Understanding Dual Diagnosis

April 03, 2014

A person who has both an alcohol or drug problem and an emotional or psychiatric problem is said to have a “dual diagnosis”. It’s not unusual among addicts. According to a report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, 37% of alcohol abusers and 57% of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.

 On the other hand, most people who have psychiatric disorders don’t also abuse drugs and alcohol. The increased risk of becoming an addict ranges from just 3-15% depending on the disorder. In other words, the population of people with psychiatric disorders is very large and a relatively small portion of them become addicts. But of the population of addicts, a relatively large portion of them are also suffering from at least one psychiatric disorder as well. To recover fully, a patient needs effective treatment for both problems.