A dual diagnosis is the term used when someone is suffering from a drug addiction or substance abuse problem and a mental health or mood disorder at the same time. A dual diagnosis is more common than most people realize. This is largely due to the fact that mental health disorders and drug addictions can have profound chemical effects upon the brain, and therefore, can interact with one another in intricate and complex ways.
Call Sarasota Drug Rehab at (941) 225-4768 to find dual diagnosis treatment and rehab options for your specific needs.
Certain mental health disorders seem to coincide with drug and alcohol addictions more than others. Again, this is because of the specific ways that both drugs and the mental health disorders affect the functioning and chemistry of the brain. Some of the most common mental health disorders that co-occur with addictions to create a dual diagnosis are:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (also known as PTSD) is a mental health disorder that develops after a person has gone through an extremely frightening or dangerous ordeal that has left the mind traumatized. Many sufferers of PTSD, for example, are war veterans or survivors of domestic abuse or sexual assault. These events altered the way the brain functions, making a person extremely anxious, constantly on-edge or jumpy, and can also cause excessive fear, worry, obsessive thinking, and a fixation on the traumatic event that causes nightmares and other disturbances.
People suffering from PTSD often develop addictions to drugs that fall under the CNS (central nervous system) depressant category or opiate category. CNS depressants are drugs designed to relax and calm a person and can cause them to feel euphoria when taken in certain frequencies and quantities. Many patients with PTSD will overuse or abuse such medications to quiet their minds and make them relax and/or temporarily forget their trauma.
Opiates have similar qualities to depressants but also completely block pain receptors in the body rendering the user pain-free and feeling light and free. For patients with PTSD (particularly who have sustained physical trauma) this effect can be highly desirable and addictive.
Depression is very common among people of all ages and all walks of life. It causes people to feel immense and long-lasting senses of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness. This disorder also makes people feel fatigued and can even cause physical aches and pains.
Many sufferers of depression turn to alcohol and become addicted. Alcohol triggers the release of dopamine when it is ingested. Dopamine is a chemical in the body that makes a person feel contentment, pleasure, and euphoria (essentially everything that is the opposite of depression).
As such, many people suffering from depression attempt to numb their pain by consuming large amounts of alcohol. However, this is not a solution that lasts and can rapidly transition into an addiction.
Treatment for dual diagnosis involves addressing both the mental health disorder and the drug addiction at the same time. Trying to deal with one after the other has proven to be an unsuccessful treatment methodology in the past due to the interactions between the two disorders. Treatments include:
Psychotherapy involves group and individual therapies designed to look at the feelings, thoughts, traumas, and other elements that caused a person to become addicted to drugs and to begin to suffer from a mental health disorder. Therapy treats these aspects and helps the person to heal their wounds and develop coping mechanisms and strategies to overcome their issue and avoid future relapse.
Sometimes mental health disorders require prescription medications to help correct chemical imbalances that contribute to them. As such, psychopharmacology may be used in dual diagnosis treatment to do just that. Special care is taken to monitor patients and regulate the amount and type of medication given to avoid further addictions from developing in the future and to ensure the medication does not trigger relapse.
Behavioral management focuses on actions and behaviors that people engage in that can be detrimental to their mental health and their addiction recovery. The behaviors that can cause or trigger problems are determined and addressed accordingly through behavior replacement techniques or through various coping strategies to avoid a problem behavior from becoming a full-on relapse.
Having a dual diagnosis does not mean that you need to suffer in silence without addiction treatment. Sarasota Drug Rehab can assist you in finding the right rehab and treatment centers you need to manage and treat both your mental health disorder and your drug or alcohol addiction. Call today at (941) 225-4768 to find out more about your various options.