Over the years, a pattern has emerged: There are growing numbers of individuals who suffer from addiction alongside a secondary diagnosis. Fortunately, dual-diagnosis treatment offers an ideal solution for addressing both an addiction and a comorbid disorder.
Addiction & Comorbidity
It’s only relatively recently that we’ve really begun to understand addiction. Before it was studied by researchers and scientists from diverse fields, addiction was largely believed to be behavioral and, therefore, a moral affliction. As a result, people who suffered from substance abuse problems were largely relegated to the periphery of society, left to their own devices as they continued to suffer in the throes of addiction. But over the years, we came to understand that addiction is actually a disease. In particular, it’s a chronic relapsing brain disease that has more in common with diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes than we ever would’ve thought possible.
By definition, addiction has many similarities with other common, well-known diseases, particularly those that are psychological in nature. In fact, most individuals who suffer from addiction exhibit symptoms that overlap with numerous other psychological afflictions, which contributed to the enigmatic nature of addiction and is why it took so long for us to truly understand it. However, not only did we gain a better understanding of addiction, we also came to realize that the diseases with which addiction often shares symptoms can actually occur simultaneously. In other words, people who suffer from addiction can also suffer from any number of potential co-occurring disorders. This is referred to as comorbidity.