If you have experienced or suffered from a mental illness and a substance use at the same time, there is a high chance that you possess a certain condition commonly known as a dual diagnosis. Also known as a co-occuring disorder, a dual diagnosis is a phrase that describes a person exhibiting a mental disorder, a substance abuse problem, or a combination of both.
A person may suffer from this severe condition if that person displays the most common coping mechanism of self-medication in order to alleviate the symptoms of a pre-existing mental illness. Provided that the mental illness is still not treated right away, this particular scenario will eventually lead to excessive substance use, thus showing a connection between the two disorders. To make matters worse, it is extremely difficult to ascertain if a dual diagnosis is taking place within an individual.
Fortunately, dual diagnosis can still be administered as long as the correct approach is employed cautiously. Majority of mental health professionals utilise an integrated method of remedying both mental illness and substance abuse simultaneously. Any mental health problem accompanied by substance abuse can be treated through proper medication, peer support, and drastic changes to lifestyle. Substance abuse treatment, on the other hand, may consist of going through scheduled behavioural therapy sessions, withdrawing abruptly, and participating in any support group that teaches and promotes abstinence.
Never lose hope, have faith, and trust in the fact that both mental illness and substance abuse are treatable. Just do your best to stay sober while the treatment is in progress.