Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. Many times people that struggle with addiction also have a mental illness. Dual diagnosis is a term for when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance abuse problem simultaneously. Either substance abuse or mental illness can develop first. A person experiencing a mental health condition may turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication to improve the troubling mental health symptoms they experience, or abusing substances can lead to mental health problems because of the effects drugs have on a person’s moods, thoughts, brain chemistry and behavior.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness & Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration