When a person is diagnosed with both a substance addiction and a psychiatric condition, they are said to have a dual diagnosis (or, co-occurring conditions). A variety of psychiatric conditions can occur alongside a drug or alcohol addiction: Obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are some of the more common examples. A large number of dual diagnosis cases involve some form of depressive disorder.
It’s important to remember that an individual with a dual diagnosis has two distinct conditions, and each condition requires its own treatment strategy. For information on specialized treatment options, call Garland Drug Treatment Centers at (972) 536-2109.
The incidence of co-occurring disorders is fairly high in the United States. Research from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that up to 45 percent of American adults with a substance addiction also exhibit symptoms of a psychiatric disorder. While nearly 9 million American adults suffer from co-occurring disorders each year, only a small percentage of these people will receive the appropriate treatment for both conditions.
Because of the complex relationship between substance addiction and mental illness, it can be difficult to identify the two co-occurring disorders and make an accurate diagnosis. Some individuals experience the onset of addiction first, but others may develop a mental health disorder before an addiction. For individuals with symptoms of anxiety and depression, drugs and alcohol offer an easy form of self-medication.
Unfortunately, substance abuse only masks the symptoms of a mental health disorder, and it often makes the condition worse. In these individuals, it doesn’t take long for a psychological and physical addiction to form. When substance abuse occurs first in a person, the challenges of dealing with an addiction can cause psychological trauma that sets the stage for a mental health disorder.
Traditional addiction treatment isn’t the appropriate choice for a patient with co-occurring conditions. Most rehab programs aren’t designed to handle the complexities of co-occurring disorders. It’s important to locate drug treatment centers that offer an integrated program: This type of treatment plan provides therapies that address both conditions.
Integrated treatment plans for co-occurring disorders have been proven to be more effective than standard addiction treatment, and they also reduce the risk of relapse in the future. Integrated treatment plans will usually include a combination of psychotherapy, medication and behavioral therapy.
Addiction specialists and mental health professionals agree that it’s critical to treat both co-occurring disorders at the same time. Pharmacological therapy is most effective when the combination of medications treats both the addiction and the underlying mental health disorder; for example, a patient may be prescribed an anti-addiction medication along with an anti-depressant.
Support groups also play a key role in the treatment of co-occurring disorders. Interacting with other people who are battling the same disorders can help participants feel less isolated.
Addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease. The risk of relapse is particularly high when a person is struggling with both an addiction and a mental health disorder. Once individuals leave rehab centers, aftercare services can help reduce the risk of relapse and stay sober.
The focus of most aftercare programs is relapse prevention: Participants learn how to identify potential triggers and develop coping techniques to deal with them. Individuals also learn how to prevent a minor lapse from derailing their recovery efforts.
For many recovering individuals, continued therapy and medication is needed to keep them on track after their initial treatment is complete. Support groups that cater to dual diagnosis patients are another valuable resource for people in recovery.
To learn more about specialized treatment options that include integrated therapies for treating dual diagnosis of mental health disorders and drug addictions, call Garland Drug Treatment Centers at (972) 536-2109.