Co-occurring disorders or more commonly known as a dual diagnosis is a term used to describe someone who has a substance abuse disorder and a mental health diagnosis.
It is common for someone with a mental health problem to self medicate with drugs and alcohol even though drugs and alcohol are known to worsen the mental illness symptoms.
Professionally, the fields of recovery from substance abuse and mental health have entirely different cultures. This tends to make finding integrated care challenging.
If you have a co-occurring disorder then, you will want to seek out a program that integrates its care at every level.
Finding care for dual diagnosis is becoming easier because it is becoming a more recognized problem.
According to a 2014 National Survey focused on Drug Use and Health, 7.9 million Americas experience both a substance use disorder and mental health disorder simultaneously.
Because many dual diagnosis combinations can occur, the symptoms will widely vary. As a result, mental health facilities are using the screening tools for alcohol and drugs to identify people at risk for substance abuse disorder.
The symptoms of substance abuse disorder may include:
Meanwhile, the symptoms of mental health conditions vary. Some warning signs may include:
Biological and environmental factors often influence the way mental health and substance abuse disorders occur.
Addiction and mental illness are each dynamic disorders with varying rate of progression, severity, and manifestation of symptoms. Both disorders are influenced by genetics, environment, and pharmacological influences.
Some individuals have a high genetic risk for these disorders while others have an environmental risk that helps ignite or sustain these disorders.
Those who struggle with a mental health diagnosis are more likely to experience substance abuse disorder or alcohol use disorder.
Mental illness is known to lead people to self medicate with drugs and alcohol to help make themselves feel better for a short period.
There are also cases where a substance abuse disorder can trigger severe mental and emotional distress.
It takes an educated expert to properly identify and then treat a patient with a dual diagnosis. There are many benefits to getting inpatient treatment. Those benefits include but are not limited to:
· Having psychiatric professionals and addiction therapists diagnose, evaluate, and help you come up with a treatment plan.
· Integrative treatment for both mental health and substance abuse disorder all under one roof at a single rehab facility.
· Close collaboration among professionals who are in treatment.
· Individual counseling and peer to peer support groups with aftercare resources for both disorders.
· Provides access to medical treatment for depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
· Holistic recovery for dual diagnosis patients such as equine-assisted therapy, hypnotherapy, and acupuncture.
Integrated intervention is the best treatment for someone with a dual diagnosis.
When an individual receives treatment for their substance abuse disorder and mental illness, they have a higher chance of recovery.
The idea is that both issues need to be addressed to achieve a sustainable recovery from substance abuse and mental illness.
It is important for you and your treatment provider to understand the conditions interact and what treatment will be most effective.
Treatment planning is not the same for everyone, but here are some common methods that are typically used as part of the treatment plan:
Many with a dual diagnosis have to overcome the hurdle of being physically dependent on their drug of choice.
Going through inpatient detoxification is usually more effective than outpatient for the initial safety and sobriety of a person.
During an inpatient detoxification stay, trained medical professionals monitor you 24/7 for up to seven days.
Depending on your plan you may be weaned off of your substance or its medical alternative to lessen the effects of withdrawal.
If someone has a dangerous pattern of substance abuse and is experiencing an untreated mental illness, then they may benefit from inpatient care.
An inpatient rehabilitation center is a place where they can get mental health and medical care 24/7.
These facilities or treatment centers are known to provide support, therapy, health services, and medication to treat the substance abuse problem and any underlying mental health causes.
Outpatient treatment allows those suffering from substance abuse to go to group therapy for several hours a week to recover.
Outpatient treatment can include mental health support, group counseling, individual counseling, and informational classes for those strugging with a mental health and substance abuse problem.
Some treatment centers have intensive outpatient treatment programs that provide many hours of care several days a week.
Supportive housing can be a group home or sober home, these are residential treatment centers that are designed to help people who are newly sober avoid a relapse.
These treatment centers provide their residents with independence and support.
Psychotherapy is usually an important part of an effective dual diagnosis treatment plan.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT for short, is known to help people change ineffective patterns of thinking.
It is also designed to learn how to cope with negative feelings and has been successful in treating people with a dual diagnosis avoid relapsing.
Different types of medications are known to help people treat their mental illness.
In addition to this, there are certain medications known to help ease withdrawal symptoms for patients undergoing the detoxification process in substance abuse disorders.
Having a dual diagnosis is challenging and can be isolating.
Support groups are a great way to safely share your anger, celebrate success, get referrals for appropriate specialists, swap recovery tips, and find resources that are unique to your community.
They are also a good way to form healthy friendships with people who are encouraged to stay clean. Some good self-help support groups are:
Those with a dual diagnosis often need a lot of different services besides substance abuse and mental health treatment.
Important needs commonly include housing and case management to gain access to social and community health services.
These resources can be essential for those struggling with a dual diagnosis.
SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, of the United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends that there is an integrated approach to co-occurring disorders.
Having an integrated treatment plan means treating both mental health and substance abuse intervention together instead of treating each one separately without any consideration for the other disorder.
Integrated treatment allows the person to receive well-rounded care.
It is known to help people gain knowledge, get support, develop new skills and have a new hope that they can manage their problems and pursue meaningful goals in life.
Integrated treatments may include:
Sometimes young people will turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with life’s difficulties.
They do it to fit in, rebel, satisfy curiosity, and to feel more adult-like.
Teens who also have other mental health problems and depression are exceptionally vulnerable to drugs and alcohol abuse.
Teenagers are known to fail to recognize the symptoms of depression or what is causing them to feel depressed. They notice that when they do drugs or drink it alleviates emotional pain and stress.
This ultimately leads to an addiction that will, in turn, make stress, and emotional pain worse Alcohol is a drug with harmful consequences and serious risks. It is not to be taken lightly
Some behavioral, physical, and life consequences associated with substance abuse can include:
Having depression is a serious medical condition that is treatable.
The risk of depression is higher for those who have a serious medical condition such as stroke, cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.
The warning signs are usually missed because those who are suffering from depression ignore the warning signs. This results in a delay in treatment for the underlying depression.
Depression is not a normal response to another illness. That makes it important to treat all of a patient’s problems.
The most successful treatment for those with a dual diagnosis aside from addiction intervention is cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, motivational interviewing, and relapse prevention.
Recovery from a dual diagnosis takes a ton of work.
By nature, mental illnesses and substance abuse make you feel unmotivated. However, if you work past your ambivalence, then recovery is possible.
To get off of drugs and alcohol you have to be ready to quit for good. No one else can make you stop using. That must come from within.
When you do decide to get clean and treat your co-occurring mental health, remember, there are many resources available to you.
If you need help with your recovery, you can get in touch with the Hotline at our Recovery Center where trained and experienced professionals are available to assist you in every way.
The staff at Chateau Recovery is always available to help you with all of your questions regarding addiction recovery and treatment. Call anytime.
Please call our toll-free helpline which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed by experienced and caring professionals who can answer your questions and help you navigate through the process of evaluating and securing a treatment program.
If you or someone you love has questions concerning the rehabilitation process, call our free helpline Phone: +1 888-971-2986 for more information. Calls are always confidential, private, and secure.
Co-Occurring Disorders in Recovery from Addiction by Dr. Bob Weathers
Establishes the clear necessity of substance abuse counselors working hand-in-hand with mental health professionals as they collaborate in the treatment of individuals with twin diagnoses of substance abuse or dependence, on the one hand, and psychiatric disorder (e.g., depression, anxiety, or PTSD), on the other.
Dual diagnosis is a term for when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance abuse problem simultaneously. Dual diagnosis is a very broad category. It can range from someone developing mild depression because of binge drinking, to someone’s symptoms of bipolar disorder becoming more severe when that person abuses heroin during periods of mania.