A dual diagnosis can be twice as challenging, and treatment for the mental illness and the substance abuse must occur together. The risk of relapse is also higher, and there are some warning signs that indicate this possibility is high. Relapsing in one area often leads to a relapse in the other condition as well. Some of the warning signs to watch for include:
- Going back to old places where drugs or alcohol were used.
- Associating with old friends who share the same substance abuse habits.
- The individual stops attending meetings or therapy sessions.
- Medications to control the mental illness are stopped without the advice of a medical professional.
- Unresolved conflicts that continue to surface after substance abuse treatment.
- An increase in the occurrence or severity of the mental disorder symptoms.
- An increase in the stress experienced.
- The thought that medication or substance abuse treatment is no longer needed.
- Cravings for the preferred substance.
- Continuing relationships with others who continue to drink or use drugs.
- Missing appointments with the doctor.
- Obsessive thoughts about drugs or alcohol.
- Using excuses to justify keeping alcohol, drugs, or paraphernalia in the home or at work.
- Having goals that are unrealistic and are not achievable.
If you or a loved one experience any of the symptoms after receiving a dual diagnosis then you are at a very high risk of relapsing with at least one of the conditions diagnosed. Immediate help and support should be sought if there is a chance of a relapse.