We all know that drug addiction was a HUGE issue for us. But, I bet it comes as a surprise that many of us, if not the majority of us also suffer from a mental health issue. It’s called dual diagnosis which means that you have two separate disorders, both mental health and addiction. Each illness, both the mental health and addiction need to have their own treatment in order to be successful in being a complete and total badass.
Seriously, this is much more common than you would ever think. According to DualDiagnosis.org, almost 9 million Americans are affected by this every year. Did you hear me correctly? 9 million per year! Holy Shit! DualDiagnosis.org states that there are over 14 million US cases of mental health and addiction.
Which came first? The chicken or the egg?
Let’s say you are dual diagnosed. You didn’t even know this until you went to a rehabilitation center to kick your addiction. You find out that you have both mental health and addiction issues. So which came first? Your mental health disorder? Or your substance abuse order?
To be honest, it depends on the person. We know that using drugs or any type of chemical alters our cognitive ability and will agitate a mental health disorder. While others have mental health disorders and choose to use drugs to feel better. Yet, using substances causes a bunch of symptoms and signs of mental illness. Mental health and addiction go hand in hand.
Yet, just because you are a drug addict does not mean you have any other type of mental health issues. It’s the same for mental health. You do not have to use and abuse drugs both illegal and prescribed to diminish the symptoms of your mental illness.
Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis
Dual diagnosis also is known as a co-occurring disorder which in laymen’s terms is having both mental health and addiction disorders. (FYI – I hate the word laymen, it makes me feel so stupid so, I will try to never have to use it again. I could use common people which still doesn’t sound right. How about a non-celebrity or ordinary people?)
Are you dual diagnosed or do you have no clue? Take a look at some of the symptoms that people with mental health and addiction have.
- Family history of mental illness
- Family history of substance abuse
- Feeling empty and incomplete without the use of drugs
- Continuously engaging in risky behaviors such as driving under the influence, cheating, constant lying
- Feeling that you need drugs in order to perform everyday activities
- Deciding that all productive responsibility no longer applies to you such as having to work, pay bills, go to school, pay bills, etc.
- Total and completely miserable without some type of mind-altering chemical
- Engaging in promiscuous, risky, unprotected sex on a consistent basis
- Suffered from severe personal trauma at any point in your life
- Use drugs to ignore emotions you don’t want to feel.
Both Mental Health and Addiction Disorders
As a recovering addict, we know that we have problems with drugs. At one time, we were in active drug addiction. We have worked our asses off to improve our lives and no longer let the past haunt us. If any of the above symptoms seems like something going on with you then you may want to check with a healthcare professional.
Although, I will add this in real quick. Please note that I am NOT a medical professional, a therapist, or anything of that sort so, anything that I say should NEVER be taken into account over a professional’s advice or recommendation. All that being said, I’ll get on with it. There are many many people who suffer from both mental health and addiction who are labeled as dual diagnosed and they need the treatment for both disorders.
Yet, I feel that many feelings, behaviors, and actions that we portray are due to the ups and downs of drug addiction. Manic highs and lows, depression, excitement, etc. In my opinion, it’s all part of the drug game. It’s when we are still feeling like that after we detox and get some clean time that we must look into the fact that there is most likely an underlying issue.
Mental health and addiction do go hand in hand but, just because you are diagnosed with one does not mean that you have to be diagnosed with the other. Don’t automatically assume that all addicts have a dual diagnosis. That is another part of the stigma, my friend.
If you want some help with your mental health, here is a list of badass mental health blogs you definitely need to see.