It’s vital to treat both the mental illness and substance abuse. Treating the mental health issue without treating the substance abuse doesn’t work. It doesn’t create the stability needed for proper healing. Treating the substance use without treating the mental health creates a risk for relapse.
Also, integrated treatment is more effective. Confusion and mistakes happen when treatment isn’t integrated. A doctor treating anxiety might be unaware that their patient has substance abuse issues. As a result, they might prescribe addictive benzodiazepines.
In the same way, a doctor treating substance abuse also has challenges. Failure to treat the underlying mental illness risks relapse. Moreover, anxiety disorders and substance abuse might be related. They both affect the same parts of the brain. Knowing this, a doctor can spot the best ways to treat all of a patient’s issues.
Also, a doctor will adjust their approach if they know they’re dealing with a dual diagnosis. Using the wrong approach can delay or even prevent recovery. However, any approach needs to be based on evidence.