According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, dual diagnosis is a term used to describe people with a mental health disorder who have coexisting problems with drugs and/or alcohol.
Recent studies suggest that nearly one-third of people with all mental illnesses and approximately one-half of people with severe mental illness, such as bipolar and schizophrenia, also experience substance abuse.
The relationship between the two is complex, and the treatment of people with co-occurring substance abuse and mental illness is more complicated than the treatment of either condition alone. Mental health professionals categorize those complexities in the following ways:
Residential treatment and sober living can be most helpful to getting and staying sober in this population. Only then can the healing really begin. Although people with mental illness face an uphill battle when fighting addiction, it is possible to heal. If you or someone you love is living with dual diagnosis, don’t wait to get them the help they need.