disorder could often play a role in fueling a person’s addiction, and may even worsen the abuse or make it very difficult to fully overcome in the long-term.
Traditional rehabilitation programs often focus on the addiction and substance abuse without fully taking into account these underlying disorders that are often part of the cause.
Some of the most common mental disorders linked to substance abuse include:
- Bipolar Disorder and other personality disorders (narcissistic, borderline, etc.)
- Trauma or PTSD
- Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
Unfortunately many of these co-occurring mental disorders go undiagnosed, which often leads to cycles of substance abuse and addiction as a way to cope with the negative effects.
For example, a person suffering from depression may use alcohol as a means to escape the effects of depression. However, this form of self-medication often only provides temporary benefits, resulting in increased tolerance and use. This cycle can eventually become extremely difficult to stop and as the substance abuse continues, can lead to problems with withdrawals, deteriorating health, and even death.
This is why it is especially important to address both factors when a dual diagnosis is present. If the co-occurring disorder is not properly treated with a person’s addiction, there is a much lower chance of success and a greater risk of relapse.