Dual Diagnosis

Learn About Treating a Dual Diagnosis to Conquer Your Addiction

Recovering from co-occurring mental illness and drug or alcohol addiction is possible

While going through alcohol and drug recovery can be difficult enough on a patient and his or her family and friends, things can get much more complicated if mental illness is added to the equation. This combination of mental illness and drug addiction is commonly referred to as Dual Diagnosis.


Addiction and Mental Health

Like most substance abuse or psychological issues, there isn’t a clear cut cause of all dual diagnoses. In some cases, the drug or alcohol addiction itself will end up causing someone to develop a mental illness due to stress, dependencies, or altered perception of reality among other reasons. On the other hand, people suffering from behavioral health problems are more prone to abusing drugs, medication, and alcohol compared to those who don’t have some form of mental illness.
When going through drug treatment programs, it can feel like you are the only person in the world facing such an intense and difficult challenge. However, that is not nearly the case as there are literally millions of people with a multiple diagnosis condition. In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has even reported that over ten million people suffer from a combination of cognitive and addiction problems.  With there being about 20 million people total who are facing drug, alcohol, or medicinal addiction, that means more than half of those with a substance problem are also dealing with a mental illness. NAMI has also noted that about 20 percent of Americans – more than 40 million people – will have a mental or behavioral illness at some point in their lives.
The stigmas associated with both mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction can lead those suffering from one or both of these issues to only feel worse about themselves. If you are facing a dual diagnosis, don’t let those assumptions bring you down and aggravate your problems further. Instead, take action and seek treatment and rehabilitation to get your life back.


Mental Illnesses Linked to Drug and Alcohol Addiction

If you or a loved one has an issue with co-occurring substance abuse and a mental disorder, everyday and necessary activities like eating, working, visiting with friends and family, or even sleep can feel like impossible tasks. While going through residential inpatient addiction treatment, displaying acceptable behavior is difficult enough, but this problem can also make keeping your thoughts under control a real challenge.
A few of the mental illnesses that have been linked to substance abuse include the following:

  • Depression
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Attacks
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • PTSD
  • Schizophrenia

While not a comprehensive list of all the psychological disorders that can be part of a multiple diagnosis, those mentioned here are some of the more common illnesses you or a loved one may experience alongside substance abuse.
Types of Treatments for Patients With Signs and Symptoms of Illicit Drug Use
One thing that’s important to note when a mental disorder and substance abuse affects someone close to you is that both conditions must both be addressed. In situations where the symptoms of the behavioral disorder seem to negatively impact the patient more than the drug or alcohol abuse, inpatient cognitive behavioral therapy will overtake addiction recovery in importance early on in treatment cycles. This is because mental illness like depression and anxiety disorders receive substantially more care and attention than residential or hospital care only associated with addiction.
For those who have been placed into a substance abuse rehab center, the facility’s counselors, doctors, and caretakers will look to cure both the addiction and mental illness at the same time. Likewise, while going through rehabilitation for drug or alcohol recovery, many patients will receive medication to help beat the addiction by curbing cravings. Because of this, you should expect to get a prescription when dual diagnosed and seeking treatment.
The importance of taking care of the behavioral illness in regards to a addiction is twofold. First, mental health can play a major role in your life, and treating a mental illness will make a positive impact across the board for work, relationships, physical health and more .Second, only curing an addiction and leaving the mental illness behind will mean relapsing back into substance abuse is much more likely.


Care for Multiple Diagnoses – An Ongoing Treatment

Contrary to what you might go through when you have an addiction by itself, the combination of a mental disorder with abusing drugs and alcohol is quite a bit more challenging. Due to this, a number of facilities around the country have taken it upon themselves to make changes to their treatment programs so as to better take care of all of their patients’ needs.  In many cases, professionals who deal with psychology are brought in to help. With these people on site, rehab centers are now capable of assisting the dual diagnosed.
Once your inpatient rehabilitation program has been completed, there are a handful of things you can do for aftercare to increase your chances of staying sober and mentally stable for the sake of relapse prevention. For both the behavioral health and the drug recovery, seek counseling for each issue independent from each other. Generally, going through cognitive behavioral therapy will be personal discussions between just you and a therapist. For alcohol and drug treatment programs, most of the aftercare will consist of meetings in a group setting.
For more information about residential inpatient or outpatient rehab for you or a family member, feel free to contact Serenity Placement to discuss your situation. We will be point you in the right direction and help get the treatment you need.