In the past, many counselors believed that mental conditions couldn’t be addressed until the suffering individual had maintained a prolonged period of sobriety. Modern professionals are understanding that addiction and mental illnesses can go hand in hand and should be treated at the same time.
After going through an extensive co-occurring disorder screening and assessment, an individual can begin their path to recovery. Another common mental health condition that is associated with substance abuse is what’s known as bipolar disorder. Individuals who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder can have great difficulty remaining sober. Throughout the course of certain days, they exhibit positive attitudes and express the desire to abstain from alcohol or drugs. On others, they could become manically depressed and quickly resort to the use of narcotics or alcohol to alleviate their pain.
The Prevalence Dual Diagnosis With Substance Abuse
Mental illness, specifically mood disorders can sometimes result in a dual diagnosis of substance abuse. Dual diagnosis, also called co-occurring disorder, is a term used to refer to the problem of mental illness in conjunction with substance abuse. A 2011 USA National Survey found that 17.5 adults with mental illness also suffered from substance abuse.
While it is quite possible to identify a dual diagnosis, it is often difficult to determine the cause of this addiction. Sometimes the mental health condition occurs first, leading a person to use drugs or alcohol to try and find relief. Other times, the substance abuse occurs first and that leads mental and emotional problems. The cases of co-occurring disorders are usually familiar with mood disorders, for example; dual diagnosis depression along with cocaine addiction or dual diagnosis bipolar along with alcoholism.
Many curious individuals often wonder what the difference is between a co-occurring disorder and a dual diagnosis when regarding medical conditions. The fact of the matter is that a co-occurring disorder and a dual diagnosis are different terms used to describe the same situation. When an individual experiences both chemical dependence and mental illness, they are what is commonly referred to as a dual diagnosis. The preference between terms indeed depends on the medical professional who examines the patient.
Many individuals who are diagnosed with a simultaneous mental illness and a substance abuse disorder are more likely to experience a relapse. Not only is the individual dealing with addiction but they are also trying to get a grasp on their mental illness. Without the proper help and guidance, usually through a co-occurring disorder treatment center, recovery can be tricky.
Identifying Dual Diagnosis in People
The signs of co-occurring disorders will vary depending upon which mental health disorder is diagnosed and the drug of choice. Although the symptoms of mental illness are somewhat unique to each individual illness, the symptoms of substance abuse are general, they include;
• An uncontrollable craving for alcohol or drugs
• Swift changes in behavior
• A sudden transition from normal habits
• Displaying radical behavior when under the influence.
In particular, alcohol and drug problems tend to occur with:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Personality disorders
There are standard screening tools in mental health facilities used to determine people at risk to drug or alcohol abuse. If diagnosed with dual diagnosis it is best to seek dual diagnosis rehab.
Dual diagnosis is more common than you might imagine. According to a report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association:
The Treatment of Dual Diagnosis
People often seek to self-medicate their mental illness, by regulating their moods with drugs and alcohol, although this process might seem like it is helping, it actually worsens the situation, by increasing substance abuse leading to dual diagnosis. The co-occurring disorder may appear difficult to treat because of the dual diagnosis substance abuse and mental illness, two separate problems, which are not tackled with the same processes. Luckily there are dual diagnosis facilities, with specific options of dual diagnosis treatment; using dual diagnosis programs for this treatment, some of these programs include;
• Dual Diagnosis Outpatient Treatment Centers: this treatment, conducted by dual diagnosis centers, is ideal for fairly manageable addictions. Addicts can maintain a part-time job and even stay at home but are required to attend psychotherapy, support groups, and educative classes. Although, it should be noted that, addicts in outpatient treatments have a greater risk of relapse
• Dual Diagnosis Inpatient Treatment Centers: the inpatient treatment involves removing addict from his natural environment; which contributes to or enables his addiction, as a form of dual diagnosis drug rehab. This residential treatment generally involves four structured steps, which include; detoxification, therapeutic intervention, life-skills development and relapse prevention. Dual diagnosis treatment centers usually keep patients for the short term of 30 days and long-term of 30 plus days.
Although the co-occurring disorder is considered difficult to maintain alone, there are various entities you can reach out to for professional support. For example, if you are living in California, there is dual diagnosis rehab in Los Angeles; offered by dual diagnosis treatment centers in Los Angeles.
Are You Addicted?
Co-occurring disorders (especially when related to substance abuse) can be difficult to spot.
Admitting that you have a problem can be frightening for many people, and they may fear that their friends or family members will criticize them. It’s important to remember that addictions are too dangerous to be left alone and that most people will respect the one who chooses to get help.
While addiction to any substance might look different in different people, those who can answer “yes” to the following questions are typically considered at risk and should seek out help:
- Are you using alcohol or drugs to escape today?
- Have you tried to stop and can’t?
- Are you drinking more than you did a few weeks or even a few days ago?
- Do you need to drink in the morning, as soon as you wake up?
- Are you unable to control how much you drink, no matter how you try?
- Do you drink while angry or depressed?
- Do you drink alone?
- Are you worried about your drinking?
- Are your family members, friends or coworkers worried about your drinking?
- Do you drink and drive?
Dual Diagnosis at Adjustments Family Services
If you believe that substance misuse or mental illness is an issue in your life, we can help. At Adjustments Family Services, we have an extensive staff with experience in alcohol addiction. We keep our ratio of patients to staff quite low, so we can focus on the needs of everyone in our care. We also utilize a customized approach, ensuring that all treatment is designed to help people with the specific problems they face. Our treatments can help you deal not only with the addiction but also any mental or emotional conditions that led to substance use in the first place.