If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, you may have heard professionals discussing a dual diagnosis. This term might sound a little vague, but it actually refers to a specific combination of conditions that can make addiction a little more challenging. Understanding how a dual diagnosis affects a person can provide a lot of insight into the process of overcoming a substance abuse disorder. So what is dual diagnosis? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Dual Diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis conditions, which are also called co-occurring disorders, is a medical term for someone who has both a mental illness and a substance abuse disorder. These two conditions are closely linked because some addictions may cause mental disorders, and some people struggling with mental illness may try to self-medicate with various substances. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, this is a fairly common problem, with roughly 9.2 million Americans struggling with a dual diagnosis each year.
Is Dual Diagnosis More Dangerous Than a Regular Addiction?
Simultaneously having a mental illness and a substance abuse problem is dangerous. The unfortunate reality is that mental disorders can worsen addiction. People struggling with issues like depression or anxiety may not want to quit using drugs because they feel like substance abuse is the only way to manage their condition. Mental disorders can also reduce judgment and encourage people to exhibit risky behaviors, or self-destructive tendencies, so relapsing is more common.
Likewise, addiction can make mental disorders worse. For example, many people with depression abuse alcohol in an attempt to numb their pain, but repeated alcohol abuse causes alterations to the brain that greatly increase risks of depression. However, the good thing about dual diagnosis is that it means you have been properly diagnosed with both the mental illness and the substance abuse disorder. This means you can get the dual diagnosis treatment in Bend, OR, that you need.
How to Treat Co-Occurring Disorders
Treating a dual diagnosis involves treatment for both the addiction and the mental illness. Often, it starts with undergoing detox to clear all traces of drugs from the system. Patients may also get medical assistance with withdrawal, the period of unpleasant symptoms that occurs after they quit using a drug. Then they will transition into addiction therapy programs. These types of programs explore some of the triggers and underlying causes behind addiction, and they also provide techniques for managing cravings and preventing relapses.
Alongside the addiction therapy programs, those with a dual diagnosis will also need to get treatment for their mental disorders. This is critical to maintaining sobriety, and it also helps improve the person’s overall quality of life. Treatment for a mental disorder will vary based on the disorder. It may involve a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Since subjects of substance abuse may come up during mental illness therapy and vice versa, treatment tends to work better when an individual can work with a professional who has experience treating both fields.
At Sunstone Recovery, we have trained specialists who have plenty of experience assisting those who are struggling with a dual diagnosis. Our intensive outpatient programs can help manage addiction while our individual therapy and group counseling give you support for living with a mental illness. Having a dual diagnosis is difficult, but you do not have to let it control your life. The right treatment can make a huge difference. Contact us at 855.833.9199 to start your journey toward sobriety today.