Dual Diagnosis and Substance Abuse

It can be difficult to do a mental health or chemical dependency assessment on yourself. A substance abuse problem and a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder should be handled by a qualified professional. It takes time to distinguish what could be a mental disorder and what might be a substance abuse problem.

Complicating the issue is denial. Denial is common in substance abuse. It’s hard to admit how dependent you are on alcohol and drugs or how much they affect your life. Denial frequently occurs in mental disorders as well.

The symptoms of depression or anxiety can be overwhelming, so you may ignore them and hope they go away. Many people are afraid of being viewed as weak and admitting to problems many individuals often try to suppress them hoping they will go away.

Admitting and accepting you have personal problems that can also exist together is the first step toward recovery.

It is important to remember that substance abuse problems and mental health issues don’t get better when they’re ignored. In fact, personal issues are likely to get much worse without seeking appropriate help.. Remember admitting to having a problem is the first step toward enjoying life.

Things to Consider & Assess:

Consider family history. If people in your family have struggled with either a mental disorder such as depression, alcohol abuse and drug addiction or any combination of the three, you have a higher risk of developing these problems yourself.

Consider your relationship with alcohol and drugs. Have you noticed a relationship between your substance use and your mental health? For example, do you get more depressed and angry when you drink?

Consider the way you feel when you’re sober. If symptoms persist after you’ve achieved sobriety, you may be dealing with a mental health problem.

Examine your need for treatment for chemical dependency, mental health and or both on a consistent basis.

Remember the following questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you currently feeling a high level of anxiety or stress?
  2. Are you currently depressed?
  3. Have you currently been feeling suicidal?
  4. Are you presently committed to your recovery?
  5. Are you friends or family supportive of your recovery?
  6. Have my problems persisted for an extended period time?
  7. Do you or others think I drink too much?
  8. Do you currently use drugs?
  9. Do you or others think you need help?

It is important to remember you can not do this yourself and acknowledge and accept professional help.

If your answer has been yes to any of the above 9 questions, it is recommended that you seek out a professional for a mental health and/or drug evaluation.