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Drug abusers frequently have an undiagnosed mental illness

Research is increasingly showing that many substance abusers may have difficulty staying clean because of an underlying mental illness. Statistics show that about 21% of adults suffering from a mental illness had alcohol or drug problems whereas only 7.9% of those without a mental illness did. In order to treat substance abuse, patients need to also be treated for their mental illness. Bipolar disorder sufferers are especially prone to drug or alcohol abuse but those with major depressive disorders such as schizophrenia, panic disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder are also prone. Drug and alcohol use are often used by sufferers of mental illness to alleviate symptoms but ultimately their symptoms will become a problem regardless. Bipolar sufferers may use cocaine to maintain the pleasurable aspects of a manic phase or they may use alcohol or marijuana to alleviate undesirable symptoms. It is believed that some drug use may in fact cause some people to develop mental illnesses if they are already predisposed to this condition. Dual diagnosis often involves psychiatric treatment and medication.

Source: summary of medical news story as reported by ABC News

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About: Drug abusers frequently have an undiagnosed mental illness

Date: 3 December 2004

Source: ABC News

Author: Christine Haran


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