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Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

What is Dual Diagnosis?

This is a term used to describe a person who suffers from both a substance abuse disorder as well as a mental health disorder. Dual diagnosis is also commonly referred to as co-occurring or comorbid disorder. A person who has problems with their clinical mood disorder may turn to various substances such as drugs or alcohol in order to self-medicate, but this can create a vicious cycle of constant substance abuse and denial about the problem.

What are the symptoms?

It is important to remember that when it comes to dual diagnosis treatment, every patient suffers from a different mental health condition. The condition could have been pre-existing or it could have come about as a result of the substance abuse. Each patient undergoing dual diagnosis treatment is therefore given individualized care suited to their specific needs, as each case differs. This is dependent on the severity of their mental health condition as well as the severity of their substance abuse; it is also dependent on which specific substance was used. Each narcotic can alter a person’s mental state in different ways.

Common signs can include:

  • Withdrawal from society

    • Refusing to interact with friends or family members and choosing new ‘friends’.
  • No regard for the consequences of continued use

    • Losing your job or loved ones is not a cause for concern and you’re not concerned about potentially losing your life.
  • Erratic or volatile behavior

    • Acting out or in a manner that isn’t ‘normal’ of you.
      This could include outbursts of aggression or depressive slumps as well as abnormal sleeping patterns.
  • Using substances in volatile conditions

    • Using or even mixing different substances as a means to feel better or improve your mood.
  • Increasing usage and dosage of substances

    • This will in turn raise your tolerance, and ensure that you need more in order receive the same high as before.
  • Engaging in hazardous behavior

    • Such as drunken driving, sharing needles or blatant disregard for the law by committing various crimes without any regard for public safety.
  • Total reliance on the substance

    • You become so dependent on your specific substance; you believe that you are unable to function without it.
  • Placating loved ones by stating you’re in control and can stop at any time

    • You try to stop to prove your point, but end up relapsing over and over again.
  • Suffering from withdrawal symptoms

    • When you attempt to stop on your own or cut down on the dosage, you experience severe withdrawal symptoms which cause you to relapse.

How can dual diagnosis treatment help?

Prior to the 1990s, substance abuse and mental health illnesses were treated as two separate issues. Often patients, who had mental health issues as well as an addiction, were forced to first become sober before receiving treatment for their mental illness. However, research shows that a driving factor for most substance abuse patients was their mental health issue, by treating the two separately; many were denied the help they needed and often relapsed.

With dual diagnosis treatment, you are effectively being treated for both your mental health disorder as well as your substance abuse disorder at the same time. By tackling it as two different problems at the same time, instead of focusing mainly on one, you have a higher chance of recovery. It is important to remember that each diagnosis differs as the spectrum of mental health illnesses is not limited to a handful of conditions. You also need to bear in mind the complexity of the addiction and how it relates to your mental health disorder. It is important that when you seek help from a rehabilitation center, that you find a place that is able to tackle both your substance abuse as well as your mental health problems.

At Connections Addiction Treatment Center, we have a doctoral level clinical therapist as well as medical staff who have been comprehensively trained on both substance abuse as well as mental health disorders. We will do everything in our power to ensure that our patient receives the best treatment possible. When you enter our rehabilitation center, you will undergo psychological, psychiatric and physical evaluations. After your initial assessment we will discuss a treatment plan suited to your specific needs and during treatment you will be taught to focus and prioritize your mind, body and spirit. Our integrated intervention approach will ensure that we review and treat your mental health disorder while simultaneously treating your substance abuse disorder.

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