Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis in Mental Health Treatment │ Valor Behavioral Health

Approximately 9.2 million adults [cb1] in the United States have a co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder. 

Dual diagnosis is a term that is often misunderstood. Some people believe that dual diagnosis refers to the disorders that occur in tandem. While that’s not completely untrue, the medical community uses the term to refer to a diagnosis in patients with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder.

What is a dual diagnosis in mental health treatment?

Dual Diagnoses are more common than most think and can have severe adverse reactions on both mental and physical health for both the patient and their loved ones. 

Dual diagnosis occurs in patients with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. Dual diagnosis is also known as co-occurring disorders.

Does one condition cause the other?

While a dual diagnosis is quite common among people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders, they don’t necessarily cause one another directly. 

Over 60% of adolescents [cb2] in community-based substance use disorder treatment programs also meet the diagnostic criteria of a mental health condition as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). 

Those using illicit substances could experience symptoms of a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety – both of which are common side effects of substance abuse.

Alternatively, people with existing mental health conditions could start abusing substances to cope with their mental health condition. 

Common Mental Health Disorders Associated with Dual Diagnosis

People dealing with a complex mental health disorder might also struggle with substance abuse. This can be a very dangerous combination because it can lead to a potentially life-threatening dual diagnosis.

Some common mental health disorders that are associated with substance use disorders include:

  • Clinical Depression
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Eating Disorders

Of course, these are only a handful of the potential mental health disorders associated with a dual diagnosis. It’s vital that you never try to self-diagnose yourself or a loved one.

Reclaim Your Best Self

When To Seek Help 

If you think you or someone you know may have a dual diagnosis, know that help is available and seek professional help. 

A qualified mental health professional can help you or your loved one to get an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. If you’re already receiving treatment for a mental health disorder, tell your mental health professional about it. They can then work with you to determine if you have a dual diagnosis.

Mental Health Treatment with Valor Behavioral Health

A dual diagnosis is a difficult thing to deal with, but you are not alone.

Valor Behavioral Health is here to help you every step of the way. 

We offer comprehensive mental health treatment services to meet your unique needs. We understand how difficult it can be to deal with a dual diagnosis, and we are here to help you embrace your mental health with courage.