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Dual Diagnosis - Addiction and Mental IllnessThe National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that half of those who struggle with a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) will also experience mental illness at some point.  One out of four people with an active SUD will concurrently meet criteria for an anxiety, mood and/or psychotic disorder.  Spend time working in a residential treatment center and you will come to believe that the majority of people with severe addiction meet criteria for a co-morbid psychiatric disorder.

So many AToN residents describe problems with panic, generalized anxiety, depression, and grief that predate their SUDs. So many, if fact, it appears that the experiences of loss, trauma, or neglect dramatically elevate the risk of developing a SUD. For many, a SUD represents a desperate attempt to tweak brain chemistry, to alleviate the agitating effects of anxiety or to fire out of a heavy malaise.

The intimate link between SUDs and mental illness, as borne out time and again in research over the last 20 years, greatly explains why the field of addiction treatment has integrated more of a dual-diagnosis approach in recent decades. If you suffer with depression and/or anxiety, and are now searching for addiction treatment, consider programs or resources that emphasis a dual-diagnosis approach.

Specifically, search out providers who integrate interventions like CBT, EMDR, components of DBT and psychiatry.

Kevin Murphy, Pys.D
Pychologist
AtoN Center 888-535-1516