In this day in age, there are many diseases that one can contract. Sometimes a person contracts a disease because it was contagious, and others because they are genetically prone to it. Still others contract diseases and disorders in ways that are not clear to doctors and medical researchers.
In recent years, alcoholism and substance abuse have been labeled as diseases because of new research findings that doctors have discovered regarding the biological and psychological factors causing someone to become an alcoholic or a substance abuser. Anyone who has a friend of family member who suffers from any form of substance abuse knows the extreme difficulty of helping the suffering individual seek help and recover. The same goes for individuals suffering from a mental illness.
In the past two decades doctors have discovered that at least 50 percent of mental ill individuals in this country also suffer from either alcoholism or substance abuse. (4) Some studies indicate that this percentage translates to 7.2 million individuals between the ages of 18 and 54 are suffering from both a substance abuse problem and a mental illness. (2) These numbers are simply staggering. Many of these numbers apply to the adolescent demographic in particular, who the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) say are most prone to having a mental illness "...that may in fact lead to self-medicating with street drugs and alcohol." (1) NAMI's fact sheet on Dual Diagnosis also states that mental health professionals are discovering Dual Diagnosis in such high rates that they have come to expect that individuals with a substance abuse problem will also have a p...
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...sorder by the general population, it will become easier to identify multiple problems in an individual family member or friend, and aid them in seeking treatment.
1) National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), general information on Dual Diagnosis
2) The Dual Diagnosis Pages , Dual Diagnosis Conference Reports
3) Kathleen Sciacca's website , leading resource on treatment methods and program sites
4) National Alliance for the Mentally Ill , Fact Sheet on Dual Diagnosis
5) About.com article on Dual Diagnosis
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