Mental illness and substance abuse can overwhelm those affected and their loved ones. Having both problems poses even bigger challenges. Here’s what you should know.

Dual Diagnosis: Why Substance Abuse Worsens Your Mental Health

In this article we will discuss dual diagnosis and explain some of its causes. Dual diagnosis occurs when an individual experiences substance abuse and mental illness simultaneously and, when, these conditions are found to coexist frequently: “We see a large overlap between substance use disorders and mental health issues,” says psychiatrist Mohsen Vazirian, MD. “For example, substance use disorders are twice as common in those diagnosed with anxiety or depression than they are in the general population.”

It’s thought that individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, are more likely to deal with their symptoms by turning to drugs or alcohol in an attempt at self-medication.

In addition, evidence suggests that drug use can be a primary cause of mental illness. As such, “Chronic marijuana use is linked to schizophrenia, for example. Also, methamphetamine use increases the susceptibility to psychosis.”

Addiction should be treated as a disease and not as a personal failure, and genetics can greatly increase an individual’s susceptibility to both addiction and mental health conditions. External factors, such as chronic stress, also increase the likelihood of turning to self-medication with alcohol and drugs.

When dealing with dual diagnosis, it’s imperative to find a substance abuse facility that can identify if mental health conditions are present. And if seeking help for mental health conditions, look for mental health professionals who are also able to diagnose and treat substance abuse.

Often, those suffering from mental illness or addiction find it difficult to seek help; moreover, having a dual diagnosis can increase that difficulty. Solid support from family and friends becomes even more vital to aid in recovery, and groups such as Al-Anon and Families Anonymous can assist loved ones with providing appropriate support, and can help them to cope with their own stress. To learn more about how dual diagnoses can be overcome through treatment, see the source article at the Cleveland Clinic website.

For more information about how Hayver can help with substance abuse recovery, including our Circle of Support, based on connections to family and friends, contact us at info(at) for more information.