A dual diagnosis refers to any individual who suffers from both a mental health disorder and a substance addiction. Although this condition is not well-known outside of the addiction treatment community, a large number of addicted individuals fit the criteria for a dual diagnosis. In fact, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health suggests that up to 45 percent of American adults with a drug or alcohol addiction also exhibit symptoms of a mental health disorder.
Most of these individuals won’t receive the integrated care required to successfully treat co-occurring conditions. To ensure that you get the best care, call the experts at Drug Treatment Centers, Mesquite at (214)-414-1108.
Any substance addiction and any mental health disorder may occur at the same time in an individual, but certain pairs of disorders occur more frequently than others. Depressive disorders are the most common psychiatric conditions to be paired with substance addiction; in fact, a report in the Journal of Clinical Psychology states that one in three individuals with a substance abuse problem also battles depression.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder marked by recurring thoughts and ritualistic behavior, is another common condition among addicted individuals. According to the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, more than 25 percent of individuals who seek help for OCD also exhibit signs of a substance abuse problem.
Many studies have been done to try to understand the relationship between mental illness and addiction. The results of this research yield few definitive answers: In some cases, mental illness presents first in an individual, while addiction may be the first disorder to occur in others.
Certain chemicals in the brain may have an impact on both mental illness and addiction. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for the euphoric feelings often associated with drug use. Drugs like heroin get converted to dopamine in the body, providing a rush of good feelings for the user.
Prolonged substance abuse can leave some people with an inability to produce sufficient dopamine without the help of a drug; depression or other psychiatric conditions may result. Research by the National Institute on Drug Use (NIDA) suggests that individuals with a genetic predisposition for mental illness are particularly vulnerable to this phenomenon: Drug abuse can alter their brain’s chemistry, which can cause an underlying condition to surface.
Studies also suggest that individuals with a mental health disorder turn to substance abuse to mask their symptoms. According to research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, over 24 percent of individuals with mood disorders used alcohol or drugs to ease their symptoms. These individuals were aware that they had a mental health disorder, and they abused substances as a form of self-medication.
Traditional addiction treatment won’t address both disorders in a case of dual diagnosis. An integrated approach that addresses both the addiction and the mental health disorder is necessary for full recovery. Treatment plans for co-occurring disorders usually involve psychotherapy, medication and behavioral modification. An integrated treatment plan has been shown to result in reduced relapse rates in the months and years following rehab.
Once an individual with co-occurring disorders completes rehab, aftercare services can help them stay on the path toward long-term sobriety. Most aftercare programs emphasize relapse prevention, and they teach participants how to identify and handle triggers that might lead them to use.
Support groups and 12 step programs are among the most common aftercare services; attending these meetings can provide valuable encouragement and support for participants. Many recovering individuals with a dual diagnosis also continue individual or group therapy after they leave the treatment center.
Addicts and family members in Mesquite, TX, contact the drug treatment experts at Drug Treatment Centers, Mesquite at (214)-414-1108.
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