A dual diagnosis can mean twice the trouble and double the risk of relapse if the right treatment program is not chosen. According to the latest statistics and research numbers more than 30% of those who abuse alcohol and over 50% of those who abuse drugs of some type suffer from both substance abuse and a mental disorder. This can create a complicated situation where an accurate diagnosis is harder to reach. First the treating practitioner must determine whether the substance abuse caused the mental disorder or if this activity is just a symptom of the mental issue. Often those with certain mental illnesses will turn to drugs or alcohol to try and treat the underlying symptoms but this only makes things worse and complicates matters further.
The most common mental disorders that are found with substance abuse include depression, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. If an individual is predisposed towards mental illness then chronic alcohol or drug use can cause mental and emotional stability. In some cases the mental disorder surfaced first while in others this condition was brought on by substance abuse. A dual diagnosis may require more time for an accurate diagnosis because the individual must be monitored after detox to identify the actual mental illness symptoms that are being experienced. Both of the conditions must be treated at the same time in order for a full recovery to be reached and the mental illness to be properly managed. If this is not done then one or both of the problems will usually reappear after treatment is finished.