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Absolutely. Those working in addiction recovery have known that an addiction to drugs or alcohol almost always has another aspect. Generally, mental health professionals diagnosing substance addiction find strong evidence of another diagnosable mental health disorder associated with the addiction. This is called a ‘dual diagnosis.’

In my experience, the craving linked to alcoholism and drug addiction partially exists in response to the underlying problems that the addicted person has had to deal with in his life. For example, we know that soldiers after serving in combat have higher rates of drug and alcohol addiction. In many cases these individuals suffer from the effects of combat related conditions such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The effects of these disorders are often terrible and in many cases the veteran turns to drugs or alcohol in order to numb out these effects.

Other individuals addicted to these substances have often experience problems in their lives. After using drugs or alcohol and experiencing the artificial pleasure, they also learn that they can numb out their troubles. Their brain has then learned that the easiest and quickest way to dampen down unresolved problems is to drink or use.

Therefore, drug use or drinking is related to other concerns which leads to an underlying, second diagnosis. Responsible mental health counselors trained in addiction recovery are aware of the requirement to fully understand the addiction and any contributing factors.

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