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Substance Use and Mental Health Conditions

Overview

Some people who have substance use disorder also have a mental health condition. Doctors call this a dual diagnosis. You need to treat both conditions to fully recover.

Mental health conditions that may occur with substance use disorder include:

  • Depression.
  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Schizophrenia.

Either condition may come first. Substance use disorder may lead to symptoms such as depression or anxiety. Or people with mental health conditions may use substances to:

  • Feel normal and accepted. You may use substances to help you feel like you don't have a mental health condition or aren't different from others.
  • Self-medicate. You may use substances to try to reduce anxiety, depression, or sleep problems.

It's best to treat the mental health condition and substance use disorder at the same time. Treating both conditions gives you a better chance of a full recovery and less chance of returning to substance use.

Credits

Current as of: November 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Peter Monti PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health

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