Dual Disorders: Addiction and Other Mental Disorders. Integrating Mental Health



Understanding dual disorders (DDs) implies recognizing that an addiction is a mental illness and therefore a brain disease. There are common brain areas involved in both addictions and other mental illnesses; it could explain the high comorbidity between drug use and other psychiatric disorders. Factors increasing the vulnerability to develop an addiction include family history, early initiation of substance use, socially stressful environments and suffering from a mental illness. In addition, lifetime diagnosis of any mental illness has been found to be associated with higher prevalence of transition from substance use to substance use disorder. Social influences are critical factors that promote experimentation or initiation which, combined with an individual vulnerability, may lead to a substance use disorder development. Historically, there has been an artificial separation between services treating addiction disorders and services treating other mental illnesses. The new paradigm of addiction, which indicates that DDs are a brain disease, highlights the need to reconsider this model.


Dual disorders Addiction Comorbidity Substance use 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WPA Section on Dual DisordersHospital General Universitario Gregorio MarañonMadridSpain
  2. 2.Retiro Mental Health ServicesHospital General Universitario Gregorio MarañonMadridSpain
  3. 3.WPA Section on Dual DisordersHospital ItalianoBuenos AiresArgentina
  4. 4.Division of Addiction, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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