Gender Differences in a Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis occurs when an individual is simultaneously struggling with a mental illness and substance abuse disorder. Regardless of which one occurred first, the substance abuse or mental illness, it is imperative both issues are addressed at the same time for the most effective and long lasting recovery.

The statistics for dual diagnosis are staggering. More than 2 out of 5 adults are diagnosed with both a substance abuse disorder as well as a mental illness. The mental illnesses most commonly associated with substance abuse are bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, PTSD, antisocial personality disorder, and schizophrenia. Dual diagnosis occurs when individuals attempt to self-medicate to cope with their mental illness. On the flip side, dual diagnosis can also occur when a person struggling with substance abuse begins to show symptoms of a mental illness.

Dual diagnosis differs between genders, though both men and women suffer from mental disorders at the same rate. The types of disorders, however, differ between the two. For example, men are more likely to struggle with antisocial personality disorder, while women typically abuse alcohol to cope with their anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Men and women struggle with dual diagnosis in different ways, therefore their treatment options should attend to the unique needs of both.

Because dual diagnosis treatment depends greatly upon the needs of everyone, a thorough and intensive assessment must be done to properly diagnose the patient. For some, medication proves to be incredibly helpful in dealing with the mental illness. For others, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is helpful in proactively retraining the brain to learn healthy patterns of behavior. Ultimately, a tailored treatment program is essential in combating both the mental illness and substance abuse disorder.

If you or a loved one is struggling with both a mental illness and substance abuse, you are not alone in your fight for recovery. Call us today at (888)507-1355 to speak to a trained treatment specialist about finding the right dual diagnosis treatment option.

“The wings of transformation are born of patience and struggle.”