This type of relationship, with addictive substances and the mind, is defined as a dual diagnosis, where both conditions, symptoms and causations are known to drive one another. Such a relationship, in fact, is more common than many individuals will imagine, all down to the blurred line between both conditions.

It’s common for drug and alcohol abuse to materialise into low feelings or mood swings. Many individuals experiencing such side effects will put them down to the rollercoaster experience of addiction. However, for some of those individuals, side effects will be more than temporary emotions.

Those with pre-existing mental health issues will believe that drugs and alcohol are positive coping strategies. Their effects will be seen as positive, suppressing such symptoms for a short period of time. Yet, through clouded realities, through denial, and through enablement, many individuals are unknowingly living with a dual diagnosis.

Here at Nova Recovery, we’re pretty sure that the majority of our readers will ask ‘what is dual diagnosis?’, ‘how dangerous is a dual diagnosis?’, and ‘why must we treat a dual diagnosis?’.

If you’re unaware of such a relationship, keep reading, to understand how your mental health may be contributing to your addiction, and vice versa.


What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is the identification of two independent conditions, yet which entwine and impact one another. Surrounding both mental health issues and substance abuse, a dual diagnosis can materialise, all down to the vulnerabilities of the brain.

For example, someone who abuses excessive levels of drugs and alcohol, along with an addiction diagnosis, will experience mental adaptations. Chemicals in the brain will change, organic functionality will change, and messaging through the central nervous system will change.

Such change can cause low moods, reduced levels of happy chemicals, and the risk of developing fear, sadness or paranoia. With this in mind, the presence of drugs and alcohol can cause such vulnerabilities, that the natural response of such pressure will develop into symptoms of poor mental health.

Another example focuses on how those with depression or anxiety will rely on drugs and alcohol as an escape, an emotional support or a coping strategy. Pre-existing weaknesses will be present, where stabilisation will be lacking in the brain, causing heightened emotions, irrational thoughts and unclear outlooks.

However, through the toxic and addictive characteristics of such substances, those weaknesses can heighten, resulting in even greater mental pressures. The worry here is that users will not see the negatives of substance abuse and will instead believe that such a relationship is improving their mental health. When in fact, a dual diagnosis will amount as the result.

If you’re therefore wondering ‘what is a dual diagnosis?’, in short, it is a complex relationship surrounding the brain, its functionality and the presence that drugs and alcohol can have on mental capacity.


What can cause a Dual Diagnosis Disorder?

When focusing on the causation of mental health issues and/or addiction, there are a multitude of causes to consider. From environmental influences, to social pressures, to weaknesses in genetics, to excessive stress, to emotional strain and to significant change, there are many reasons as to why someone can suffer mentally or through substance abuse.

However, when considering the formation of a dual diagnosis disorder, drugs and alcohol seem to be the key causation in this relationship. For someone with pre-existing mental health issues, addictive substances will be seen as respite and as a way to improve symptoms. Those who choose to abuse drugs and alcohol, on an initial basis, will involuntarily enable an addiction. However, ongoing consumption will pose the risk of mental health deterioration.

Within this relationship, of a dual diagnosis, addictive substances are therefore the catalyst, for either enhancing pre-existing mental weaknesses, or for motivation the development of new symptoms.

A dual diagnosis is highly complex, is a deep disorder, and is dangerous if enabled and brushed under the carpet. A lack of control can heighten both sets of side effects, making addiction and mental health issues unbearable to live with alone, never mind in tandem. With this in mind, understand what a dual diagnosis is, your risk of such a relationship, and the cause of it is very important, along with accepting treatment.


Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment is necessary to unravel the mutual relationship between the mind and addictive substances. However, it’s also essential from an independent standpoint to promote recovery capabilities.

At Nova Recovery, we promote dual diagnosis treatment to help our clients heal from addiction, to help them stabilise their mind, and to help them find a happy medium between the management of both conditions. This approach to recovery is very important, to reduce the relapse risks linked to possible negative emotions, drug and alcohol exposure, and their mutual presence.


Therapy for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

To tackle an addiction, detoxification, along with therapeutic options of addiction therapy will be encouraged. To reach such recommendations, we will consider how your mind reacts to drugs and alcohol, soon followed by the recommendation of safe and effective treatment options. The likes of cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure therapy and art therapy are commonly recommended services.


Therapy for Mental Health issues

The recovery of mental health issues is commonly made through talking therapies. It’s very important to unlock the causation of such negative emotions, in order to revert outlooks, coping strategies and perceptions. Again, the likes of cognitive behavioural therapy and stress management will be promoted. Yet through a personalised form to focus on mental health restoration.

Combined together, dual diagnosis treatment can be completed, to help suppress both conditions, to help manage both side effects and to promote relapse prevention of each.

A dual diagnosis is highly complex, down to the uncontrollable relationship that drug and alcohol usage and their impact on the brain can create. However, through such complexities, with the right support, dual diagnosis treatment can be beneficial.

If you’re still wondering ‘what is dual diagnosis?’, contact our team, here to help you through your struggles, in a sustainable and safe way.

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