Alcoholism and Dual Diagnosis
It is possible to suffer from alcoholism with any type of mental illness. However, the most common mental illnesses found in people suffering from alcoholism include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
What Is Dual Diagnosis
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), around 45% of Americans suffer from dual diagnoses. Among this demographic, alcohol is the most commonly abused substance.
Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis
- Isolation from friends and family
- Weight gain or loss, increased or decreased appetite
- Low energy and listlessness, no motivation to do anything
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased performance at work and in personal life
- Anxiety, irritability, mood swings, and aggression
- Making excuses for alcohol use
Common Mental Disorders Co-Occurring with Alcoholism
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, and is also the condition most found occurring alongside alcoholism. People with depression often turn to alcohol to help alleviate the worst symptoms of depression.
Some of the more severe symptoms of depression include hopelessness, loneliness, sadness, and suicidal thoughts. Self-soothing and self-medicating with alcohol actually worsens the symptoms of depression.
Alcohol use disorder and bipolar disorder often go hand-in-hand. Some studies have shown that most bipolar disorder sufferers will develop an addiction at some point in their lives. Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in these demographics.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Around 25% of people with OCD also suffer from alcohol use disorder. OCD sufferers enjoy alcohol because it distracts them from their symptoms. As with many mental health conditions, alcohol actually makes the symptoms of OCD worse.
Impact of Dual Diagnosis on Treatment
Any dual diagnosis condition makes alcohol addiction treatment more difficult. In the same vein, the presence of alcohol use disorder makes the mental illness treatment more difficult.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Faith-based treatment
- Holistic therapy
- Motivational enhancement therapy