Recognizing Dual Diagnosis – How Anxiety Disorders Increase Chances of Addiction
What is Dual Diagnosis?
According to the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, dual diagnosis is when a person has both a drug or alcohol problem and a mental illness. These conditions often occur together. For example, with alcohol, it is common in a dual diagnosis for the person to also suffer from, anxiety or depression.
Untreated anxiety disorders may cause people to self medicate, and can lead to addiction.
When a person has a dual diagnosis they will need to receive treatment for both diseases in order for them to overcome their addiction. If a person does not receive treatment for both illnesses, then they have a higher chance of relapsing. Many times, a person does not realize that they have another illness aside from their addiction, and this will result in them continuing to relapse after they receive treatment for their addiction.
Anxiety disorder alone negatively affects the lives of millions of Americans, and is a difficult disorder to deal with if a person does not receive treatment for it. Anxiety is one of the most common disorders that leads to drug or alcohol addiction, and a dual diagnosis.
How Anxiety Disorders Increase the Chances of Addiction
Anxiety is the most common disorder found in dual diagnosis, aside from depression. The problem with untreated anxiety disorder is that, if a person continues to have anxiety without treatment, they tend to self-medicate themselves with drugs or alcohol. Over time, a person may begin to develop an addiction to the drugs or alcohol they are medicating with, and now they will have two chronic diseases to deal with.
According to the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, sometimes the mental problem happens first, which can lead people to use drugs or alcohol because they make them feel better temporarily, however it may get worse over time. In order for a dual diagnosis to be treated, a person will need to treat both conditions and stop using drugs or alcohol all together.
Since anxiety often leads to self-medication with drugs and alcohol. It is important for a person to get help for their anxiety problems before they cause themselves to develop the chronic disease of addiction. There are numerous medications available to treat anxiety disorders, and many of which are now non-addictive and non-sedating. Therapy is also a huge help with treating anxiety disorders and a person should talk with a mental health professional or their primary care doctor to explore their options of treatment.
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