psychologist talking with depressed patient about mental condition, what is dual diagnosis

What is Dual Diagnosis?

What is dual diagnosis, and how does it affect someone with the diagnosis? Many people likely have no idea what it is. Nor do they know the effect that it has on the life of the person with the disorder. The Ranch PA‘s team of professionals understands you have questions. Also, we know you want the ideal treatment. You are not alone if you need dual diagnosis treatment. The Ranch PA staff provides unique, comprehensive treatment services at one location.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

The term ‘dual diagnosis‘ is often used interchangeably with the term ‘co-occurring disorders.’ Dual diagnosis occurs when a person has a diagnosis of one or more substance use disorders, along with one or more mental health disorders. Although they occur together, one disorder may differ in severity, compared to the other disorder.

Psychology Today provides an example of how some people are at a high risk of developing an increased risk of alcohol addiction when they have certain co-occurring mental health disorders.  Some mental health disorders that lead to the potential for having a co-occurring alcohol use disorder include:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder or borderline personality disorder
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression

There are other mental health disorders related to an increased risk of dual diagnosis, occurring with alcohol or other drugs, such as opioids. There is no way to tell which of the dual diagnosis disorders occurred first. Some people have signs of mental illness first, while others exhibit signs of the substance use disorder first.

Prevalence and Symptoms

Do not feel that you are alone if you have a dual diagnosis disorder. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) explains that a national survey in 2018 revealed that more than nine million people in the U.S. have a dual diagnosis disorder.

The Ranch Treatment Centers caring staff members understand the prevalence of dual diagnosis disorders, and the fact that in spite of the high numbers of people with the diagnosis, there are still people that ask, ‘What is dual diagnosis?’ When you struggle with both addiction and mental health issues and turn to our professional, empathetic team, we help you understand dual diagnosis. We help you understand that you are not alone, and help you receive the comprehensive treatment that you need, based on your diagnosis and symptoms.

There are a variety of symptoms, some of which vary from one individual to another, based on the specific conditions, and the severity of the disorders.

Some warning signs include worsening symptoms of either the mental health disorder or the substance use disorder, such as:

  • Confused thinking
  • Extreme mood changes or other sudden behavioral changes
  • Self-medicating by drinking or using other drugs to suppress the mental health symptoms
  • Engaging in drug use under dangerous or risky conditions
  • Withdrawing from family and friends or having difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Demonstrating extreme emotional highs or lows

There are other possible symptoms, including feeling like you need the drugs to maintain your ability to function. Also, there is displaying aggression, irritability, or anger more often, particularly when not using alcohol or other drugs.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment Like?

Some facilities require you to receive treatment for your substance abuse before they treat you for your mental health disorder. But the Ranch PA’s highly-qualified staff knows that the best treatment involves a comprehensive, integrated treatment program. This approach is backed by reputable sources that tout the integrated treatment approach for co-occurring disorders, including Medline Plus, a publication of the National Institutes of Health.

Get the comprehensive, individualized treatment that you need, and start on your path to recovery. Contact us at 717.969.9126 and take back control over your life today.

Scroll to Top