How Mental Health and Addiction are Related

Written by Robert Castan | Edited By Editorial Team

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More than 20 years ago, the concept of dual diagnosis appeared. Dual diagnosis treatment has been proven to be a highly effective approach to treating individuals who suffer from both an addiction and a psychiatric disorder. But the medical establishment has been slow to embrace the dual diagnosis treatment model.

Dual diagnosis is also known as co-occurring disorders, co-morbidity, comorbid disorder, or dual pathology. Regardless of the label, those who experience a dual diagnosis are faced with a myriad of psychological issues as it has become widely accepted that mental health and addiction are related.

Dual diagnosis - What are co-occurring disorders

When a chemical dependency is coupled with a psychiatric illness, the combined symptoms make it difficult to develop an appropriate treatment plan. Often the patient either has each ailment treated separately or has the original occurring condition treated first. In each instance, the symptoms of one can offset the successful treatment of the other.

Dual diagnosis - Warning sings of a co-occurring disorder

Warning Signs for When Dual Diagnosis Arizona is Needed

By themselves, the warning signs of dual diagnosis can be very similar to those of the addiction or psychiatric condition individually. It is when one or more of the following warning signs appear after the diagnosis of one condition is determined when a dual diagnosis may be present.

In general, individuals may experience the following dual diagnosis symptoms:

  •  Impulsive behavior
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Sudden behavioral change
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Avoiding social interactions
  • Inability to manage daily tasks
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Mismanaged personal finances
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Withdrawal from family or friends

One or more of these symptoms may already have been present when originally diagnosed with addiction or mental health issue. Being aware of any of the above symptoms is present after the original identification of either addiction or mental health issue may signify a dual diagnosis.

Diagnosis Challenges for Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis may be difficult to uncover. Since both illnesses can interact with one another, symptoms of one condition may either mask or exasperate the other. As varied as the number of drug and alcohol abuse patterns are to the different forms of multiple co-occurring disorders.

For example, an individual with psychiatric problems may be covering up related symptoms by turning to drugs or alcohol. Similarly, the withdrawal from chemical abuse to bring on the appearance of a psychiatric illness.

When one or the other is not diagnosed, psychiatric problems can persist and relapses may occur.

Dual diagnosis - Common co-occurring disorders

Dual Diagnosis Arizona Treatments

Before any treatment can begin, patients must first be diagnosed with both an addiction and mental health issue. This is why when trying to identify a dual diagnosis, Arizona recovery centers suggest anyone seeking help for either a substance addiction or mental health disorder should be checked for both.

Understanding that mental health and addiction are related, individuals with a dual diagnosis should be treated for both simultaneously. Although it may not be possible to treat each condition at equal strength, it is important to move treatment forward.

Many of the treatment programs for dual diagnosis are similar to those for the treatment of only one affliction. With a dual diagnosis, however, multiple approaches may be used at a time, such as:

Physicians must be cognizant of how the treatment of one issue may affect the success of the other. Fortunately, as dual diagnosis is becoming more prevalent, the evidence is suggesting certain medications and treatment protocols may positively impact multiple problems.

Seeking Help for Dual Diagnosis Treatment Arizona

The statistics are staggering. There are nearly 8.4 million adults in the United States suffering from both a mental disorder and a substance abuse problem. Although mental health and addiction are related, it is also common one condition brings on the affliction of the other.

Individuals who have been diagnosed with severe mental illness are four times more likely to become heavy alcohol users. Further, these individuals are five times more likely to be daily tobacco users. In many of these instances, it was not the mental disorder that caused the addiction, but rather the individual’s need or want to reduce their own personal pain and suffering.

Regardless of which occurred first, it is vitally important to find a recovery center that can develop a custom treatment plan to tackle both issues. SpringBoard Recovery offers Dual Diagnosis treatment in Arizona for those in need of help with addiction and many mental health concerns. Contact us today for help.


  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Substance-Use-Disorders
  • HelpGuide: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/substance-abuse-and-mental-health.htm
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disorders
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/substance-abuse-chemical-dependency
  • MedlinePlus: https://medlineplus.gov/dualdiagnosis.html
  • Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/psychiatric-disorder-definition-425317
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://namica.org/illnesses/dual-diagnosis/
  • Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-withdrawal-how-long-does-it-last-63036
  • WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/alcohol-detox-programs#1
  • US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6750298/

  • Author: Robert Castan

    Robert Castan is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at SpringBoard Recovery. Robert started his professional career as a house manager and has become an industry leader and trusted voice in the treatment world. He brings extensive knowledge of organizational growth, industry-leading outcomes, and comprehensive marketing to SpringBoard Recovery. Robert has been walking his own path of recovery for over 10 years. This path has truly driven his ambition to help make treatment available to others who are struggling with addiction. Robert finds great joy in traveling and keeping physically active, with an emphasis on biking. Robert resides in Arizona with his husband and two four-legged children.   The U.S. Alcohol Crisis, Still Deadlier Than the Opioid Epidemic   Zombies and Other Future Threats to the Health of American Youth Dire Mental Health: A Catalyst for Post-Pandemic Drug Addiction The Benefits of Rehab Center Staff Working Their Own Recovery Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Robert Castan on Successful Addiction Treatment and Entrepreneurship Castan: The road less traveled of addiction & recovery in Scottsdale Opioids & COVID Driving Phoenix’s Rising Fatal Drug Overdoses Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Successful Addiction Treatment Programs & Entrepreneurship

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