Dual Diagnosis

Mental Health

Dual Diagnosis of Eating, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Disorders

Many times, people who suffer from eating disorders and/or substance abuse might experience mental health disorders as well. This condition is referred to as dual diagnosis. It’s possible that one disorder may lead to the development of another or vice versa. If someone has either an eating disorder/substance abuse disorder and another concurring mental health issue such as depression, this person can be diagnosed with dual diagnosis. There are many different types of conditions that can affect one’s mental state and determine whether an individual may need specific dual diagnosis treatment.

Asheville Mental Health Services | Willow Place for WomenDepression

One of the mood disorders that can come along with an eating disorder or substance abuse disorder is depression. Major depressive disorder is a significant medical condition that can cause persistent depressed mood or loss of interest in activities and impairment in one’s life. It causes them to have negative feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and guilt. Often, those who deal with depression can experience a loss of interest in things that once excited them. Other symptoms of depression include fatigue, loss of appetite, and difficulty thinking. Depression can also lead some individuals to have thoughts of suicide or self-harm. There are also instances in which people develop eating disorders or addictions as a coping mechanism. Anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa may accompany depression as well as a number of substance abuse issues.


People who struggle with anxiety may have a range of symptoms. Social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder are all different types of anxiety that may be diagnosed to individuals in treatment. Those who have anxiety may experience physical, emotional, and cognitive issues including:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Fear

A person who has anxiety may begin to struggle with an eating disorder or use addictive substances as a method of self-medication. This might be because he or she needs to feel in control of unwanted emotions. Or, it might happen because of the way mental health disorders disorient the person’s perceptions– thinking processes disturbed by the presence of intense anxiety. This could cause other issues like eating disorders or addiction to set in.

Asheville Mental Health Services | Willow Place for WomenPost Traumatic Stress Disorder

Among the list of mood disorders is one commonly known as PTSD. Generally, post-traumatic stress disorder comes after someone goes through a bad experience or trauma. A person who is sexually or physically assaulted can have PTSD. Furthermore, if people see an event that is traumatic, like a car accident or combat, it could cause post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms of this condition include:

  • nightmares
  • flashbacks (of the incident or incidents)
  • nervousness
  • paranoia

Sometimes, this disorder can cause people to have trouble sleeping or focusing. Also, it can make people irritable.

Finally, PTSD can lead to the development of an eating disorder or an addictive lifestyle. Binge eating, bulimia nervosa, and anorexia nervosa might come because of emotional distress. Some people may have a negative self-image because of an abusive experience. For others, eating disorders give them something to obsess over. This allows them to escape the negative emotions that accompany PTSD. It’s often that those suffering from PTSD will look to substances to ease the pain brought on by trauma. After a while, physical dependence and addiction may develop.

Treating Dual Diagnosis Patients

In short, Willow Place for Women offers help to women who have gone through substance abuse, trauma, and eating disorders. Do you need help treating these issues? We are ready to help. Our dual diagnosis daytime, a gender-specific program may be what you need. We offer help to women in a personal way. Your journey is unique. So, our treatment methods are made to fit your individual needs. Maybe you know a woman who could use our services. You can contact us today for information. Call us at 1-888-651-4212.

Request a Call Back

If you or someone you love is battling substance use, mental health, or eating disorders, please feel free to contact one of our trained admission specialists today. All calls are free and completely confidential. While we know that suffering from a severe and life-threatening substance use disorder or a mental health issue can, at times, seem insurmountable, we sincerely believe that every woman is capable and deserving of the opportunity to recover. Reaching out is the first step – give us a call today and we will gladly walk you through the process of beginning your beautiful, fulfilling journey of recovery.

Note: Your details are kept strictly confidential.