Substance abuse is defined as a pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes. Mental illness refers to disorders generally characterized by dysregulation of mood, thought, or behavior, as recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition, of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-5).
When a person is suffering from both a substance abuse and a mental health disorder, it is called a co-occurring disorder. Some people refer to this as “dual diagnosis.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 50 percent of individuals with severe mental health disorders are affected by substance abuse. NAMI also estimates that 29 percent of all people diagnosed as mentally ill abuse alcohol or other drugs.
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