Often, a person struggling with substance abuse may also endure untreated mental health conditions and vice versa. This experience is known as dual diagnosis. Detecting and treating substance abuse or mental health disorder on an individual basis is a difficult process to navigate. The prospect of treating two diagnoses that have an adverse effect on your livelihood can be a frightening and daunting experience. Each diagnosis requires a specific treatment regimen for the patient to recover, which is where understanding and proper treatment options come into play. Learn about dual diagnosis, how common it is, and how treatment works.
What Is Dual Diagnosis?
Individuals with dual diagnosis struggle with mental health conditions and alcohol or drug addiction. These disorders often occur together. Anxiety disorders, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, personality disorders, and schizophrenia are just a few examples of co-occurring disorders that someone with substance use disorder (SUD) may experience.
While both disorders are a challenge to overcome in their own right, recovering from both requires extra care from trained specialists knowledgeable about mental health and substance abuse. When understanding dual diagnosis, it’s crucial to know that one disorder didn’t directly cause the other. Research has shown that three different risk factors can lead to dual diagnosis.
Risk Factors of Dual Diagnosis
The first known risk factor for dual diagnosis is the well-known risk caused by genetic or environmental exposure. Many mental health conditions, including SUD, can run in the family and be passed through generations. Meanwhile, external factors such as stress or trauma may have a role in the emergence of a mental health disorder and a substance use problem.
Secondly, those struggling with their mental health may find themselves participating in dangerous substance abuse to self-medicate. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, using drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication is common among those who struggle with mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Some medications may momentarily alleviate the symptoms of mental health conditions, but over time, they may worsen. Furthermore, brain abnormalities in individuals with cognitive problems may intensify the pleasurable benefits of drugs, increasing the likelihood that they will continue abusing them.
The final risk factor for dual diagnosis is that other mental health disorders can emerge as a result of addiction and continued substance use. Alcoholism or drug abuse can result in structural and functional changes to the brain that increase the risk of developing a mental health disorder.
Addiction and Mental Health Disorders Often Coincide
A severe depressive episode and an alcohol use disorder co-occurred for an estimated 2.7 million individuals, ages eighteen and older, in 2007, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Additionally, 40.7% of these people did not receive treatment for either disorder.
Meanwhile, nearly 24 million people in the United States reported experiencing acute mental distress, and 21.3% of these individuals also experience ongoing substance use disorders that are clearly described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Treating the co-occurring mental health disorders and the SUD together is crucial rather than treating them separately. As a result, a healthcare professional must assess each mental condition that a person with a SUD or other mental disease is seeking therapy for carefully to ensure they are receiving the correct dual diagnosis treatment.
So, what does dual diagnosis treatment look like? Patients must detox from alcohol and/or drugs for the therapy to be effective. Detox, medications, and behavioral therapy are viable treatment options for those in dual-diagnosis rehabilitation. Counseling and help groups can also provide patients with social and emotional support. Both resources can help those struggling to recover by gaining insightful advice and emotional reinforcement.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that concurrent, integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders and addiction produces the best and most durable outcomes. Mental health concerns must be handled before addiction rehabilitation occurs in a meaningful, long-lasting way. On the other hand, in order to effectively address problems like personality disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, active sobriety is essential.
Treatment at Avalon Malibu
Using the transforming power of mindfulness meditation therapy (MMT), our dual diagnosis treatment center staff develops comprehensive, thorough treatment plans for each client. The therapeutic support provided to clients is broad and includes cutting-edge, evidence-based emerging approaches and well-known, classic therapies.
Close monitoring, medically assisted drug and alcohol detoxification, psychoeducation, and support are provided to clients. Medication regimens are carefully developed, examined, and modified as needed to promote healing rather than hide symptoms.
At Avalon Malibu, we want to give you all the tools and support you need for a lifetime of sobriety and healing. Recovery doesn’t have to be daunting. With our compassionate staff and peers, you’ll never be alone on your journey to a drug-free and mentally healthy life.
Treating dual diagnosis can feel overwhelming since you’ll learn to overcome mental health and substance use disorders. Avalon Malibu can guide you through it if you’re thinking about starting dual diagnosis treatment but don’t know where to begin. Our expert staff can help you understand our compassionate and safe rehabilitation process to create a sober life. We offer an assortment of treatment options so that individuals can find the right recovery path for their unique needs. With numerous therapy options and healing activities, you can ensure that you are in the right hands. If you’re curious about our dual diagnosis treatment options, feel free to give us a call at (844) 857-5992.