When someone we love is affected by drug addiction and substance abuse, our entire world can seem to shift out of balance. We can become caught up in learning about treatment options in a desperate attempt to help our family member or friends stop harming themselves through the abuse of dangerous drugs. If we have developed the disease of addiction ourselves, it can be even more frightening. Making the situation even more trying may be the presence of a mental disorder that has, as of yet, not been correctly identified. These conditions — known as comorbid conditions — result in a Dual Diagnosis that must be addressed with as much attention and concern as the diagnosis of substance dependence or abuse.
Treating one condition without treating the other is counterproductive and can drastically influence the effectiveness of drug addiction treatment.
There are many types of mental disorders which have been associated with substance abuse and dependence over the years. While mental disorders do not discriminate due to age, race, gender or socioeconomic background, there are some disorders that are more prevalent among various populations. It is very important to remember, however, that prevalence doesn’t mean very much when we’re talking about one person. The statistics concerning whether men or women are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder — according to the experts, women are twice as likely to suffer from generalized anxiety than men — doesn’t matter if you are a man who suffers from anxiety. Because mental disorders, regardless of the category or diagnosis into which they fall, can affect both men and women, it is more important to understand what mental illness is, how it can relate to drug abuse and addiction, and how it can be treated effectively. It is also important to understand which mental health disorders are more common in men or women, and which affect both genders equally.