An individual is said to have a co-occurring disorder when they have a mental illness alongside a continuous substance abuse problem. Many people know co-occurring disorders as a “dual diagnosis” for this very reason. Experts have classified mental disorders as malfunctions in the physical chemistry of the brain, which ultimately propagates a negative or irrational outlook on life. Mental illnesses significantly impact one’s behavior and relationship with the outside world. An illness, in its most basic definition, is termed as the deviation of a bodily function from its natural set point to no positive avail. When this deviation occurs in the brain, it is deemed a mental illness.
Substance abuse is another behavioral deviation that is remarkably unhealthy. It places significant stress upon your body, mind, and your social relationships. Substance abuse can include many things such as the exploitation of alcohol, medicinal or recreational drugs, glue, or other solvents. The use of such psychoactive substances can alter one’s natural state of mind.
Both mental illnesses and substance abuse have something in common: they directly affect a person’s behavior, and their impact is mostly negative. They impact a person’s performance at work or school, in social atmospheres, personal or formal relationships, and they adversely affect their health too.
Addiction and Mental Illness
In line with research from the Journal of the American Medical Association, around 50% of people who bore severe mental disorders are diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder stemming from their addiction to substance abuse. This is a staggering number of individuals.
A person with a dual diagnosis needs immediate help. Due to their dire condition, they are unable to function as stable members of society. Such individuals are incapable of contributing to the community and only harm themselves. They may also pose a threat to the safety of those around them. This includes all people from loved ones to school or office peers. A dual diagnosis is equivalent to collateral damage when left untreated. Co-occurring disorders only become worse over time. They are out of the victim’s control, and professional help must be sought!