If you think having a mental disorder or alcohol and drug problem alone is bad, think about what happens if both are occurring at the same time. This is the case with dual diagnosis, when a person has both a mental disorder and problems with alcohol or drugs. Either of the two can happen first, which will eventually lead to the other.
Dual diagnosis is considered two separate illnesses, and each has to be addressed on its own. Dealing with one problem alone is difficult, so two problems at once figures to be a challenge. However, it is very much possible to treat it with proper treatment and support. The key here is to understand the link between the substance abuse and mental health and get to the root of the problem.
Treatment of dual diagnosis may involve several doctors or support groups. The important thing is that both the mental disorder and substance abuse are treated simultaneously in order to get the best results, regardless of which of the two problems came first. If only one problem is addressed, then the treatment is unlikely to be effective. Treatments may include—but not limited to—medication, support groups, and behavioral therapy.