The term “dual diagnosis” refers to patients who have been diagnosed with coexisting mental disorders and addiction to some type of substance, or other addictive behavior. Many doctors will only make such a diagnosis when both a mental issue and an addiction issue exist at the same time, while others will consider a patient dual diagnosis even if the two conditions occur one after the other. Another gray area concerns the interactions between the illnesses (addiction is an illness). Some doctors will not categorize a condition as dual diagnosis unless the conditions are related to each other.
Dual diagnosis treatment requires both mental health and addiction treatment at a qualified treatment center. For help finding the right program to treat co-occurring conditions, contact Drug Treatment Centers Bridgeport at (203) 612-9630.
Drug addiction itself is considered a mental disorder due to the compulsive nature of an addict’s behavior and the change in their brain chemistry. However, mental disorders like obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression often accompany or develop as a result of drug abuse.
Drug abuse and mental illness are linked for a number of reasons. For one, people suffering mental disorders may have trouble seeking treatment for their condition due to repeated misdiagnosis or a lack of resources. As a result, they may seek self-medication through drug use to ease their symptoms. Likewise, some psychoactive drugs like methamphetamine can induce psychosis or severe depression.
Whether the mental illness or the addiction developed first, it can generally be agreed upon that drug use will worsen a person’s mental and physical health. As a result, it is suggested that addicted people seek dual diagnosis treatment immediately.
Dual diagnosis patients can have complex conditions. Many patients have addictions to more than one substance while also having more than one mental illness. They may also have addictions not related to substances. These can include gambling, pornography, shopping or hoarding. However, there are some combinations that appear more often than others:
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Dual diagnosis treatment necessitates treating any addiction and any mental disorders. People must first be weaned off drugs, alcohol or other substances, and then receive ongoing treatment to address the mental disorder. Residential care is best at the start of this process.
Dual diagnosis treatment will range based on the condition of each individual patient. Health history, mental history, and the severity of their drug abuse will all factor into the way an addict is treated. In general, treatment will start with a full-body detox. Medical detoxification can help ease addicts through the withdrawal process using medication and constant monitoring.
After detox, patients will meet with therapists regularly to address their mental disorders and addictions. Therapy has been shown to be effective with both types of disorders, particularly when the proper medication and aftercare has been offered. Addicts have a high chance of recovering and maintaining sobriety if they stay in treatment and take advantage of support groups like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous.