What are Dual Diagnosis Programs and How Can They Help?

What are Dual Diagnosis Programs and How Can They Help?

It’s unfortunate, but many individuals find themselves facing addiction due to self-medicating negative aspects of life. While it’s easy to assume that every drug addict has gotten to where they are due to abusing drugs or alcohol for pleasure, often times it’s more than just the party scene that gets individuals to use in the first place. For almost half of the entire population of individuals in the United States living with addiction, mental disorders are diagnosed in congruence with substance abuse disorder. And, since mental disorders can affect behaviors and thinking patterns once treatment concludes, it’s imperative that they are addressed throughout treatment. For these instances, dual diagnosis programs are offered to address both conditions simultaneously.

What are Dual Diagnosis Programs?

It’s not only common that individuals struggling with addiction have congruent mental disorders, but it’s rare when they don’t. In fact, according to Results from the 2014 National
Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7.9 million Americans were diagnosed with both a mental disorder and substance abuse disorder. And that’s just the people who got help.
Mental health issues can either arise as a result of drug abuse or they can be the initial cause of developed drug abuse. Either way, mental disorders and substance abuse issues usually tie together. And, if left unaddressed during treatment, mental health issues may become triggers to relapse once treatment concludes. For this reason, it’s imperative that those getting treatment for drug or alcohol addiction who are also diagnosed with mental health issues to get help with a dual diagnosis program. These programs are designed specifically for individuals diagnosed with both conditions so that specific behaviors and methods are used to prevent relapse and successful sobriety may be obtained.

Commonly Diagnosed Mental Health Issues in Addiction Treatment

Most individuals getting help for an addiction to drugs or alcohol don’t know they have mental health issues. And, they find out upon their initial assessment before enrolling into a program. The most commonly diagnosed disorders of those with substance abuse disorder include:

Clinical Depression: This condition is characterized by 3 or more consecutive months of experienced symptoms like sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and hopelessness. Often times, individuals diagnosed with depression may sleep too much, eat too little, and/or develop apathy for past interests.

Generalized Anxiety: Individuals diagnosed with this condition portray symptoms of anxiety and agitation which are debilitating to everyday tasks and responsibilities. This condition is also characterized by experienced “panic attacks”, which are severe episodes of anxiety which can mirror the pain and fear heart attacks cause.

Bipolar Disorder: This condition is characterized by two chronic stages. The first is of major depression. The second is a manic stage in which individuals may feel more euphoric, creative, energetic, and even more impulsive. Individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder can have mixed stages, portray only one stage, or vary between manic and depressive stages.

Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and Bulimia Nervosa are all eating disorders commonly diagnosed in individuals who concurrently live with substance abuse disorder. While they all differ by characterization, they all stem from unhealthy eating habits developed to manage mental symptoms or issues.

PTSD: Trauma can lead to developed addiction by utilizing drugs or alcohol to soothe the negative emotions or flashbacks which can come from experiencing a traumatic event. Those diagnosed with PTSD have experienced trauma which has affected the way an individual goes about day to day activities.

Think that You May have a Dual Diagnosis?

If you or a loved one may be suffering from both a mental health issue and substance abuse disorder, dual diagnosis programs may be effective in helping to establish true, effective sobriety. To get the help you need today, call The Lily Pad of St. Augustine at 561-758-1011.

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