It is frustrating enough to experience the hopelessness, despair and other feelings associated with a substance use disorder. A co-occurring mental health disorder can lead to even more confusion. You know you need treatment, but do not know whether to turn to a mental health program or substance abuse program. Discover how you or your loved one can find help and hope at a dual diagnosis treatment program.
Occurrence Of Dual Diagnosis Disorders
Dual diagnosis disorders occur much more frequently than one might think. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published research results clearly demonstrating the prevalence of dual diagnosis disorders. For example, results from the National Epidemiological Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions found that 60 percent of “adults seeking treatment for substance use disorders have mild to moderate mood or anxiety disorders.” The knowledge that substance use disorders and mental health disorders are often intertwined also comes from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which states:
- “A person experiencing a mental health condition may turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication to improve the troubling mental health symptoms they experience.”
- “Abusing substances can also lead to mental health problems because of the effects drugs have on a person’s moods, thoughts, brain chemistry and behavior.”
- “Either substance abuse or mental illness can develop first.”
It is not necessary or important to try to determine whether the substance abuse or the mental health disorder came first. What is important is to get treatment as soon as possible.
Dual Diagnosis Programs Offer Help And Hope
Dual diagnosis treatment facilities treat both the mental health and co-occurring substance abuse disorders. Treating both disorders simultaneously is crucial, as explained by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, which says, “When neither illness is treated, one illness can make the other worse.” Treating only one disorder will most likely not result in long-term treatment success because “when only one illness is treated, treatment is less likely to be effective.”
Similarly, the NIH points to research demonstrating that while substance abuse treatment facilities may operate with funding and staff to meet the needs of individuals suffering from substance use disorders, they do not “meet the needs of those whose substance use disorders co-occur with severe mental disorders.” Some programs may provide services to those with less severe co-occurring disorders. Individuals with co-occurring mental health symptoms subsequently often get referred to mental health treatment programs.
How Can A Dual Diagnosis Treatment Facility Benefit Me?
A dual diagnosis treatment program can benefit you by simultaneously providing you with treatment for both your substance abuse disorder and your mental health disorder. The dual diagnosis treatment facility staff as well as others in the program understand the difficulties of suffering from both mental health and substance use disorders and know what you go through. The professionally trained staff at dual diagnosis treatment programs has the expertise to guide you through the treatment process and to show you that there is hope and help for you through a dual diagnosis program.
Let’s Get Real about Dual Diagnosis Disorders
Do you drown your depression in a bottle or at the local bar? Do you smoke yet one more joint or blunt to calm down because a family member or the boss keeps upsetting you? Do you seek out friends using street drugs to get away from people who you feel are out to get you? Did you previously participate in counseling and stopped going because you feared the therapist might smell the alcohol on your breath?
If you can answer “Yes” to any of these questions, you may suffer from a dual diagnosis disorder. If so, treatment for your dual diagnosis disorder will likely provide you with your best chance of sustained recovery.
I Don’t Get It – What is a Dual Diagnosis Disorder?
MedLine Plus, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) website explains that when an individual suffers from a dual diagnosis disorder, that person suffers from both a mental health disorder as well as a substance abuse disorder. MedlinePlus further explains that alcohol and drug problems tend to occur together with the following mental health disorders:
- Personality Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
In the article, “Co-occurring disorders,” HBO adds the following to the mental health disorders that frequently occur with substance use disorders:
- Attention deficit hyperactive disorder
- Conduct disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar disorder
One important fact about dual diagnosis disorders, pointed out by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is that “People with mental health disorders are more likely than people without mental health disorders to experience an alcohol or substance use disorder.”
Another crucial point about dual diagnosis disorders is that you can have more than just one of each type of disorder. In discussing this important point, Psychology Today says, “A diagnosis of co-occurring disorders occurs when at least one disorder of each type can be established independent of the other and is not simply a cluster of symptoms resulting from the one disorder.”
How Do I Know Which Disorder Occurred First?
While it may seem important to you, it really does not matter whether your mental health disorder or your substance abuse disorder occurred first. What matters, as explained by Help Guide, is that “Both the mental health issue and the drug or alcohol addiction have their own unique symptoms that may get in the way of your ability to function, handle life’s difficulties, and relate to others.” Help Guide also points out that the disorders interact with each other, however, “One does not directly cause the other.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also says that “Either substance abuse or mental illness can develop first.” and that using alcohol or other drugs worsens the symptoms of the mental health disorder.
Because of the way that one disorder interacts with the other and the fact that using alcohol or other drugs potentially worsens the mental health disorder symptoms, it is crucial that a person suffering from dual diagnosis does not enter into treatment for drug addiction but not mental health, or treatment for mental health without simultaneously receiving drug treatment.
Why Do I Need Treatment for my Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders at the Same Time?
Several sources point out issues with treating one disorder but not the other when a person suffers from dual diagnosis.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) explains that when an individual receives treatment for one disorder but not the other, there is a risk of unsuccessful treatment. On the other hand, when receiving treatment for both disorders, “The chances for a full and lasting recovery are greatly improved, and it is easier to return to a full and productive life.”
If you suffer from co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders, obtaining treatment for one but not the other will not give you the comprehensive treatment that you need. An integrated treatment approach, meaning that you receive treatment for drug addiction and treatment for mental health at the same time, offers you or your loved one the greatest opportunity to get clean and stay clean.
Treatment programs that offer treatment for dual diagnosis provide you with the integrated and individualized approach you need to have the best opportunity to treat your addiction issues and mental health disorder(s) simultaneously. All it takes is one call to get started on your way towards getting off the roller coaster of treatment for only one disorder or suffering with no treatment at all when you actually need comprehensive treatment for dual diagnosis disorders.
A Dual Diagnosis Doesn’t Have to Be the End
Some people genuinely believe that receiving a dual diagnosis of a drug addiction and a behavioral health problem means their future is grim. They think it is going to hold them back from having fun at parties with friends and may hinder their relationships with others. This, however, isn’t the case. Those who receive a dual diagnosis may need to alter their lives a bit, but it definitely doesn’t mean the rest of their life is over.
Help is Available
The patient has to remember that he or she isn’t alone in the battle. He or she has help available to guide him or her through the entire process. This means he or she has all the resources available to make a recovery. As long as the person is compliant, he or she has the potential to achieve the best level of health that’s possible. Dual diagnosis rehab centers provide both drug and behavioral therapy and other services to assist the patient. The patient just needs to be involved and reach out to the dual diagnosis rehab centers at any point to discuss any problems, and they have the ability to not only discuss it but help the patient through it as well.
Others Live Normal Lives
Approximately four million people have a dual diagnosis, many of which have gone through a program at one of the a dual diagnosis rehab facilities throughout the nation and made a full recovery. If other people can do it, it’s possible. All the evidence a person needs is the fact that other people have done it in the past.
It Won’t Be Easy
If the patient is looking for an easy way out through one of the dual diagnosis rehab facilities in the area, it won’t happen. The process takes works. It takes a person to be dedicated and even make sacrifices. The saying, “Anything worth having is worth fight for” holds true when suffering from a dual diagnosis.
Focus on the Positive
Yes, having a dual diagnosis means the patient can’t partake in substances if he or she wants to recover from both. The drugs and alcohol only mask the problem. They can also make the problem worse. And it can lead to a huge setback in recovery. Not to mention, many of the medications used to treat mental health conditions have harmful side effects when taken with alcohol or drugs. Instead of focusing on the drawback of not being able to abuse a substance, the patient should be focused on the positive of having a better mind frame, especially if he or she was battling depression and anxiety, which has the potential to affect all aspects of a person’s health.
More to Life
There’s more to life than binge drinking and using drugs. Sadly, when a person is under the influence, he or she doesn’t realize that. However, there are plenty of people to meet and places to visit, so a person has so much to explore. When he or she is sober, it makes this even more exciting and memorable. The person can truly appreciate these activities. Plus, the patient will have more money when he or she isn’t ‘abusing a substance, so he or she can partake in even more than ever before.
Maintaining a Relationship
It’s possible to maintain a relationship after a dual diagnosis. It’s important for the patient to continue treatment and for the significant other to know and understand. It should never be something that the patient tries to hide. Eventually, if the person has a diagnosis, it will become known and can lead to other problems in the relationship if it was never discussed.
RehabinNYC.com is to provide individualized addiction & dual diagnosis holistic treatment programs in a safe and therapeutic environment. We are focused on providing comprehensive treatment to adult men and women suffering from alcohol abuse, substance abuse and addiction. RehabinNYC.com offers a continuum of care from full day treatment options to evening outpatient with high standard gender specific residential accommodations.