Dual Diagnosis: Tips to Know if You Have Co-Occurring Disorders

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that almost 50% of people diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder also struggle with a mental illness. This affects more than 20 million people in the United States. If you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, there’s a good chance you are also struggling with a mental illness.

Do I have a dual diagnosis?

To really know if you could be dually diagnosed, you may want to consult with a mental health professional for an evaluation. However, there are some common signs to determine if you may be struggling with dual diagnosis. Today, let’s take a look at five:

  1. You’re extra concerned that you may have a mental health disorder

Chances are if you are struggling with a mental health disorder, you already know it deep down. Whether it’s depression, anxiety, etc., drinking or drugging to combat such feelings may have become a habit long ago. You just may not want to really believe it and hear the news from a healthcare professional.

  1. You struggle in everyday life

You notice that your emotions are all over the place. You may be fine one minute and the next you’re yelling at your coworker. Or you find yourself isolating from everyone or having financial issues. You may even have a tough time holding down a job. Such issues may be arising from a disorder that is going undiagnosed.

  1. You’ve experienced some sort of trauma

You may have experienced trauma or neglect as a child or adult and this has triggered substance abuse. You may have stuffed your emotions since childhood, turning to substances to try to cope with the negative feelings. The trauma may have caused disorders like depression, anxiety disorder, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, and more.

  1. You feel more normal using substances

If you feel more normal when you’re drinking or using drugs, you may be struggling with your emotional stability without them. This happens a lot when people self-medicate. They think that by drinking or drugging they are coping with life better, but really they are simply masking and avoiding the real issues underneath the addiction.

  1. You attended a 12 Step program, but it didn’t work

12 Step programs work for many people, but maybe they didn’t work for you. This may be because the 12 Step groups tend to only focus on overcoming or managing the addiction; not the mental illness.

There’s a good chance that you may be dealing with dual diagnoses. The best way to find out is to make an appointment with a mental health counselor. Good news is that both substance abuse and mental health disorders can be treated. Many people go on to live happy, successful lives. If you are struggling, reach out for help today.