What's the difference between Dual Diagnosis and Co-Occurring Disorder?
The two terms are interchangeable, with both referring to people who have a substance abuse diagnosis as well as a mental illness such as depression, bipolar or anxiety.
Why is it important to know if someone who is abusing drugs or alcohol also has a form of mental illness?
The symptoms of mental illness can be very distressful leading many people to turn to substances as a form of self-medication. If properly diagnosed a psychiatrist can prescribe medication such as anti-depressants or mood stabilizers which, when combined with talk therapy, may alleviate the symptoms that precipitated their drug seeking behavior.
What is an Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental health diagnoses. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. Anxiety is a fear that one has when we have to do something stressful (e.g. take a test, go to the dentist). However, excessive, ongoing anxiety and worry that interfere with one’s everyday life may be indicative of an anxiety disorder.
What are the types of Anxiety Disorders?
There are many types of anxiety disorders. They include but are not limited to:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
What is the relationship between Anxiety Disorders and Substance Abuse/ Dependence?
Research has shown that people who are diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders are about twice as likely to suffer also from a drug use disorder (abuse or dependence) compared with people without one of these mental health disorders.
What are mood disorders?
Mood disorders, also known as affective disorders are, as the name implies, disturbances of mood ranging from very low depression to very elevated mania.
What are the types of mood disorders?
The following are some of the classified mood disorders:
- Major Depression
- Bipolar Disorder also known as Manic Depression
- Premenstral Dysphoric Disorder (PDD)
What is the relationship between mood disorders and substance abuse?
About 9% of people with substance abuse issues also have at least one mood disorder that is independent of the effect of the drug being abused. It is important for an accurate diagnosis as many symptoms of intoxication and withdrawal from alcohol and other substances resemble the symptoms of mood and/or anxiety disorders so the co-occurring mental health diagnosis could be easily overlooked (from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) Archives of General Psychiatry [Volume 61])
Why is the diagnosis of a mood and /or anxiety disorder important?
Research has shown that, left untreated, such disorders may lead to substance use relapse and other negative outcomes.
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