You might not know the term “dual diagnosis.” If you are around the medical profession, though, you likely know it. It means you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. At the same time, you have been diagnosed with a drug or alcohol problem.

Dual diagnosis treatment does exist, though it is likely to challenge you if your doctor says that this is what’s going on with you. We will talk about what this diagnosis means and what you’ll probably have to do going forward in the following article.

The Self-Medication Cycle

If your doctor or mental health professional gives you a dual diagnosis, then there are probably one of two things going on. The first option is that you have an alcohol problem and you also have a mental health condition. The second possibility is that you have a mental health condition, but you are also dealing with an addiction to some other kind of drug.

This diagnosis actually happens pretty often. That’s because if you have a serious mental health condition, you may have a hard time functioning in society. It stands to reason that you would start self-medicating as a way of trying to cope with the anxiety, depression, social issues, and so forth that might plague you.

Getting on the Right Drugs

Many times, you will need to go through a drying out or a detox program in order to get clean. That’s assuming that you’re using alcohol or your drug of choice every day. Even if you are not completely physically addicted, you may have a strong psychological dependence on your chosen substance.  

You may still need to be on drugs, but they will likely be different ones now. They will be ones that your doctor or mental health professional recommends depending on the mental condition you have. There are all kinds of medications available now that can help you with PTSD, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, anxiety, etc.

Getting Your Life Back on Track

Having a qualified mental health professional or doctor in your life can work wonders after they give you a dual diagnosis. It can sound scary when you hear it for the first time, but at least now you should have an idea of what’s happening with you. Just having that knowledge should give you some relief.

The most crucial thing now is to figure out what treatment path is the best one forward for you. If you’re diagnosed with one of the mental health conditions we’ve mentioned, that’s not something that can be cured. Presumably, you will grapple with it for the rest of your life. You just need to learn what meds you should take, what situations you should avoid, and how you can fashion your daily routine in such a way that your life will not overwhelm you.

That’s the key to staying sober. It’s when you’re getting into situations or you’re around people who can be triggering to you that you are likely to have a relapse.