Understanding Dual Diagnosis: Addiction & Mental Illness

Despite the high prevalence of co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders, only 18% of treatment centers meet the criteria for dual diagnosis treatment. For this reason, it’s essential that you investigate a treatment centers programs before admissions. For help understanding your dual diagnosis recovery needs and the dedicated mental health program at The Hope House, contact our admissions team today.

Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs

Learn about dual diagnosis treatment at The Hope House

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

A person with a dual diagnosis is exhibiting symptoms of both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder

Nearly half of all people dealing with some form of substance use disorder have also been diagnosed with a mental illness — about 8 million adults in the U.S. This may also referred to as a co-occurring disorder.

One of the biggest problems associated with co-occurring disorders is the way they interact with each other. It can be difficult to tell which one came first and they often negatively influence each other – leading to a vicious cycle of abuse.

For example: someone may drink alcohol excessively because they are depressed. Drinking may then cause their depression to worsen – leading them to drink more – and so on.

What are the Common Mental Disorders Affecting Substance Users?

The four most common types of mental disorders affecting substance users are depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder.

Common Mental Disorders Explained


Major depressive disorder or clinical depression is a serious mood disorder leading to symptoms which can affect how you feel, think, and act. Depression can lead to intense sadness, hopelessness, feelings of dejection, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Generalized Anxiety

People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) exhibit signs of excessive worry for most days for at least 6 months. Worry can stem from work, personal health, social interactions, and more and can impact the person’s day-to-day life.

Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an issue caused when a person experiences a frightening or shocking event. People dealing with PTSD will often re-experience the trauma through flashbacks and nightmares.


Bipolar disorder is a condition leading to extreme mood swings caused by unusual shifts in energy, activity levels, concentration, and more. There are three forms of bipolar disorder all of which are characterized by elevated and depressive mood swings.

Wondering if you have a dual diagnosis? We can help.