What Does Dual Diagnosis Mean?

Drug abuse and dependence impacts people all over the world. Mental health issues are also a challenge for people. When a person has a problem with drugs, he may feel he has lost control of his life. Dealing with drug abuse or dependence is already challenging, but this condition can be more difficult to manage when it happens alongside other things. When both substance abuse and dependence emerge as a problem, it requires dual diagnosis treatment and support.

Co-Occurring Disorders

There are multiple forms of co-occurring disorders. A person who struggles with them may also have an addiction to substances, including:

  • Depressants
  • Stimulants
  • Hallucinogens
  • Opioids
  • Prescription medications

Mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder may also be present.

Co-occurring Disorders and Mental Health

The impact of a dual diagnosis is in the interaction with each other. Understanding how they work together is complex for each individual. It is often understood in one of two ways:

  • Self-medication: this may be done to ease symptoms of substance use. While self-medicating may temporarily ease symptoms, ultimately it fails to treat the condition
  • Drugs intensify and worsen symptoms of a mental health condition. Drugs interact with brain and body and may put the person in a more vulnerable state. This makes symptoms more intense
  • Drug use can lead to development of a mental health condition due to the impact on the brain from using substances

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Several options are available to treat for co-occurring disorders. The most often used forms of treatment may include:

  • Sequential: treating the addiction or mental health condition first, then treating the other disorder. Treatments may or may not occur at the same facility and are often unrelated to each other
  • Parallel: person receives treatment for both conditions but programs are led by different groups of people, not necessarily related
  • Integrated: comprehensive treatment approach to co-occurring disorders while the person receives treatment for both disorders

Treatment centers for addiction often provide mental health care from psychiatrists and therapists as part of their program. If a person is struggling with dual diagnosis, they need specialized treatment targeting their issues and support for the journey of recovery so they can maintain sobriety and stay clean.

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. We provide a safe space to explore dual diagnosis treatment along with substance abuse disorder programs. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.