Some patients who enter drug and alcohol treatment centers are also plagued with a mental disorder. Dual diagnosis is when both the disease of addiction and a mental illness are present. For some, the mental health issue is prompted by the alcohol or drug addiction, but for many others, the substance abuse problem generates from the need to self-medicate.
Those who suffer with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety or schizophrenia oftentimes find it very difficult to cope with the symptoms of their illness. They use drugs and/or alcohol to manage the psychological symptoms without realizing that these substances only make things worse.
The more that is known about dual diagnosis as it pertains to substance use disorders, the more complex the treatment therapies become. The ultimate goal of any addiction treatment program is to place the patient on the path to recovery and sobriety.
Unless the underlying mental health issue is treated, the addict is susceptible to slip back into old drug abuse patterns. This is why the more medical-minded addiction treatment centers will provide psychiatric care for dual diagnosis patients. This addiction treatment includes medical management of symptoms related to the mental health component, as well as getting to the root of the addiction.
It is suggested that individuals who know that they suffer from a mental illness and addiction, should seek out facilities that specialize in treating multiple disorders. Addiction is brain disease and is classified as such by major medical organizations and governmental agencies.
While not everything is known about dual diagnosis, the National Institute on Drug Addiction put out these statements on shared risk factors that evidence suggests are true of this disorder:
Substance abuse can be devastating to a person’s mental health. Treatment for dual diagnosis requires skilled medical professionals who can oversee that the correct medication is administered for the mental disorder. Drugs and alcohol abuse can also be the catalyst for mental illness. Drug abuse can cause visual, tactile and auditory hallucinations.
Dual diagnosis patients may exhibit impulsive and sometimes violent behaviors. They are also prone to skip or misuse their medication. This is why it is important to seek the help of licensed psychiatrists and drug treatment professionals.
These experts can monitor and administer the right medications during treatment to help the patient manage the symptoms which drive them to abuse drugs and/or alcohol. They also work with patients to assist them in adopting behavioral changes that will help them to avoid the patterns of abuse that fueled the addiction.
If you or someone you love is living with a dual diagnosis, even if he or she has tried and failed in the past to remain sober, please call our helpline today. Each day evidence-based medicine provides new therapies to treat patients with mental illness and addiction.
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