DUAL DIAGNOSIS – REMOVING THE MASK ON MENTAL ILLNESS
Millions of Americans are suffering in silence and hiding behind masks made of fear, shame, and rejection. They cover this shame with drugs and alcohol. According to dualdiagnosis.org, “almost 17.5 million Americans suffer from a mental health disorder.” According to a survey conducted by the National Alliance for Mental Illness, “7.9 million people in the U.S. experience both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse problem simultaneously.” This is most commonly known as dual-diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Dual diagnosis is when a person has a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder and is also experiencing a problem with alcohol and/or drugs. Sometimes people may use drugs or alcohol to cover up the symptoms of undiagnosed mental health disorders. When you are unable to identify the cause of pain, you may try to numb the symptoms as a temporary solution and this is a recipe for disaster.
For example, if a person has dealt with racing thoughts because of mania from bipolar disorder, they may drink to suppress those thoughts. If a person has dealt with severe depression and anxiety they may self-medicate thinking that this will calm their mind, but instead are making things worse. None of these solutions deal with the root issues, which leaves them untreated and undiagnosed for an extended period. It is a very vicious cycle for the mind, body, and soul. A person with a dual diagnosis has two separate issues and they need to be treated as so. Dual diagnosis does not mean recovery isn’t possible, it just means you must address both problems equally but also separately. Your mental health must play as vital of a role as your substance abuse issue.
How do you know if you or someone you love is suffering from dual diagnosis? Below you will find a few signs/symptoms that may occur:
Dual Diagnosis Symptoms:
Withdrawal from friends and family
Sudden changes in behavior
Extreme mood swings or inability to control their emotions.
Insomnia or hypersomnia
Extended periods of profound sadness
Engaging in risky behaviors
Loss of control over the use of substances
Developing a high tolerance and withdrawal symptoms
Feeling like you need a drug to be able to function
Using drugs or alcohol to escape psychological problems
If you or a loved one may be suffering from a dual diagnosis disorder or addiction, I encourage you to seek treatment today. Please contact an addiction specialist at 606.638.0938 or use our confidential chat function at www.arccenters.com. We are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Kentucky State-Certified Peer Support Specialist
Addiction Recovery Care