According to NAMI data, 9.2 million people in the United States have a dual diagnosis, but what is dual diagnosis?
If you find yourself searching online for things like “what is dual diagnosis co-occurrence” then maybe it is best to get a quick summary of what a dual diagnosis actually is, how it can help you, and how you can go about finding addiction treatment programs and dual diagnosis treatment near you.
Dual Diagnosis Definition
If you have alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, and you also have a co-occurring mental health disorder, this is known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. These terms are used interchangeably.
The addiction component of a dual diagnosis could involve any of the following, or a combination of these substances:
Of the more serious mental health conditions, those that commonly co-occur with addiction include:
- Major depressive disorder
- Other depressive disorders
- GAD (generalized anxiety disorder)
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Bipolar disorder
- Panic disorder
In the event of a dual diagnosis, it could be either the substance use disorder or the mental health disorder that first develops.
While no two cases of dual diagnosis are alike, with the right personalized treatment, a complete recovery on both fronts is perfectly possible.
What Does Dual Diagnosis Mean?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you previously experienced sustained emotional problems without seeking any kind of treatment?
- Do you find yourself reaching for alcohol or drugs when you feel unhappy?
For anyone answering “Yes” to both these questions, an undiagnosed mental health condition might be triggering your substance abuse.
Self-medicating the symptoms of a mental health condition is inadvisable, though. You may experience temporary relief, but you’ll do nothing to address the root cause of the problem. Over time, you’ll end up inflaming rather than alleviating the symptoms.
While the nature of the link between substance abuse and mental health still needs clarifying, it’s clear that addiction and mental health are closely intertwined. When this problem is untreated, it’s highly likely that both conditions will deteriorate, feeding into each other in a negative way.
What Does Dual Diagnosis Mean in Mental Health
Identifying whether the substance use disorder or mental health disorder came first can be tricky. Indeed, all aspects of unpacking a co-occurring disorder are tricky, but don’t let that put you off getting the help you need.
Sometimes, the nature of the dual diagnosis is more clear-cut. Many people self-medicate the symptoms of PTSD with substances, for instance. Here, it’s the mental health condition that comes first, and it also triggers substance abuse.
Marijuana has been linked to bringing about psychosis and schizophrenia, so if this happens, it is clear that the substance use came first.
In cases of alcohol use disorder and depression, though, the situation is more nuanced and it can be awkward to determine whether excessive alcohol consumption and its adverse consequences cause depression or whether you’re using alcohol to soothe symptoms of depression.
It’s crucial to get an accurate diagnosis for a co-occurring disorder. Often, those with dual diagnosis are resistant to treatment, so more input and support is often required. Here at The District Recovery Community, we can help you with that.
Mental health disorders and substance abuse are often very closely intertwined without one causing the other.
When substances are abused, whether alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs, this can heighten the risk of mental health disorders.
Beyond this, if you abuse substances, you could easily inflame existing symptoms of a mental health disorder, and sometimes even trigger fresh symptoms.
What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
The unique nature of this problem and the almost infinite number of permutations of substances and mental health conditions means there is no one-off solution for a co-occurring disorder.
Fortunately, there are some broad treatment modalities proven effective for dealing with dual diagnosis.
Treatment is typically preceded by a medically managed detox. This allows you to safely detox from the substance involved with as little discomfort as possible.
Medications can also be used on an ongoing basis throughout treatment. These medications are proven effective for treating both alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder, and they have full FDA approval.
Alongside or instead of medication, you’ll engage with the following services:
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- Psychotherapies like CBT or DBT
- Family therapy
- Exposure therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Vocational development
How can you get started, then?
Dual Diagnosis at The District Recovery Center
Now you’re clear on the dual diagnosis meaning, what can you do if you feel you have a co-occurring disorder?
Getting the right level of integrated treatment is key to attack both of these issues head-on. We can help you with that here at The District Recovery Community’s Orange County rehab services.
You’ll first need to detox from substances. If you require a medical-supervised detox, we can help you with that, too.
Once substance-free, you can engage with our outpatient dual diagnosis treatment program. We offer personalized programs at varying levels of care, including IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) and PHPs (partial hospitalization programs).
With a combination of evidence-based medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy, as well as counseling and holistic therapies, you can achieve sustained sobriety and sound mental health.
If your home environment is unsupportive and not conducive to outpatient treatment, inquire with our admissions team about a sober living home.
To get things started the easy way, call us today at 844.287.8506.