Symptoms & Signs of Dual Diagnosis & Co-Occurring Disorders A dual diagnosis indicates the presence of substance abuse in tandem with a mental health disorder. It\u2019s also known as \u201cco-occurring disorders.\u201d The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that\u00a07.9 million Americans experience co-occurring disorders. In addition, dual diagnosis can involve any addictive substance and any form of mental disorder. What Is a Substance Use Disorder? Those with substance use disorders engage in compulsive use of addictive substances. The long list of these substances includes: \tAlcohol \tIllegal drugs (heroin,\u00a0cocaine,\u00a0methamphetamine, etc.) \tPrescribed medications\u00a0(opioid painkillers,\u00a0attention deficit disorder\u00a0medications,\u00a0benzodiazepines, etc.) Additionally, addiction can cause chemical changes in the brain that result in chemical dependency. Also, this usually means that going without the drug causes harsh withdrawal symptoms. Substance-Related Symptoms The symptoms of substance abuse depend on the type of substance you\u2019re addicted to, but common problems include: \tRepeated use of a substance, even in high-risk situations \tIsolation from family, friends or other support networks \tSudden changes in attitude or behavior \tIncreased\u00a0tolerance\u00a0to the effects of drugs or alcohol \tThe onset of withdrawal symptoms when substance use stops or decreases \tStrong cravings for a given substance \tDifficulty maintaining normal functioning in work, school or family life \tSpending a significant amount of time or effort obtaining a substance You should also note what your friends and family say about your behavior. Also, sometimes loved ones can see signs a person struggling with addiction cannot. If your family and friends tell you they notice a problem with your drug or alcohol use, take them seriously. Mental Illnesses Associated with Substance Abuse Substance abuse can cause mental illness when effects of the substances, like depressed nervous system function, affect brain chemistry. Some combinations of disorders are more common than others, like: \tBipolar disorder\u00a0and alcoholism\u00a0\u2013 People experiencing a manic episode may misuse alcohol as a result of poor judgment and lowered inhibitions. Alcohol also may be used to cope with the symptoms of a depressive episode. \tAnxiety disorders and benzodiazepine addiction\u00a0\u2013 Benzos like\u00a0Xanax\u00ae\u00a0are often prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. Addiction occurs when the drug isn\u2019t taken as prescribed. This is typically done to increase the drug\u2019s effects or when seeking a \u201chigh.\u201d \tMajor depressive disorder and cocaine addiction\u00a0\u2013 Stimulants like meth or cocaine may counteract the lethargy that depression produces. They may give you a rush of energy and \u201cfeel good\u201d chemicals. This combination is particularly dangerous because the come-down can result in worse depression than before. \tEating disorders\u00a0and methamphetamine addiction\u00a0\u2013 Eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia cause an unhealthy preoccupation with your weight and body image. People with eating disorders sometimes turn to meth because it suppresses their appetite. On meth, users may go several days without feeling hunger. Mental-Health-Related Symptoms Each mental disorder produces its own unique set of symptoms. There are\u00a0four mental health conditions\u00a0most commonly associated with substance abuse: \tAnxiety disorders \tMajor depression \tSchizophrenia \tPersonality disorders Let\u2019s examine a few signs and symptoms of each and explain their connection to addictions. Anxiety Disorders Examples of\u00a0anxiety disorders\u00a0are\u00a0social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Also, a few symptoms they have in common are: \tFeeling restless and on-edge \tSleep problems\u2014typically trouble falling and staying asleep \tExcessive and uncontrollable worry \tMuscle tension \tHeart palpitations or racing heartbeat People with anxiety are more likely to take \u201cdowners\u201d to feel calm or relaxed. These could include: \tAlcohol \tMarijuana \tHeroin They might use to get through social situations or to sleep. They may simply want a break from relentless worry. Major Depressive Disorder The most common symptom of\u00a0major depression is a persistent feeling of sadness and numbness. In addition, other major depression symptoms include: \tDaily fatigue or loss of energy \tImpaired concentration and indecisiveness \tInsomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day \tLess interest or pleasure in almost all activities \tRecurring thoughts of death or suicide \tSignificant weight loss or gain Those with depression may turn to alcohol and drugs to numb their emotional pain. They may wish to \u201cfeel something\u201d again. It may also use to get to sleep or stay awake or in an attempt to control other symptoms of depression. They tend to use \u201cuppers\u201d like ADHD medication and cocaine. Schizophrenia Schizophrenia\u00a0is a disorder characterized by hallucinations (sensing things that aren\u2019t there) and delusions (beliefs not based on reality). Other symptoms include: \tConfused thinking \tDisorganized and nonsensical speech \tJumpiness or movement disorders \tTrouble concentrating \tWithdrawing from family and friends \tPoor hygiene Alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, and marijuana are the most common form of substance abuse among those with schizophrenia. In addition, substances may be used to escape the stress and fear associated with schizophrenia. Personality Disorders Personality disorders are characterized by a pattern of viewing the world that\u2019s different than what society expects. This results in unhealthy behaviors and attitudes that are inflexible and resistant to change. In addition, each personality disorder is completely unique. Here are a few examples: \tSchizoid personality disorder\u00a0\u2013 This disorder involves detachment from relationships and limited expression of emotion. \tAntisocial personality disorder\u00a0\u2013 People with this disorder typically lack empathy. They have an extremely difficult time relating to others and may show a pattern of disregard or violation of others\u2019 rights. \tBorderline personality disorder (BPD)\u00a0\u2013 Clients with BPD have low levels of distress tolerance and self-esteem. In addition, this results in instability in relationships and impulsivity. \tHistrionic personality disorder\u00a0\u2013 Excessive attention-seeking behavior and exaggerated emotional expression are associated with this personality disorder. People with personality disorders tend to use marijuana, alcohol, and opioids more than those in the general population. Also, many drugs negate or decrease the effectiveness of antidepressants. What Are the Treatment Options for Dual Diagnosis? Dual diagnoses are best addressed through an integrated treatment plan. This means receiving care for both disorders at the same time. Otherwise, the effects of one may quickly lead to a relapse of the other. Highly effective treatments for dual diagnoses are: \tCognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) \u2013 This involves learning about how thoughts, feelings, and actions influence each other. Also, clients learn skills to interrupt these patterns. In addition, this results in better management of their symptoms and better control over their behavior. \tMedications \u2013 Antidepressants can be very effective for anxiety, depression and personality disorders. Also, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics are effective for those with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. \tSupport groups\u00a0\u2013 Many people learn and practice new skills in support groups. They can find hope through a community of peers who understand what they\u2019re going through. Support groups may include 12-step groups like\u00a0Alcoholics Anonymous\u00ae\u00a0or\u00a0Narcotics Anonymous\u00ae.\u00a0The National Alliance on Mental Illness\u00ae\u00a0(NAMI) is a great resource for locating support groups for specific diagnoses. If you suspect you or a loved one suffers from co-occurring disorders, it\u2019s important to start with an assessment. In addition, the most effective mental health and addiction treatment depend heavily on the outcomes of a thorough evaluation. Also, successful recovery can completely shift how you live your life and interact with people around you. In conclusion, Promises addiction treatment center offers dual diagnosis treatment that encompasses therapy, medications and support groups. In addition, we\u2019ll help you with detox, if needed, and assess your symptoms to match you with a program best suited to your needs. Also, we pride ourselves on our integrated treatment approach. Call us today at for a free consultation.