Going through addiction treatment in the right recovery program is of the utmost importance. As such, if a person has a dual diagnosis, they need to ensure that they get the correct dual diagnosis treatment for their condition.
A dual diagnosis refers to a person who is suffering from two distinct conditions at the same time. When a person is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, dual diagnosis refers to having both the addiction and a mental health disorder (also known as a mood disorder).
It is important to keep in mind that being dual diagnosed only refers to the fact that a person has two conditions at once. The term does not necessarily indicate whether or not one of the conditions came before the other or that one caused the other. This may very well be the case, but it can go either way. This means that an addiction can come first and/or cause a mental health disorder and vice versa. The biggest focus should be on overcoming both conditions rather on the causation or sequencing of their development.
Addictions and Mental Health Disorders
Any addiction can occur alongside any mental health disorder. However, there are some combinations that occur far more frequently than others. Some of these include:
Depression and Alcohol Addiction
Depression affects millions upon millions of people in the United States every year. It is a mental health disorder that causes a person to feel overwhelming and abject sadness for prolonged periods of time as well as extreme feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, physical aches and pains, and exhaustion and lethargy.
When a person suffers from depression and they have an addiction, that addiction is often to alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant, but the reason that it so often goes along with depression is that alcohol also triggers the brain to release dopamine, a chemical that makes a person feel content and creates feelings of pleasure.
Anxiety and Marijuana Addiction
Anxiety is by far and away the most prevalent mental health disorder in the United States today. There are 40 million people 18 or older in the United States who suffer from anxiety according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Anxiety is a mental health disorder that is characterized by perpetual and intense fear, worry, and panic, an inability to relax or calm down, rapid breathing, fast heartbeat, and insomnia.
When a person suffers from anxiety as well as an addiction, they are often addicted to marijuana or other central nervous system depressants. Marijuana is a drug that can make a person feel relaxed and calm and even euphoric and content. However, marijuana can also cause a person to feel paranoid and even more worried and anxious.