A dual diagnosis is where someone is found to have co-existing disorders – an addiction and an underlying mental health issue that can help exacerbate each other. Dual diagnosis is difficult to treat. Addiction alone is a lifelong chronic illness that requires a major concerted effort to address, and adding a mental health disorder on top of that can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, researchers are learning more and more about the relationship between these illnesses every day, and rehab clinics and therapists are updating their strategies with each new development. If you understand dual diagnosis, and seek the proper help, you can make the necessary changes to live a healthy life.
For help finding rehab centers now, call Drug Treatment Centers Danbury now at (203) 885-1746.
People with mental health disorders are at a much higher risk of developing a drug or alcohol addiction, usually due to a practice known as self-medicating. Many mentally ill people seek drugs and alcohol to achieve solace from their untreated illness, and if left unchecked, they develop a tolerance to their chosen substance, meaning they must take more each time to achieve the same pleasurable effect.
Eventually, they become dependent on drugs or alcohol to function, experiencing intense cravings or agitation when deprived of their substance. If this occurs, an addiction has formed, which will have profound negative effects on their mental state, allowing the cycle to continue. Those suffering from depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are especially prone to this kind of behavior if they do not seek treatment.
Those with dual diagnoses are also at risk of the opposite occurrence, wherein their addiction exacerbates an underlying mental health disorder that otherwise might have been managed. Alcohol, for instance, is a depressant. It slows the functions of the body and brain in a very similar way to clinical depression. Consuming large quantities of alcohol regularly can allow depression to spread in many ways: it can drain your bank account, ruin your sleep pattern, put strain on relationships, and have negative effects on your liver, stomach, and skin.
Depression thrives on misfortune and poor health, and if your life suddenly revolves around intoxication, then there’s little that can be done to stop the spread of the illness. Likewise, alcohol lessens your inhibitions, meaning a PTSD sufferer who drinks to avoid painful memories may suddenly find themselves behaving irrationally or violently if they suddenly find themselves triggered. Self-medication is dangerous on every level. Only with the patient help of professionals can progress towards health and stability be made.
Dual diagnosis sufferers are encouraged to enter specialized rehab programs where they can undergo detox, addiction treatment, and therapy simultaneously. Most programs involve a combination of psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and behavioral management.
The healing process does not end with rehab. Most programs offer aftercare services that you can continue to participate in months or years after being discharged from the drug rehab program. Many patients continue to participate in group therapy sessions long after achieving sobriety, forming lasting relationships and offering support and advice to the newly sober.