Dual diagnosis is a common case in inpatient mental health treatment centers. To give you an idea of how frequent it is, half of the patients who are dealing with mental illness also experience substance abuse. On the flip side, 1 in 3 people who have been abusing drugs for a long time also experiences some form of mental illness.

Historical data shows that soldiers who suffered intense trauma in war conditions, those belonging to the lower strata of society and people who have prior mental illnesses are more prone to having a dual diagnosis.

How to Spot Mental Illness

The good news is people who suffer from mental illness exhibit some red flags. Below are just some of the symptoms you should look out for.

  • Withdrawing from contact

  • . They suddenly isolate themselves from family, friends, and society in general. There’s often no explanation for their isolation.

  • Apathy. This is deeper than indifference or mere lack of interest. This is common for sufferers of depression.

  • Loss of sleep. People suffering from mental illness often have difficulty sleeping. At some point in our lives, we might lose some sleep from excitement, nervousness or stress, but this situation is more long-lasting.

  • Behavioral changes. The extreme 360-degree change in behavior should be cause for concern especially if there’s seemingly no external factor that might have triggered it.

  • Sudden changes in weight. Overeating or lack of

  • eating are common in many cases

  • of mental illness such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

  • Worthlessness or helplessness. Their self-esteem plummets, and this can lead to a host of problems. There’s no way you can convince them that their lack of self-worth is only a product of their mind, nor can you persuade them that there’s still hope in the horizon as long as they don’t stop believing.

  • Extreme mood swings. We have some mood swings of our own, but the changes are so pronounced to be ignored. In extreme cases, self-harm or violence can be observed, necessitating a stay in a mental health treatment facility.

Higher Risk for Substance Abuse

Unfortunately, people with mental illness have twice the chance to become alcoholics or drug addicts. It’s understandable when you take into context what they are dealing with, and how self-medication is the easiest solution for many.

Dual diagnosis is best taken care of by mental health residential treatment centers. The important thing is not just to undergo detox, but also to address the root cause of the mental illness or substance abuse.