Dual Diagnosis: Drugs and Mental Illness

What Makes a Healthy Life?

Good physical and mental health are both crucial to leading a happy and enjoyable life. Drug addiction and mental illness cause your life to be significantly lowered and require treatment to overcome.

A dual diagnosis treatment plan helps individuals struggling with substance abuse and mental illness. This plan allows individuals to be properly supported with the issues they need assistance through.

It is important to receive treatment for these issues so as to lead a fulfilling and satisfying lifestyle. It can be difficult to manage these experiences without proper treatment or assistance to manage them.

Keep reading to find out more about effective forms of care for both substance use and mental health disorders!

The Importance of Mental Health

Mental Health

The mental health of individuals is often overlooked and ignored when it is just as important as physical health. Our mental health is constantly taking in the strain and difficulties we experience in our daily lives.

These experiences can include stress, anxiety, grief, pain, and so many other emotions. We often do not allow our minds to process or deal with these experiences and in turn, our daily quality of life is lowered.

Mental Health Disorders And Mental Illness

Mental health disorders, also known as mental illness or mental health conditions, are another factor that adds to this lowered experience. A mental health disorder can influence an individual’s thinking, mood, behavior, feeling, and perception.

Mental health issues are one of the factors that lead individuals to substance abuse. These individuals experience a daily lowered experience in their life and struggle with properly continuing along.

Some of the many mental disorders include:



This experience affects individuals in their daily life and often sticks with them for their lifetime. While there are treatments and medications to support these individuals, they often still struggle with their experiences.

Individuals with mental health disorders can also amplify how intense an experience will be for them. Individuals with undiagnosed mental health issues are more likely to develop and suffer from diagnosable depression.

Immediate Help For Mental Health Disorders – Call Now!
(877) 959-7271

What Causes Mental Disorders?

Mental illnesses do not have a specific cause and can have a variety of factors that can lead to the development of a mental disorder within an individual. According to the National Institute of Health, some of these factors include:


  • Genetics
  • Biological make up
  • Trauma or abuse, especially during childhood
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Serious medical conditions


The Basics of Drug Abuse and Addiction

As common daily experiences can greatly lower our mental health, drug abuse and addiction drastically affect our mental health as well. Drugs are often used as a way to cope or manage a difficult experience or simply for the high that comes.

The highs that come with drugs are one of the most commonly spoken about and desired aspects of a substance; however, what is often overlooked or ignored are the devastating lows that come with it.

These lows greatly harm the mental health of individuals and can lead to things like depression. The lows are highly relapse-provoking and can cause individuals to use a drug even when they wish they could hold off.

This is done as a way to manage the lows. Unfortunately, this will only lead to more severe low and worsening conditions. With the continued use of drugs, an individual’s body can become dependent upon the harmful substance and require it to maintain proper functions.

On top of all of that, addiction and drug abuse can be very harmful to the people around the struggling individual. This issue can place pressure and strain on personal and professional relationships which may force an individual to isolate themselves when they truly need assistance.

Who Is At Risk Of Drug Abuse?

While addiction is often mistaken as a choice, it is classified as a complex relapsing disorder in which an individual is unable to properly inhibit substance use. The first use of a substance may have been voluntarily however, this can quickly spiral out of control and lead to an addiction.

Sadly, many of the individuals at risk of addiction are unaware of the risks. Some of the risks of substance abuse include:


  • Genetics or family history of addiction
  • Trauma
  • High levels of stress or anxiety
  • Mental health disorders
  • Biological make up
  • Home environment


Stopping substance abuse early is a great way to avoid addiction. For more information on the signs of substance abuse and addiction, visit our regularly updated blog space and search for the topic you want to learn more about!

Common Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

Drug Withdrawal Symptom

Withdrawals are one of the biggest factors as to why it is so difficult to stop abusing a substance. There are many factors that can influence how mild or severe the withdrawal symptoms experience will be.

Some of these factors are unable to be controlled or adjusted to alleviate the withdrawals. These factors include:


  • The type of substance
  • How much of the substance was used
  • How consistently the substance was used
  • The individual’s age
  • The individual’s biological make-up


While all of these factors will affect the severity of what you experience, there are also many different kinds of substances with their own inherent withdrawal symptoms. Despite the variety of experiences that can occur, there are common withdrawals that can be seen in many substance withdrawal symptoms.

These common drug withdrawal symptoms can include:


  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Changing moods
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aches and pains
  • Cravings fatigue
  • Paranoia
  • Tremors
  • Disorientation


With addictive drugs, an individual can quickly build a physical dependence upon substances and require more of the drug to maintain proper bodily functions.

This dependence typically follows with severe withdrawals if a drug is stopped. It is important to receive proper treatment to safely stop using a substance.

24 Hour Dual Diagnosis Helpline – Call Now!
(877) 959-7271

Safely Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are a very uncomfortable experience for an individual however, they can also be dangerous and end in death with certain substances if not properly managed. As an individual develops a dependence on a substance, certain core functions require that substance in order to maintain functions.

While this experience can be potentially life-threatening, there are programs set in place for individuals to safely process their withdrawals. An individual can undergo a drug detoxification program to safely remove a substance from their system.

This allows individuals to break away from a substance safely and also helps alleviate and bring comfort to individuals through uncomfortable withdrawals. Once this process is over, an individual is prepared to take on addiction treatment and begin their recovery journey.

What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Dual Diagnosis

Proper addiction treatment must address an individual’s specific needs in order to allow them to recover from substance abuse. Without addressing their needs, an individual is highly likely to relapse.

And so, dual diagnosis treatment is exactly that for individuals struggling with mental health disorders and substance use disorders. Dual diagnosis works to support individuals through their specific needs and support their treatment for their mental disorder as well as their substance abuse issues.

Individuals struggling with mental disorders have very specific needs they require to be met to properly recover and retain recovery. Without properly addressing issues they may experience, it is likely that they will relapse.

Substance Use Disorders and Co-occurring Disorders

Specifically, dual diagnosis treatment plans work to treat individuals with a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA, substance use disorders (SUDs) are a form of disorder in which an individual is unable to properly inhibit their substance use.

Co-occurring disorders are simply another disorder being present alongside a substance use disorder. With that being said, dual diagnosis helps individuals build the proper treatment plan so they can recover from substance abuse and addiction.

Receiving Dual Diagnosis Treatment

There are many different kinds of treatments available to individuals. The two main forms of treatment will be seen as behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy. Behavioral therapy makes up the forefront of most addiction treatments.

Behavioral therapy provides individuals with skills, techniques, and knowledge on how to manage their daily experiences after receiving treatment. Individuals are able to avoid dangerous situations that may cause relapse or harmful behaviors.

These dangerous situations are experiences such as high-stress environments or grief over a lost loved one. Pharmacotherapy is a form of medication treatment that supports the functions and bodily processes of individuals.

Pharmacotherapy may help diminish or lower the withdrawals an individual is experiencing such as intense cravings or harsh insomnia. This is an important aspect as it allows individuals to be more engaged in other forms of treatment.

This is why these forms of treatment work best when utilized in combination with each other. Individuals struggling with withdrawals can benefit from receiving pharmacotherapy and behavioral therapy at the same time.

In spite of these forms of treatment, all addiction treatment begins with a detoxification phase to remove a substance from an individual. From there, an individual moves onto the necessary phases of addiction treatment to recover from substance abuse and addiction.

It is important to keep in mind that drug detoxification is not a form of addiction treatment. Drug detoxification is a phase and process before beginning addiction treatment.

Find Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options – Reach out Now!
(877) 959-7271

Medically Supervised Detox

Medical detox is a form of inpatient treatment where an individual lives on-site at a treatment facility to receive treatment. An individual is able to safely withdraw from a substance with medical staff available to support and assist them.

This process includes 24-hour medical surveillance of individuals to allow them to receive care for uncomfortable experiences in the intensive withdrawal process.

Although there aren’t Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications for all substances, varying medications can be supplemented to assist an individual. In some cases, medical staff may administer medication to an individual.

This is done to both support their body’s functions as well as to alleviate intense withdrawal symptoms an individual may be experiencing.

Partial Hospitalization Programs or PHPs

Partial hospitalization programs are another form of detox which allows individuals to receive care during the day and return home after receiving treatment. This form of detoxification is called ambulatory detoxification.

Ambulatory detoxification is a form of intensive outpatient treatment which is essentially as intensive as inpatient treatment and allows for individuals to return home after receiving treatment.

This treatment is available to individuals struggling with moderate to mild withdrawal symptoms. Individuals struggling with severe withdrawal symptoms should undergo a medical detox to receive more intensive care.

Inpatient Treatment and Residential Care

Inpatient treatment is a form of treatment in which an individual lives on-site at a treatment center to receive treatment. This treatment allows individuals to leave their current environment and enter a new and safe environment.

Oftentimes, an individual’s home environment can be relapse-provoking and harmful to recovery. Providing this new environment can support an individual’s growth and recovery from substance abuse.

Gradually, as individuals become more stable and solidified in managing their recovery on their own, they are likely to transition to outpatient treatment.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is a form of treatment in which an individual receives treatment during the day and can leave after receiving treatment. This provides individuals with the flexibility to maintain receiving treatment while also continuing outside responsibilities such as work or school.

Outpatient treatment is also less expensive than inpatient treatment and provides a comfortable option for individuals struggling financially. Despite this, there are many individuals that neglect this treatment after receiving the extent of inpatient treatment; however, it helps reinforce abstinence and recovery significantly.

Find Dual Diagnosis Rehabs Nationwide – Call Now!
(877) 959-7271

Find Effective Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Now!

Trying to find treatment for substance abuse or addiction can be very difficult, especially while trying to manage the many other aspects of life. Here at Find Addiction Rehabs, we can help make that process easy.

Whether finding a treatment center in your location or connecting you with recovery tools and resources, our hotline is available 24/7 to make sure you can get the help you need, anytime you need it.

Addiction and mental health disorders can be dangerous and harmful to you and your loved ones when left untreated. Call us today so that we can help find you the proper support and treatment for your needs!

Medically Reviewed By

Scroll to Top
Call Now ButtonCall Now (877) 941-2705