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Dual Disorders Commonly Associated with Addiction

The term “dual diagnosis” is used to describe the situation where a person has a combination of two or more mental illnesses at the same time.

This means that in addition to being an addict the patient has another mental condition that also requires treatment.  There are several such conditions that are more commonly associated with addiction.

Bipolar Mood Disorder

A Bipolar mood disorder is a mental condition that is marked by severe mood swings which range from deep depression to a state of excitement known as “mania”.  There are various forms of bipolar mood disorder and the rate at which the mood cycles as well as the relative depths and heights of the troughs and peaks.  Bipolar mood disorder can be debilitating because depression interferes with motivation and mania leads to flights of fancy.


Schizophrenia is unfortunately the topic of much public misconception.

Most people do not understand that there are different forms of schizophrenia and the majority of patients are able to recover from this disease.  Additionally the public often confuses schizophrenia with other mental disorders which contributes to the irrational view that so often surrounds schizophrenia.

At the most basic level schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by an altered sense of reality and a breakdown of thoughts that leads to disorganized behaviour.  Schizophrenia is especially associated with marijuana abuse, although a causal link is yet to be established.


Depression is a serious mental condition characterized by a persistently negative mood that leads to a loss of motivation, social withdrawal, suicidal thoughts, anxiety during the day and trouble sleeping at night.

Feeling depressed is a normal part of life, but Clinical Depression is a much deeper form of this feeling that lasts much longer than would normally be expected.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is another widely misunderstood disorder.  Its chief characteristics are an unstable self-image which leads to erratic behaviour that impacts on the way a person functions socially, emotionally, and in other areas of life.  There are several specialist forms of psychotherapy that have been shown to be effective in treating clients with this disorder.

Panic Anxiety Disorder

Panic Anxiety Disorder is characterized by repeated and severe panic attacks.  The fear of having one of these attacks often leaves people feeling worried at all times and unable to put down roots in their lives.

This mental disorder is accompanied by psychosomatic physical symptoms which include dizziness, an irregular heartbeat, and nervousness.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that causes unmanageable anxiety as a result of reoccurring irrational thoughts.

People suffering from OCD often feel that they have no control over their lives.  They feel safe by repeating certain behaviours that they believe will avoid catastrophe.

One of the ironies of a dual disorder is that people often believe that the drugs or alcohol helps them to cope with the symptoms of the mental disorder.  In actual fact using a substance of abuse can only make these symptoms worse and can prevent proper medication from having its desired effect.  It is essential for you to be honest about your drug use or alcohol use with you psychiatrist.

A dual disorder can only be treated effectively in an integrated manner that doesn’t ignore one problem in favour of the other.  You need to be sure that the treatment center you choose has a multidisciplinary staff that will be able to understand the complex interplay of all the mental conditions present.

Finding the best drug rehab center for you can be a daunting task. All of the clinics use glowing marketing adjectives to describe themselves and brag of outstanding success rates, but which ones are really being honest? We Do Recover can help you assess your needs and choose a program that will meet them.

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