Addiction is frequently accompanied by other mental health disorders. These issues compound addiction and make it more difficult to overcome. Furthermore, mental health issues that are left unaddressed frequently lead to relapse.
Those who struggle with mental health often use drugs and alcohol to depress their symptoms of depression or anxiety. This often leads to addiction and the need for dual diagnosis treatment programs.
The need for dual diagnosis treatment is extremely common. More than 7 million Americans reported to be struggling with a mental health issue and substance abuse disorder.
It is very common for people who struggle with drugs and alcohol to not exhibit mental health issues. This is because the drugs suppress their mental health symptoms. Once they stop using drugs, they are met with sometimes crippling mental health issues.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Explained
Dual diagnosis is a term used when referring to someone who struggles with a mental health issue in conjunction with a substance use disorder (SUD). It can then be difficult to determine whether someone needs mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment. This is where dual diagnosis treatment thrives.
These scenarios led to the need for dual diagnosis treatment programs. They focus on both issues at the same time. They treat the substance use disorder through detox and therapy while addressing mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Long-term dual diagnosis treatment programs with multiple levels of care are proven to be the most effective. Starting with an intensive inpatient level of care that provides 24 hour medical supervision and therapy is vital. The ability to scale back treatment and scale in responsibilities over time is vital.
Dual diagnosis programs have made a difference and are evidence backed. The ability to treat mental health issues while in substance abuse treatment is invaluable. A proper dual diagnosis program can be life saving.
Common Issues Treated
Dual diagnosis refers to a number of different mental health issues when combined with a SUD. Some of the most common mental health concerns are depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, and others.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.”. They go on to say anxiety affects “40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older”. This does not include major depressive disorder which is also extremely common.
Those who struggle with anxiety often find that drinking or using drugs makes them feel less anxious. It makes them comfortable, euphoric, and sometimes sedated depending on the drug. This discovery leads to continued drug use, which eventually progresses until it becomes an addiction.
This is how mental health issues and substance use disorders become symbiotic. When these people stop using drugs, their anxiety and other symptoms flare up and become unmanageable. This results in a relapse to drugs, or to a mental breakdown. Both of which are detrimental.
PTSD and other issues like schizophrenia often lead to a need for dual diagnosis treatment. It is extremely common for those struggling with PTSD and trauma to self medicate with drugs. This leads to the need for addiction treatment that specializes in dual diagnosis.
These common but detrimental mental health concerns cause and exacerbate addiction in most cases. Mental health conditions and addiction exacerbate one another leading to a toxic cycle of drug use, depression, and more.
Thankfully, there is a way to treat both issues at once and overcome addiction. In the course of this article we will explain dual diagnosis treatment and how to get help.
Detecting Dual Diagnosis
Many people suffer from dual diagnosis issues without knowing it. Family members may also have issues detecting dual diagnosis. It is extremely common for people struggling with addiction to exhibit mentally unstable behaviors. This can make it difficult to detect a dual diagnosis issue.
Those who are 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 be a sign of an underlying mental health issue.
Oftentimes, when someone goes to treatment for a substance use disorder, they are met with considerable mental health issues. Drug use suppresses mental health disorders. This means that when someone stops using drugs, the underlying issues that have been suppressed begin to present themselves.
Other symptoms of a dual diagnosis issue may include an inability to remain mentally stable while sober or an increase in unmet responsibilities. Reduction in time spent with family or at work is also a red flag.
These underlying issues often lead people to relapse if left untreated. Relapse plays a role in most overdoses. This means that treating underlying mental health issues while in treatment is critical.
Dual diagnosis is a symbiotic relationship between a substance abuse and mental health issue. The two things feed off of one another and compound the issues. The SUD suppresses the mental health issues, leaving them untreated. The mental health conditions cause an increased need for more drugs which compounds the addiction.
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How Dual Diagnosis is Treated
Addiction treatment can be difficult. The underlying issues that led to addiction are often tough to address and overcome. When combined with a mental health issue, these issues require the help of professionals.
Doctors and therapists begin by performing intake assessments that help them determine the specific needs of the individual. They then continue exploration by utilizing family history of mental health and SUD’s in conjunction with therapeutic interviewing. This allows them to create a treatment plan.
Once the issues have been identified, our multidisciplinary therapists use a combination of treatment modalities and techniques. Some of these include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, and individual and group therapy sessions.
Our approach focuses on the individual needs of a patient, as they vary depending on the combination of drugs being used and mental health issues. This leads to an individualized and specific approach. We use evidence based treatment models that have proven success.
Overcoming addiction and a mental health issue is no small journey. A combination of treatment, and continued therapy in conjunction with 12-step support groups is recommended. With the right treatment program and appropriate support, recovery is possible.
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Our programs are comprehensive, and offer a full continuum of care. This means that we offer intensive inpatient care for the more severe cases, as well as outpatient care for mild cases. We also offer long term step down programs, which are often the most effective in treating dual diagnosis issues.
Our staff have the experience and compassion needed to treat dual diagnosis issues. If you would like to see more about our program, feel free to check out our facility.
If you or a loved one may be suffering from a dual diagnosis issue, we are here to help. Our experienced and understanding staff are available 24/7. Call us today at (800) 817-1247
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