Studies have shown that over half of all individuals who struggle with addictions actually have mental issues along with the addiction. When this is the diagnosis, it is called a dual diagnosis problem or co-occurring disorder. Dual diagnosis means that while a person is struggling with addiction, it may actually be caused by another underlying issue such as depression or bipolar disorder, just to mention a couple. These individuals might be using drugs or alcohol to numb the effects of a mental or emotional disorder from which they are suffering. If you are suffering from a dual diagnosis problem, both issues must be treated.
Treating only Addiction for a Dual Diagnosis Problem
If you have a dual diagnosis problem and only the addiction is treated, you will be more likely to relapse back into drug or alcohol abuse. You may be in recovery from the addiction, however, if you are still struggling with a mood disorder it will make it harder for you to remain in recovery. As long as the mental disorder still exists, you may be tempted to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Unless both conditions are treated, your chances of recovery are not good.
Self-Medicating Only Worsens Problems
If you are self-medicating to mask or cover up your feelings of depression or some other mood disorder, you are problem making matters worse instead of helping. For instance, if you are depressed and feeling sad, you might take an amphetamine or drink alcohol to make yourself feel better and more confident about yourself. Taking a drug or drinking alcohol may help the way you feel for a short amount of time but in the end, you are only making matters worse.
Self-medicating may help for a short period of time but when the effects of the drug or alcohol wear off, you may even worsen your problems. Any type of harmful substance affects the brain. Therefore, by using any type of substance, you can actually worsen the mental disorder. Self-medicating could also delay your dual diagnosis problem being identified. The problem cannot be treated if it can’t be identified.
Treating a Dual Diagnosis Problem
While having a dual diagnosis problem seems overwhelming to the patient, it is completely treatable. A dual diagnosis problem must be treated from the beginning. A good treatment plan must be designed which will address the addiction as well as the underlying cause or causes for the addiction. A counselor or specialist who is qualified in both areas, (mental disorders and addiction) can address both issues simultaneously.
At our addiction treatment facility, we know that each individual is unique and deserves an individualized treatment plan for their specific needs. After an assessment has been made and the patient is confirmed to have a dual diagnosis problem, an individualized treatment program will be designed to fit their needs and preferences. The patient will be treated for the addiction and the underlying mental disorder at the same time.
One-on-One Counseling for Dual Diagnosis
A major part of treatment will consist of one-on-one counseling with a counselor who has had special training in both fields (addiction and mental disorders). One-on-one counseling is completely confidential and the patient can feel free to discuss any issues or traumatic experiences that may have led to the addictive behavior. Our counselors are compassionate and nonjudgmental making it easy to talk and share any information about past experiences with them.
If you think that you may be struggling with a dual diagnosis problem, or may have a loved one who is, contact us to learn more about this problem and our individualized treatment programs. Any of our experienced representatives can answer any questions you may have about treatment plans or any other information about our treatment facility. Call today.