Substance Use

Dual Diagnosis Disorders

LAST UPDATED: August 4, 2022

<h1>Dual Diagnosis Disorders</h1> <p>The term dual diagnosis means the diagnosis of two mental health disorders or substance abuse problems at the same time. People who suffer from dual diagnoses often experience symptoms of both conditions simultaneously.</p> <p>People suffering from dual diagnosis disorders face unique challenges. They are likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health concerns. This makes them more vulnerable to relapse and poor treatment outcomes. This is why it&#8217;s important to find the best treatment providers possible. These providers should be knowledgeable about dual diagnosis disorders. This ensures the best possible results.</p> <h2><strong>What is a Dual Diagnosis Disorder?</strong></h2> <p>A dual diagnosis disorder occurs when someone has both a <a href="https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/co-occurring" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u>mental health condition and another substance abuse problem</u></a>. Substance use disorders include alcohol addiction, drug addiction, and opioid addictions.</p> <p>Mental health conditions include:</p> <ul><li>Depression</li><li>Anxiety</li><li>Bipolar Disorder</li><li>Schizophrenia</li><li>Eating Disorders</li><li>Personality Disorders</li></ul> <p>If you suffer from one of these conditions, you may also be at risk of developing a co-occurring substance use disorder.</p> <h2><strong>Why Do Substance Use Disorders and Mental Disorders Occur Together?</strong></h2> <p>Although these problems often occur together, they don&#8217;t always happen simultaneously. Sometimes, one appears first, while the other follows later. But researchers aren&#8217;t sure exactly how this happens. They think that there are three possible reasons:</p> <p>Common risk factors are:</p> <ul><li>Genetics</li><li>Stress</li><li>Trauma</li></ul> <p>These common risks can lead to both mental disorders and drug abuse. Some genes make you more likely to develop mental health issues, and others make you more prone to abusing substances. Stress and trauma can also play a role. People who experience stressful events tend to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with those feelings. And sometimes, trauma leads to mental illness.</p> <p>Mental disorders can contribute to drug use and substance use disorders. For example, people with psychiatric disorders might use drugs or alcohol to help them feel better temporarily. People with mental disorders might use drugs or alcohol because they&#8217;re trying to treat themselves. This is called self-medication.</p> <h2><strong>The Dangers Of Self-Medication</strong></h2> <p>Self-medicating is one way many people cope with mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Some people use alcohol, marijuana, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, or illicit drugs to treat their mood or sleep issues. Others turn to food to control their emotions.</p> <p>Self-medication can be extremely dangerous. Some people believe that using illegal drugs will relieve their emotional pain. However, research shows that this isn&#8217;t true. Drugs can actually worsen mental health conditions. Also, if you only self-medicate your condition, you won&#8217;t get the referral, medical care and diagnosis that you actually need to move forward.&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Common Mental Health Issues and Addiction</strong></h2> <p>There are several common mental health issues that often coexist with addiction. People suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, ADHD, and schizophrenia are more likely to develop addictions, such as alcohol abuse, later in life. These conditions can make it harder to recover from an addiction because the brain changes associated with each disorder can affect how we think, feel and behave.</p> <h2><strong>Warning Signs Of A Co-Occurring Disorder</strong></h2> <p>Co-occurring disorders are mental health conditions that often accompany another disorder. Examples of co-occurring disorders include anxiety and depression. People who suffer from one of these disorders often experience additional issues such as mood swings, poor self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. Some people even develop multiple disorders simultaneously. These problems can make it difficult to function normally in everyday life.</p> <p>Many people don&#8217;t realize that they&#8217;re suffering from a co-occurring disorder until they receive treatment for their primary disorder. But it&#8217;s important to know what to look out for because early intervention is key to helping someone recover. Here are some <a href="https://blogs.iu.edu/sharedsolutions/2021/01/04/the-dual-diagnosis-dilemma/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u>warning signs</u></a> you might see in yourself or someone else.</p> <ul><li>You have trouble controlling your emotions.</li><li>You have difficulty managing stress.</li><li>You have trouble sleeping.</li><li>You have frequent mood swings.</li><li>You have trouble concentrating.</li><li>You have trouble making decisions.</li><li>Your relationships are strained.</li><li>You have low energy levels.</li><li>You have trouble getting along with others.</li><li>You have trouble maintaining friendships.</li><li>You have trouble completing tasks.</li><li>You have trouble keeping up with work responsibilities.</li><li>You have trouble remembering things.</li><li>You have trouble thinking clearly.</li><li>You have trouble focusing on details.</li><li>You have trouble following through on plans.</li><li>You have trouble staying organized.</li><li>You have trouble eating healthy foods.</li><li>You experience periods of hyperactivity.</li></ul> <h2><strong>What are the Treatments for Dual Diagnosis?</strong></h2> <p>Many individuals with <a href="https://webarchive.library.unt.edu/web/20201219013548/https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/medications-counseling-related-conditions/co-occurring-disorders" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u>co-occurring conditions</u></a> are often misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly. This leads to a cycle of relapse and failure, which usually begins when someone tries to manage one problem without addressing the other.</p> <p>While many individuals develop an addiction to substances like alcohol or drugs before being <a href="https://www.drugabuse.gov/nidamed-medical-health-professionals/tool-resources-your-practice/screening-assessment-drug-testing-resources/chart-evidence-based-screening-tools-adults" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u>diagnosed</u></a> with a psychiatric issue, others become addicted afterward. Some people experience symptoms of a mental illness long before developing drug use problems, while others begin abusing drugs or alcohol before experiencing certain symptoms of a mental illness.</p> <p>The best way to treat co-occurring disorders is to address each condition individually in a customized treatment plan, but most people don&#8217;t know how to do that. Instead, they tend to approach either addiction or mental illness separately, treating one condition without considering whether it might exacerbate another.</p> <p>In the case of a dual disorder, the structured and safe atmosphere of an inpatient rehabilitation facility can be very helpful. Patients typically spend several weeks receiving intensive therapy and medication management, followed by longer periods of recovery.</p> <p>People with co-occurring issues tend to arrive at rehab in different stages of emotional distress. They&#8217;re often physically unwell and suffering from insomnia, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, delusions, flashbacks, nightmares, and severe mood swings.</p> <p>A dual diagnosis can require the help of both mental and physical health specialists. Addiction counselors can provide support during detoxification and teach coping strategies that reduce cravings and prevent relapses. Mental health experts can provide insight into the root causes of the patient&#8217;s behavior and offer advice on improving overall well-being.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you or a loved one suffers from a dual diagnosis, call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439 or fill out our<a href="https://zinniahealth.com/contact" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u>contact form</u></a> to learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment options. Professional, quality help is available to help you on your path to recovery at a treatment facility near you to address their substance abuse treatment needs with mental health professionals.</p> <p>There are many ways to help people with dual diagnoses, including medication, therapy, and support groups.</p> <h3><strong>Medication Therapy for Dual Diagnosis</strong></h3> <p>The medications available to treat a dual diagnosis depend on the actual conditions a patient has. People with coexisting mental illnesses may need more than one medication to control their symptoms. Medication choices depend on the specific condition being treated. Some common medications may include:</p> <ul><li><strong>Antidepressants</strong>: Antidepressant medications work by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Serotonin helps regulate moods, while norepinephrine controls arousal. When these chemicals are low, people feel depressed. In some cases, antidepressants may also help alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.</li><li><strong>Antipsychotics</strong>: People who suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or schizoaffective disorder may benefit from taking <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/33832406" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u>antipsychotic medications</u></a>. These medications can stabilize moods and control psychotic episodes. However, they can cause side effects such as weight gain, drowsiness, and dry mouth.</li><li><strong>Anxiolytics</strong>: Anxiolytic medications are used to treat anxiety disorders. Examples include benzodiazepines, which have sedative properties, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which increase levels of serotonin in the brain. SSRIs are effective for treating OCD, PTSD, and generalized anxiety disorder.</li></ul> <h3><strong>Dual DiagnosisBehavioral Therapy</strong></h3> <p>Psychotherapy can be effective for people with dual diagnoses. It helps them understand their mental illness and learn how to manage symptoms. Therapists also help clients develop coping skills so they don&#8217;t fall back into old habits.</p> <p>There are many different types of behavioral therapies that psychotherapists utilize for patients with a dual diagnosis. The most commonly used ones include:</p> <ul><li><strong>Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)</strong>: CBT focuses on teaching patients new behaviors and thought processes to cope with their problems. This type of therapy works best when combined with <a href="https://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/etd/1177/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u>other treatments</u></a>.</li><li><strong>Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)</strong>: DBT teaches patients to identify negative emotions and unhealthy behaviors before acting on them. By identifying triggers, patients can avoid falling into bad patterns again.</li><li><strong>Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)</strong>: IPT helps patients improve relationships with family members and friends. It teaches them to recognize and change destructive interactions.</li><li><strong>Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)</strong>: MBCT teaches patients to focus on the present moment and accept things as they are. They learn to notice thoughts without judging themselves or others.</li><li><strong>Motivational Interviewing (MI)</strong>: MI is an intervention technique that encourages people to make positive changes in their lives. It&#8217;s based on the idea that people will only change if they want to do so.</li><li><strong>Problem Solving Skills Training (PSST)</strong>: PSST teaches patients problem-solving techniques to deal with life stressors. It helps them develop strategies for dealing with difficult situations.</li><li><strong>Self-Management Skills Training (SMST)</strong>: SMST teaches patients to monitor their own behavior and adjust it accordingly. For example, if someone has trouble controlling impulsive behaviors, he or she learns to plan ahead and set limits.</li><li><strong>Social Skills Training (SST)</strong>: SST teaches patients to interact appropriately with others. It teaches them to communicate effectively and express feelings.</li></ul> <h3><strong>Support Groups for Dual Diagnosis</strong></h3> <p>A support group can be a great way to connect with other people who are going through similar experiences. It also provides a safe space where you can share your thoughts and feelings about your diagnosis without judgment or criticism.&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong>Counseling</strong></h3> <p>There are different types of counseling that might be involved in your dual diagnosis treatment. These include:</p> <ul><li><strong>Individual Counseling</strong>: If you&#8217;re having difficulty managing your symptoms, individual counseling might be helpful. Individual counselors usually specialize in one area of psychology, such as addiction treatment, eating disorders, or depression.</li><li><strong>Group Counseling</strong>: Group counseling is another option. These groups are often led by trained professionals who have experience working with people with a dual diagnosis.</li><li><strong>Family Counseling</strong>: Sometimes families struggle with a dual diagnosis. In these cases, family counseling can provide support and guidance. Young adults in particular might benefit from substance abuse and mental health family counseling.</li></ul> <h2><strong>Helping a Loved One With a Dual Diagnosis</strong></h2> <p>The road to recovery is often a bumpy ride. For those struggling with addiction and another mental illness, it can feel like being stuck in a rut. But there are ways to navigate the obstacles and make progress toward lasting sobriety.</p> <p>In many cases, people with dual diagnoses struggle with resistance to treatment — refusing to seek help for either addiction or mental illness. They may believe that they&#8217;re too ill to recover, or think that seeking help will hurt others around them.</p> <p>First, try to understand why your loved one isn&#8217;t ready to change. Accept that he or she may not agree to seek treatment. If your loved one continues to resist treatment, consider talking to a doctor or therapist about options for managing his or her symptoms. A psychiatrist might prescribe medications to treat depression or anxiety, or a psychologist could recommend cognitive behavioral therapy.&nbsp;</p> <p>Continue to speak with them and advocate for their care. There are different levels of treatment available, including inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization for their mental health problems and drug or alcohol use.</p> <h2><strong>Get Help For A Dual Diagnosis</strong></h2> <p>If you’re struggling with addiction, finding the right treatment program can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Find one that offers evidence-based treatments. This includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, family counseling, and contingency management. These types of therapies have been proven to help people overcome mental health diagnoses and addictions.</p> <p>Look into the facility’s history. The most reputable facilities have had success helping others successfully address their issues. If possible, find out how long the facility has been around, what kinds of clients they treat, and whether they work with other organizations.</p> <p>If you&#8217;re struggling with a dual diagnosis, there are several resources available to help you get better. Zinnia Healing can help you get the treatment you need. Call our helpline at (855) 430-9439 or fill out our online <a href="https://zinniahealth.com/contact" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u>contact form</u></a> to learn more about dual diagnosis treatment options. We utilized an evidence-based approach to treating a wide range of mental health disorders and substance use disorders.</p>

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