fbpx

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

You may have read or heard that addiction may be started from a person’s efforts to self-medicate a mental illness. While it may not always be the case, there is some truth in the statement. A dual diagnosis means that a person is struggling with not only mental illness but a substance abuse disorder.

How Does It Occur?

It is not uncommon for someone to try to self-treat or self-medicate a mental illness. Someone experiencing depression may try to “lighten the mood” with alcohol or drugs, while others may use them to feel more normal. Some may try to calm racing thoughts with substances. When the use of those substances interferes with normal activities, such as the ability to work or to interact with friends or family, that is a clear indication of substance abuse disorder.

NAMI reports that the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health documented 9.2 million adults were fighting both drug addiction and mental illness in the past year. Co-occurring disorder, or comorbidity, are also terms used to describe someone who is diagnosed with two or more coexisting mental illness and addiction diagnoses. Possible reasons for co-occurring disorders are:

  • Predisposition – multiple genetic factors may cause a likelihood of developing overlapping disorders
  • Environmental triggers – physical or sexual abuse, stress and frequent exposure at an early age to substances

Treatment

The good news is that there is treatment for co-occurring disorders. Both mental health and substance abuse typically require two different treatment protocols, making it a challenge to treat effectively. However, mental health and addiction treatment is more effective when care is integrated. Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment is one of the modalities used to treat both illnesses.

The multi-disciplinary approach can address each illness at the same time and show how and why they co-exist. When one is left untreated, the symptoms of the other can become more pronounced. Finding the right treatment can mean managing both disorders to live a productive and functional life.

Treatment may include therapy, support groups and medication. The medications are important for treating the illness and are not addictive substances that will cause dependence. They will, however, have to be taken consistently, and will likely take several weeks to be fully effective. Taking a physician-prescribed drug to treat dual diagnosis does not mean that you are no longer clean or sober, as they are treating the chemical imbalance in a healthy, measured and controlled way.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact Clean Recovery Centers for help.

 

Sources:

Adult Children of Alcoholics: The Lasting Impact of Their Parents’ Disease

Over 7% of the American population struggles with an alcohol use disorder. Six people die of alcohol poisoning per day. Have you ever wondered how many of these people have children? Or are you one of these former children? If you, like so many others, are the adult...

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System?

Although many people might think otherwise, not all drugs, both illicit and prescription, stay in the body for the same length of time. The second we ingest a drug--through smoking, swallowing or snorting--our bodies begin to break down the chemicals in the drug. When...

Uncommon Effects of Illegal Drugs

Many people who partake in illicit drug use for the first time often do so out of curiosity, not believing or considering in that moment that what was supposed to be a one-time activity can become an addiction. However, drug abuse is a serious problem for many people...

Addiction and Pain Management: No Easy Answers

There are many people in addiction that also suffer from chronic pain. Some became addicted to substances like opioids by using them for pain, either chronic or after surgery of some sort. This creates somewhat of a conundrum. What does someone do for chronic pain who...

Addiction and Marijuana Use

There’s a lot of debate across the country regarding the legalization and the use of marijuana. States where marijuana has been legalized for medical use have increased rapidly in recent years. Many believe that if alcohol is legal then marijuana should be as well.Our...

Addiction and the Family: A Terrible Ordeal

Drug and alcohol addiction is a terrible ordeal for a family. Although other diseases such as cancer powerfully impact families, addiction is perhaps the most devastating.It is always serious when a family member becomes ill. All are concerned for the individual. Most...

The World Is Upside Down, and I Am Addicted! What to Do!

Many feel that the world is turning upside down. We have a global pandemic and now riots and civil unrest in much of the world. For even the most stable person, these are stressful times. For the person suffering with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, it may feel...

Isolation and Addiction

The disease of addiction is a baffling and often lethal disorder. It is a disease of loneliness and despair. Chemicals in the brain that are necessary to feel right are depleted, and depression increases. Without help, the suffering individual uses more and more...

Addiction and Responsibility

Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is a very cunning, baffling and powerful disease. It renders the suffering person essentially useless when it comes to living day to day in a responsible manner. In fact, most of the time the person lives a life that is detrimental to...

What Does It Mean to Have an Addictive Personality?

Have you ever heard of the term "addictive personality"? The term is fairly ubiquitous, and frequently tossed around casually, but what does it really mean and is it an actual thing? Like many things in life, the answers are not always clear-cut and in black or white....