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Dual Diagnosis Information

Dual Diagnosis Information Guide

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what is dual diagnosis in mental health?

Dual Diagnosis is when a person has an alcohol or drug dependency and a mental illness simultaneously. Dual Diagnosis is mainly used in the context of drug treatment. Each of the two illnesses need to be treated seperately. Either the chemical dependency or the mental illness can develop first. There is a pattern between people experiencing mental health issues turning to drugs and alcohol trying to self medicate. This might seem counter intuitive, but it's mainly due to battling mental illness. Drug abuse can alter the framework of the user’s mind. Drug use alters the user’s brain chemistry which manifests in altered moods, thoughts, and behaviors. Prolonged drug use can make these changes permanent, leading to mental illness.

Dual Diagnosis Information

Dual Diagnosis Information - Drug addiction changes the brain on a fundamental level warping the addicts normal hierarchy of needs. Drug-seeking behavior becomes the sole focus of the addict. The result is compulsive behaviors and the inability to control impulses despite consequences, much like other known mental illnesses.

The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) distinguishes between two types of drug use: drug dependence and drug abuse. Drug dependence is the body's need for the substance, despite negative consequences. Long term addiction results in physical and behaviorial problems. Drug Abuse is when one constantly uses drugs, where it becomes a habit.

It is common for individuals who become addicts to also suffer from mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder. Anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, OCD, phobias and/or generalized anxiety disorder. Other more serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.

Most people do not know that those who are suffering from substance addiction may also suffer from an underlying mental health disorder that can cause their symptoms to become even worse and lead them to a life of pain, suffering and suicidal thoughts. Dual diagnosis inpatient drug rehab centers are the best solution for healing both the mental and physical pain through the effective dual diagnosis treatment models, guidance and support.

In Texas’ Lubbock County, one mother fought for her incarcerated son to be removed from jail in order for him to receive the care he needed for his dual diagnosis of drug addiction and bipolar disorder. She knew her son’s outbursts toward authority figures were caused by some unknown ailment; however, without proper co occurring disorders treatment, he continued to lash out and found himself in jail to suffer from the symptoms of his undiagnosed bipolar disorder. After months of pleading, her cries were eventually heard and her son was placed in a state psychiatric hospital where he awaited a diagnosis from trained professionals.

Common Co Occurring Disorders

About one third of people who suffer from mental illness also turn to drugs.

About one third of alcoholics and one half of drug users report suffering from a mental illness.

Men are more likely than women to develop co-occurring disorders. Individuals belonging to the poor class, military veterans and people with chronic physical illness are also at high risk to need dual diagnosis treatment.

common co occurring disorders

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Treating co occurring disorders starts with an assessment process, patients are examined for physical and mental disorders that may be associated with their addiction. At that time, clinical doctors will also decide whether inpatient or outpatient treatment will best address the patient’s addiction. Discovering co occurring disorders can greatly benefit the client. Without discovering a mental disorder such as schizophrenia or depression, the patient can successfully detox only to relapse later because a disorder was not treated. Co occurring treatment can be expected from top rated dual diagnosis treatment centers.

Patients, when searching for a rehab center, have the option of thoroughly checking a center’s background to make sure that only the most effective rehab services are offered. It all starts with the initial realization that help is needed for an addiction, and then reaching out to top rated dual diagnosis treatment centers and choosing where to begin the process.

Top rated dual diagnosis treatment centers provide the tools necessary for patients to regain control of their behaviors and live a life free from the dependence of stimuli. These programs take place in a rehab center under the constant supervision of medical professionals. Every dual diagnosis program is designed around each patient’s unique and specific needs in order for treatment to be as effective as possible.

Dual diagnosis drug rehab centers begin their programs with a thorough assessment in order to determine the mental and physical well-being of the patients. Following the assessment, patients will undergo a detoxification (detox) process which is the safe removal of all toxic substances from the body. Once patients have cleansed their bodies, they will begin to cleanse their minds with a combination of traditional and experiential therapies. The therapies are designed to teach patients how to recognize their triggers and negative behaviors that contribute to both their addiction and mental health disorder in order to replace them with positive coping mechanisms.

The patient will receive care for both the mental illness and chemical dependency simultaneously. These treatment programs will be individualized, thus they will differ somewhat to fit the patient.

During detoxification the withdrawing addict is monitored 24/7 by a trained medical staff. The staff is authorized to wean the patient off of the substance abused by give tapering amounts of medication to the patient.

Long term dual diagnosis treatment centers have shown to be more effective helping addicts to initially find sobriety. This is because the addict is removed from their normal life and the stressors that might be triggering their drug use and placed in a consistent, healthy environment.

Receiving care at a long term dual diagnosis treatment centers will significantly increase longevity, as well as provide patients with a new outlook on life.

Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Mental and Addictive Disorders

Imagine having a drug or alcohol addiction. Then imagine having a mental disorder like depression at the same time. Hopefully it is difficult to imagine and not a reality in a person’s life. Some people are unfortunate enough to be stricken with both. An addiction, by itself, can be hell to live with. Drugs and alcohol consume the lives of millions of people in the country. As a result, billions of dollars are spent on rehab, legal defenses, and bank accounts are drained because people underperform on the job or simply can no longer hold a job. The impact is devastating and does not seem to be getting any better.

Quite often, afflicted individuals find the courage to admit there is an addiction problem that needs attention. Then there are those who know there is a problem but never see the inside of a rehab facility. Others suffer from mental disorders, unknowingly, and try to drown their feelings of misery or low self-esteem through drug usage or alcohol abuse.

Dual Diagnosis Drug Rehab Centers

Dual diagnosis drug rehab centers are places that handle drug addiction and mental illness. Drug addiction and mental illness are both tough subjects to deal with, especially when it is a loved one who is suffering.

Long term dual diagnosis treatment centers have trained psychiatric professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, therapists or physicians that may be able to help. These individuals are familiar with the criteria a patient must meet to receive co occurring disorders treatment. These individuals are also qualified to design an individualized dual diagnosis treatment plan, increasing the chances of lasting recovery.

Treatment of Dual Diagnosis - Detox Processes

Treatment of dual diagnosis starts with detox. Before any other disorders can be properly addressed a patient’s body must be rid of toxic chemicals. Once this occurs, the patient is ready for additional medications, if needed, and cognitive therapies and counseling that can help them speed toward recovery. The length of detox depends on the severity of their addiction and their particular drug. Not everyone will detox at the same time or finish their program within the same length of time. This is why programs are tailored to a patient’s specific needs.

Developing Co-Occurring Disorders

According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, “Sometimes people may use alcohol or drugs to help cover up or mask symptoms of a mood disorder. This ‘self-medication’ may appear to help, but it actually makes things worse”. Those who are suffering from both conditions may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Compulsion to regularly use the addicting substance
  • Inability to stop using the substance
  • Ensuring constant availability of the substance
  • Obsession with the perceived benefits of regularly using the substance
  • Displaying risky behavior
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Other anxiety disorders
  • Extreme weight loss or changes in appetite
  • Destruction of dental health
  • Impaired coordination and/or speech
  • Lack of motivation
  • Appears anxious, fearful or paranoid for no reason
  • Hyperactivity or agitation
  • Unusual smells on breath, body or clothing
  • Frequently getting in trouble
  • Sudden change in friends or hobbies
co occurring disorders

When mental health disorders or substance addiction are left untreated, they can lead to many detrimental effects on the physical and mental well-being of those who are suffering. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, those living with a mental illness have a significantly higher risk of developing chronic medical conditions, as well as have difficulty thinking or making decisions, irritability, the fear of social situations or leaving their homes, impulsive behavior, inattention, hyperactivity, hallucinations, avolition, repetitive thoughts or behaviors and physical or emotional impairment. Those who suffer from mental health disorders, as mentioned before, often turn to self-medication to ease their symptoms. Self-medication is extremely dangerous and can lead to overdose or death.

When people self-medicate, they run the risk of not taking the correct medication or taking too much and overdosing. The risk of overdose is also increased even if they take a medication correctly because the body will become tolerant to the substance’s effects and need more and at a more frequent rate in order to feel anything. When the user takes more, their chances of an overdose are significantly increased. Additionally, overtime, the body will become used to the substance creating the pain-relieving or mood-boosting receptors that the brain will discontinue its natural production and the body will rely solely on the substance to feel certain feelings. When people use a substance for too long, they will become tolerant and dependent on it; they will no longer be able to function normally without a substance.

AdditionalTreatment for Dual Diagnosis

Using Psychotherapy To Treat Co Occurring Disorders

All effective dual diagnosis treatment models use psychotherapy as part of the patient's treatment plan.
Self awareness is the path to sobriety.
When a person is educated on their illness and how their beliefs and behaviors are influenced by their mental illness they are empowered by self awareness. This empowerment greatly increases the chances of a full recovery and lasting sobriety.

Self - Help And Support Groups Help As Well

It can be challenging and isolating to deal with a mental disorder and chemical dependency. This is why dual diagnosis treatment programs will recommend patients go to support groups to share frustrations, successes, referrals to specialists and tips on how to recover.

The key is not feeling alone.

When the addict no longer feels isolated recovery is accelerated. It is common for people who attend support groups to form friendships and give each other encouragement on becoming sober.

Long Term Residential Treatment Dual Diagnosis

Long term residential treatment dual diagnosis is probably the easiest way to drop an addiction. Basically the longer one stays away from the substance, the easier it is to avoid it.

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