There is no double-edged sword in addiction. But many people with addiction have two knives at their throat. One-half of people with a mental health problem experience a substance use disorder at some point.
This makes dual diagnosis essential for many people with drug issues. Yet few people know about what that means.
What exactly is dual diagnosis? Why do people develop drug and mental health problems simultaneously? What are some dual diagnosis treatment options?
Answer these questions and you can find total freedom from ongoing problems. Here is your quick guide.
Dual diagnosis occurs when an individual has a substance use disorder and a diagnosed mental health condition. The two take place simultaneously, and they affect a person’s life in substantial ways.
Someone may have developed one condition or the other first. It does not matter what kind of disorder or mental health problem a person has. It is possible for people to have more than one substance use disorder and/or mental health problem at once.
Dual diagnosis does not refer to physical health conditions. But it is possible for a physical health problem to trigger or fuel a drug dependency. Some people start using opioids to deal with physical pain and then become addicted.
Yet dual diagnosis can refer to other kinds of addictions. An individual can be addicted to gambling, shopping, and sex in addition to drugs and alcohol.
Several kinds of dual diagnoses have become extremely prominent. Many people with ADHD have become addicted to stimulants in order to deal with their symptoms. Medications for generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder are addictive as well.
Many people with eating disorders try out drugs that suppress their appetite. Cocaine, meth, and other stimulants can make a person feel less hungry for a period of time.
There are several causes for a dual diagnosis, including genetics. 40% to 60% of a person’s vulnerability to addiction lies in their genetic makeup. But self-medication may be the most prominent one.
Most illicit drugs create temporary feelings of euphoria. Substances that do this include cocaine, benzos, and heroin. A person may feel like they are better able to focus and talk to people while they are high.
Drugs can also allow someone to escape their thoughts. While they are on drugs, they don’t notice suicidal thoughts or symptoms of their mental health problem.
These effects cause many people to turn to drugs for support. They focus on the positive effects, not the negative ones. This can deepen their dependency, even as they recognize the negative effects of their substance abuse.
Self-medication is not a solution to a mental health problem. Someone may overdose or get into an accident while they are on drugs.
People should understand the signs of addiction and mental health problems. The signs of each may overlap with each other or make the other problem worse.
Drinking a glass of wine or taking a prescription medication does not mean that a person is addicted. Addiction takes place when a person becomes dependent on a drug in order to perform basic tasks. In order to handle the stress of a job interview, someone may drink or take a pill.
Many people are aware that they have substance abuse problems. But they are unable to cut back on their drug use. They may lie to others about their problems, even as their loved ones express concerns to them.
Physical signs of addiction can include sudden weight loss, bloodshot eyes, and skin discoloration. Someone may feel fatigued, even after consuming drugs. A person may experience mood swings when they are cut off from their supply.
No two mental illnesses are alike. Even within a mental illness like depression, two people may experience different symptoms.
In general, depression involves intense feelings of helplessness. Someone may lose interest in their favorite activities and responsibilities.
Anxiety disorders can also involve feelings of helplessness and a loss of interest. Physical signs of anxiety include feeling restless or “on edge” without any apparent reason.
A dual diagnosis program will treat both co-occurring disorders at the same time. Someone who has not received diagnoses of their disorders can receive ones right away.
Many drug recovery services also help with mental health recovery. They empower a person, letting them pick and manage their own therapies.
Talk therapy can help someone manage the symptoms of their mental health problem. They can talk about when and why they feel anxious and understand the triggers of their disorder. A therapist can educate them on how their co-occurring disorders relate to each other.
Talk therapy can occur in an individual or group setting. Group therapy may feel a little awkward at first. But it can help an individual make friends and learn from other people’s stories.
If someone wants to be active, they can try out physical therapy. A therapist can teach them physical gestures they can make to respond to stress. They can also manage their physical pain that may encourage their drug use.
Someone with a dual diagnosis has a drug dependency problem and a mental health problem. Any kind of drug issue can occur simultaneously with any kind of mental health issue. Many people with depression use benzos to feel better.
Self-medication is a leading cause of dual diagnosis. Someone tries to mitigate the symptoms of their mental health disorder by using drugs.
But the only way for comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment is to confront both problems at once. Talk and physical therapy can be great solutions.
Don’t take half-measures. Enhance Health Group serves the Orange County area. Contact us today.