The term dual diagnosis is often used to describe a person who has a diagnosed mental health problem and uses non-prescribed drugs such as cannabis, heroin or alcohol.
Using drugs and alcohol can lead to an increase of the symptoms of mental illness and can stop any prescribed drugs from working as well. Some people with mental health problems will use drugs and alcohol to help manage the negative effects of their condition.
It can be difficult for people to find support when they have a dual diagnosis. Drugs and alcohol can ‘mask’ the symptoms of mental illness making it difficult to get help from mental health services. But reducing drug and alcohol use can ‘expose’ the person to the issues or symptoms that they have been trying to manage with substances leaving them vulnerable.
People who have a dual diagnosis often have other complicated problems such as housing issues or homelessness, money problems or involvement in criminal activity.
There are things that can help to support recovery from both mental health and substance problems and it is important to ask for support. It is a case of finding the right treatment, in the right combination.
Find out more:
Progress a national organisation offering information and support for people with mental health, drug and alcohol problems.
If you are concerned about your drug and alcohol use and the effects it is having on your mental health then visit your GP for advice about the support options open for you. For help and support for your mental health available in Manchester click here.