Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment

Dual diagnosis addiction treatment is an important step on the road to recovery from substance abuse and addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. This is because mental illnesses like depression and anxiety can often accompany a substance abuse problem. When this happens, you will be said to have a dual diagnosis.

About Dual Diagnosis

As mentioned above, you might be suffering from both a substance use disorder as well as a co-occurring mental health or behavioral health disorder. When this happens, it is referred to as a dual diagnosis and requires dual diagnosis addiction treatment.

While living with a dual diagnosis, you are going to need a highly integrated treatment and rehabilitation plan to address all of the disorders that you were diagnosed with as interconnected illnesses. However, you need to realize that this problem is common since 45 percent - according to the NSDUH or the National Survey on Drug Use and Health - live with a co-occurring mental health disorder over and above their addiction.

Dual diagnosis treatment will increase your chances of attaining a successful, healthy, and fulfilling life away from all of the disorders that you were initially struggling with - and which were aggravating each other.

Addiction and Mental Health Issues

Research studies report that there are certain behavioral and mental health disorders that tend to occur at the same time as substance abuse and addiction. In many cases, these disorders might be the underlying cause of the drug use problem. For this reason, you should never ignore any of the symptoms of a behavioral or mental health disorder.

Some of the disorders that are commonly linked to substance abuse and addiction include:

  • Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Schizophrenia

How Dual Diagnosis Treatment Works

If you have a mental health disorder, you have twice as high a likelihood as someone who does not to suffer from an addiction or a substance use disorder. On the other hand, if you frequently abuse alcohol and drugs, there is a high probability that you will develop a co-occurring mental health or behavioral disorder.

In the course of your dual diagnosis addiction treatment, you will learn that there are certain overlapping factors that could aggravate your substance use disorder or mental health disorder. These factors include but are not limited to:

a) Environmental Triggers

Traumatic events, persistent anxiety, and chronic stress - among many other triggers in your immediate environment - could all kick start a mental health disorder or a substance abuse problem.

b) Genetics

Your genetic predisposition could increase the likelihood that you will develop a substance use disorder or a mental illness. Research studies now report that genes will make up anywhere between 40 and 60 percent of your susceptibility to addiction to drugs and alcohol.

c) Early Exposure

If you start experimenting with alcohol and drugs from an early age, you might develop a mental health disorder or a substance related problem later on in your life. This is because when you are young - in your teenage years or young adulthood - you may be more prone to the brain damage that results from drug and alcohol use than if you were older.

d) Brain Responses

When you abuse drugs, you might experience symptoms that are similar to those from a mental health disorder. For instance, abusing marijuana excessively could lead to psychosis - a severe mental illness that will cause you to lose touch with all reality.

Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders

You might require dual diagnosis addiction treatment if you display some of the signs and symptoms of co-occurring disorders. In many cases, these symptoms and signs will largely depend on the kinds of substances that you were abusing as well as the intensity and severity of your co-occurring disorders. Some of these symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Avoiding social events or activities that you once used to enjoy
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Difficulty managing your daily tasks and other responsibilities
  • Disillusioned thinking
  • Erratic behavior
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Issues with managing your finances
  • Mentions of suicidal thoughts
  • Neglecting your health and hygiene
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Refusal to comply with or even seek treatment
  • Sudden changes in your general behavior
  • Suicidal behaviors

Self-Medication and Its Dangers

If you have a dual diagnosis, there is a high risk that you might attempt self-medication. This means that you would use alcohol and drugs to try to mask the symptoms and signs of your mental health disorder.

Although this might seem to give you some temporary relief, you need to realize that using these substances as your coping mechanism for your behavioral or mental illness could induce a substance use disorder or an addiction. It could also lead to worsening outcomes from your underlying mental health condition.

You should also note that this is one of the most damaging decisions that you will ever make. While struggling with a behavioral or mental illness and you consume drugs and alcohol, you will end up dealing with addiction.

Getting Help

Whether you have developed an addiction before getting diagnosed with a mental health disorder or displayed mental illness before the addiction started, it is important that you consider dual diagnosis addiction treatment.

Irrespective of the condition that came first, you need to look for highly tailored and personalized treatment plans that will target all these disorders at the same time - instead of dealing with them separately.

The best and most recommended form of treatment is inpatient rehabilitation, which will offer you a safe and structured environment within which to overcome all the disorders that you were diagnosed with.

An inpatient center will also offer you the high level of care and attention that you need so that you can get started on the road to recovery. As long as the facility provides highly integrated dual diagnosis addiction treatment, you can be sure that it should be able to guide you towards health, wellness, and sobriety in the long term.

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