What Is Dual Diagnosis?

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“Dual Diagnosis” refers to conditions of persons with mental disorder and an addiction problem (alcohol or drugs) at the same time.
The Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration claimed that half of 2 million Americans with severe mental condition are hooked into drugs or alcohol. This is a major concern for mental health professionals and adduction counselors because addiction problems may worsen, cover or mimic mental health conditions.

Drug addiction and alcoholism often occur with the following mental health problems:

Anxiety disorders

Although anxiety is a normal emotion that all people experience at times, anxiety disorder is considered as a serious mental ailment that cripples a person’s behaviors because of constant and too much fears and worries. It is so distressful that it already affects a person’s ability to have a normal life.

Panic disorder: Terror strikes suddenly and repetitively. The person experiences any or all of the following symptoms:

  • chest pain
  • feeling of choking
  • feeling of having a heart attack
  • irregular heartbeats
  • sweating

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Constant fears or thoughts (obsession) flood a person and compels him or her to have routines or rituals (compulsion).

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A person develops this condition after a traumatic experience. The affected individual often experiences recurring and frightening thoughts and memories of past events.

Social anxiety disorder: A person extremity worries of being judged by other people. He or she fears ridicule and embarrassment.

Phobias: A person may have an intense phobia or fear on a specific-

  • object
  • situation
  • thing

Generalized anxiety disorder: A person with this disorder has unrealistic and extreme tension or worry.


A person with depression experiences a long period of apathy and sadness that may last for two weeks or more. The condition is serious enough to disrupt a person’s daily activities. Depression is a serious yet treatable medical condition.

Personality disorders

It refers to maladaptive personality traits that gets you into trouble of understand and relating to people and situations. Examples of personality disorder include-

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive (OCPD)
  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Personality change because of existing medical condition
  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder:


The thought process of the person with schizophrenia collapses and he or she lacks appropriate emotional responses. Symptoms of this disorder include-auditory hallucinationsdisorganized speechdisorganized thinkingparanoid/weird delusionssignificant occupational/ social dysfunction

It is important to stop using addictive substances when you have a mental disorder. Consult your addiction counselor/sober doctor or psychiatrist for more details on how to seek treatment.

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