Plight of those with ‘dual diagnosis’ most evident in the homeless

Dual diagnosis is an illness which a person experiences when they have both an addiction problem and a mental health issue

On a late evening in April 2017, I sat in an emergency accommodation hostel, a place where there are no facilities for you to stay during the day and so you are put out on to the streets every morning.

But I didn’t know that yet.

In fact, I didn’t know much at all about how the system worked.  more

Dual Diagnosis: Why Substance Abuse Worsens Your Mental Health

Drinking and drugs worsen anxiety, depression, other problems

Mental illness can overwhelm those who are affected and their loved ones. Substance abuse is similarly distressing for addicts, alcoholics and families.

When the two problems merge, a bigger challenge arises: dual diagnosis, or co-occurrence. “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.”  more

A Story of Drug Addiction, Alcoholism and Dual-Diagnosis

Dual-Diagnosis in Recovery from Addiction

Dual-diagnosis is defined as having a substance use disorder like drug addiction or Alcoholism that is accompanied by one or more mental health disorders. In the United States, I am one out of 7.9 million people that live with a dual-diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders (SAMHSA, 2014).

You may be wondering what has enticed me to disclose my personal experience and I feel obliged to do so. To start, you should know that diagnosing a person with dual disorders is often elusive due to the intricacy and the severity of different symptoms one may be exposed to.  more

Depression and anxiety: Can I have both?

Depression and anxiety are different conditions, but they commonly occur together. They also have similar treatments.

Feeling down or having the blues now and then is normal. And everyone feels anxious from time to time — it’s a normal response to stressful situations. But severe or ongoing feelings of depression and anxiety can be a sign of an underlying mental health disorder.  more

The Double Demons of Depression and Addiction

One of the most moving talks I ever heard was given by former U.S. Senator George McGovern. He spoke eloquently about his daughter Terry, who had both alcoholism and depression. He gave a detailed account of all that he, his wife and many others did to help Terry recover, only to be shocked and saddened late one December evening when a police officer and minister came to his home to tell the McGoverns that Terry was dead. She had gotten drunk, passed out in the cold and froze to death.

In a book he wrote to tell this story, simply titled Terry (1997), Senator McGovern provides a heart wrenching description of the life and tragic death of his beloved daughter.  more

Is OCD Contributing to Your Drug Addiction?

OCD stands for obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it affects over 2 million men and women in the U.S. alone. While there does appear to be a genetic component to OCD, sometimes it occurs in the absence of a clear genetic history of the disorder.

In people with OCD, ritualized behaviors and intrusive thoughts interfere with daily activities. Ritualized activities may include hand-washing, cleaning, or checking that the stove is off repeatedly. Obsessions are intrusive thoughts that seem to play in a never-ending loop in the brain, and they are typically unpleasant thoughts that produce anxiety.

Unfortunately, people often make light of OCD by comparing, for example, their neatness with the disorder. However, OCD causes very real suffering. People with OCD are aware that their behaviors and fears are unreasonable, yet they still cannot control their need to perform them and do not experience the relief that normally comes with doing them. OCD and drug addiction frequently occur together. The compulsions of OCD and the compulsions of addictive behavior have many similarities.  more

The Connection Between Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

he National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) reports that there is a “definite connection between mental illness and the use of addictive substances” and that mental health disorder patients are responsible for the consumption of:

  • 38 percent of alcohol
  • 44 percent of cocaine
  • 40 percent of cigarettes

Self-Medication

By far the most common issue connecting mental illness and substance abuse is the intention of patients to medicate the mental health symptoms that they find disruptive or uncomfortable by using alcohol and drugs.  more