Addiction often accompanies other mental health disorders.
Such co-occurring conditions compound cravings, impulses, and behaviors—making it more challenging to overcome substance abuse.
Left unaddressed, mental illness increases relapse cases (according to the National Survey on Drug Abuse).
More than 7 million Americans reported struggling with a mental health condition and substance abuse disorder, sometimes using drugs and alcohol to suppress symptoms of their depression, anxiety, PTSD, trauma, and more.
The connection between alcohol abuse, drug use, and health has never been more evident.
It’s even common for people who struggle with drugs and alcohol not to show symptoms because drugs and alcohol suppress their condition. Once they stop using, underlying mental illness and substance abuse show their link. Our treatment centers employ a dual diagnosis addiction recovery program to begin the recovery journey.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs
Dual diagnosis refers to struggling with a mental illness and a substance use disorder.
At first, it can be difficult to determine whether someone needs mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment, but our integrated treatment model serves both, treating the substance use disorder through detox and the mental health issues through therapy.
Long-term dual diagnosis addiction treatment programs with multiple levels of care are most effective. Starting with an intensive inpatient level of care with 24-hour medical supervision and therapy is vital before scaling treatment and increasing flexibility over time toward appointment-based outpatient treatment.
Common Mental Health Disorders
Dual diagnosis captures many mental health concerns co-occurring with substance abuse and drug addiction. Some of the most common mental health issues include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar, PTSD, and trauma.
Those struggling with these conditions often find that drinking or using drugs makes them feel less anxious, depressed, triggered, or manic. Drugs and alcohol make some comfortable, euphoric, and at ease. This relationship leads to continued drug use, which eventually progresses into addiction.
In such cases, mental health issues and substance use disorders become symbiotic. When you stop using drugs, anxiety and other symptoms flare up, becoming unmanageable and leading to relapse. As a combination—mental illness and substance use disorders create cycles of despair, anxiety, confusion, and pain.
In particular, trauma, PTSD, and other issues (like schizophrenia) require dual diagnosis treatment. Commonly, those struggling with mental health conditions “self-medicate” with drugs and alcohol, demanding special attention to the unique features of their mental illness and drug use.
Detecting Dual Diagnosis
Most suffer from a dual diagnosis unknowingly. Family members and friends may struggle to identify the signs of dual diagnosis because addiction creates instability and erratic behavior, making it difficult to see the true symptoms of a mental health condition requiring specific, personal treatment.
Those addicted to drugs may seem irritable, depressed, anxious, or even paranoid. While this may be a side effect of prolonged drug use, it can also signal an underlying mental health issue. When someone stops using drugs, underlying problems begin to present themselves. Symptoms of a dual diagnosis include:
- Inability to remain stable while sober
- Increase in unmet responsibilities
- Reduction in time spent with family
- Less effort or energy at work or school
- Distress and discomfort in sobriety
Dual diagnosis is a connection between substance abuse and a mental health disorder. The two feed off of one another, compounding and deepening symptoms. The substance use disorder often suppresses mental health issues, leaving them untreated, while mental health conditions cause increased usage.
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How Dual Diagnosis Is Treated
Doctors, therapists, and our specialists begin with intake assessments designed to determine your unique needs. Using medical insight as well as family and personal histories of mental health or substance use, they create a custom treatment plan outlining your path to recovery.
Our multidisciplinary therapists then use a combination of treatment modalities and techniques to dismantle behaviors, change thoughts, and soothe feelings. Some of these include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, and individual therapy and group therapy sessions.
Start Your Journey To Recovery Today
Our programs are comprehensive, with a full continuum of care from residential rehab, partial hospitalization program, and outpatient program. If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, mental illness, or a dual diagnosis—we are here to help. Call a confidential counselor today to learn more about our programs.