What is a Co-Occurring Disorder (Dual Diagnosis)?
When you are in the midst of an active addiction, it can feel like an uphill battle. While you know that your substance abuse has become a growing concern and recognize the impacts that it has had on your life, the stronghold of drugs and alcohol keeps you in a constant cycle of substance abuse, and want to seek help to overcome it creating an inner battle within yourself leading many to feel alone in how to safely and effectively heal from the impacts of addiction. Similarly living with an ongoing mental health or behavioral health condition can have similar impacts on a person without the proper treatment and coping strategies. The symptoms and side effects of mental health disorders can be debilitating for those who are not provided with essential treatments for mental health and develop healthy methods of managing and coping with symptoms.
There are a large number of Americans who are facing both struggles with substance use disorder and mental health conditions at the same time. Experiencing the negative impacts of both of these conditions can present challenges and difficulties in the ability to maintain daily functioning leading many to feel as though there is little hope of finding balance within their life again. However, there is support available through specific methods of treatment that will ensure that you are able to put your history of substance abuse in the past while also gaining the ability to develop effective tools to manage any presenting side effects of your mental health condition allowing you to have balance and stability within your life.
A dual diagnosis is a form of treatment that focuses on supporting individuals in addressing and healing from the underlying causes of their addictive behaviors while also placing a focus on treating their mental health concerns. In order to undergo treatment for a dual diagnosis, requires a complex and comprehensive approach that understands the intricate workings and impacts of both disorders. Often those living with a dual diagnosis will experience a cycle of substance abuse and worsening symptoms of mental health that both tend to exacerbate the severity of each other. With the support of a dual diagnosis treatment center, patients are able to receive the appropriate levels of care for both co-occurring disorders all within the same recovery facility. This has historically not been so widely available with many having to attend addiction treatment first without having access to appropriate mental health conditions. That created barriers to patients’ success in their recovery journey which is why the progression and availability of dual-diagnosis treatment centers have allowed patients to have a holistic healing experience that focuses on health, sobriety, balance, and stability. A dual-diagnosis treatment center invites patients to develop the skills and coping tools that will support them in creating a new lifestyle that fosters sobriety and optimal mental health management.
Common Mental Health Conditions Experienced with Addiction
Many people living with an active addiction to drugs or alcohol will often be living with an ongoing mental health concern at the same time. Due to the symptoms of these mental health conditions, if you are not equipped with the proper treatment and tools to manage the varying side effects of your mental health condition, many will turn to drugs and alcohol as a method of self-medicating. That is why it is so important that those living with a mental health condition are offered the necessary support and treatments that will enable them to manage their cooccurring disorder through healthy, natural methods that will lead them away from turning to drugs and alcohol as a form of coping. Being equipped and prepared with healthy coping strategies will help to ensure that you are able to maintain long-term addiction recovery.
Common mental health issues that individuals living with addiction may face are:
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by mood swings often going from having feelings of mania and exhibiting signs of manic disorder and then entering into depressive states where individuals experience significant lows and symptoms of depression. The changes in moods are often triggered by anxiety, depression, and stress. In an effort to reduce the onset of severe symptoms from Bipolar Disorder, many will turn to alcohol or drugs in an effort to self-medicate and attempt to regulate their emotions. However, the presence of substances will often lead to worsening symptoms of Bipolar Disorder creating a cycle of abuse and deteriorating symptoms.
Depression is a mental health disorder that impacts the lives of over 17 million Americans each day. The impacts of this mental health disorder can have significant impacts on a person’s ability to maintain a healthy daily lifestyle. The crippling side effects often make it challenging to manage even the smallest task with many being unable to find the ability to get up each day to attend to responsibilities or face day-to-day activities. Depression is accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, irritability, sadness, despair, and panic attacks along with having an increased risk for suicidal ideations or behaviors.
Approximately 90% of dual-diagnosis patients will be living with depression and an ongoing substance use disorder. In an attempt to mitigate the severe side effects of depression, many will turn to substance abuse as a method of coping and self-medicating. However, due to the chemical components and depressive factors in many substances, it will often lead to worsening symptoms of depression.
There are many forms of treatment available for depression. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it is important that you speak with your doctor who will be able to assess your mental health needs and offer appropriate forms of treatment.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders among Americans. The symptoms of this disorder create significant challenges for people in being able to maintain daily functioning as it leads to a lack of impulse control, difficulty focusing on or completing tasks, mood swings, and an inability to manage stress. ADHD is often treated with prescription drugs that have stimulant effects that help someone to be able to gain focus and clarity and thoughts. However, these substances can become habit-forming and, in some cases, people living with ADHD will turn to illicit substances as a way to manage their symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms of ADHD, speak with a physician who will be able to offer behavioral therapies and other safe forms of treatment for ADHD that will provide stability in your life without running the risk of becoming dependent on substances to manage.
Anxiety disorder impacts approximately 31% of the population within the United States. The symptoms of anxiety disorder will often lead to an inability to regulate your emotions or experiencing heightened levels of fear, panic, or anxiousness. Having these heightened emotions can lead to problems in facing day-to-day activities including any social setting, completing routine tasks, or impacting a person’s sleep patterns. In an effort to manage these crippling emotions and side effects, many will turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate and regulate their emotions. This often leads people down a vicious cycle of substance abuse and worsening symptoms. If you are facing symptoms of anxiety disorder, there are effective forms of treatment available. A doctor will be able to provide you with medical treatments and behavioral therapies that will enable you to mitigate the severity of your symptoms and maintain stable, emotional regulation.
What are the Treatment Options Available for Co-Occurring Disorders (Dual Diagnosis)?
An effective treatment program for those living with a co-occurring disorder is to focus on treating the root causes of your addiction while also providing appropriate treatment methods to support in mitigating the symptoms of mental health disorders. A key component of a dual diagnosis treatment program is to support individuals in gaining the coping skills and tools for maintaining long-term addiction recovery and appropriately addressing any symptoms resulting from their mental health condition with various therapies and coping strategies.
Treatment options available within a dual diagnosis treatment center can include the following:
Engaging in addiction counseling will support you in addressing the underlying causes of your addictive behaviors allowing you to gain an understanding of your triggers and effective coping strategies to safely move through any presenting triggers. During this time, your counselor will help you identify how your co-occurring disorder may have influenced your addictive behaviors and establish methods to identify and overcome the symptoms through healthy, natural coping methods.
This form of therapy works with patients on an individual basis through one on one counseling that will have the therapist support patients in exploring emotions, thoughts, and actions that have contributed to their addictive behaviors. This form of therapy is often ideal for patients that have expressed past psychological distress or trauma as it will work with you to begin the process of re-wiring your brain and its thought processes and emotional regulation. Patients will be able to break the self-destructive thought processes by gaining new behavioral responses and patterns that will foster long-term addiction recovery and stability in mental health.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most popular methods of addiction therapy utilized within addiction treatment programs. CBT is an effective treatment method for dual diagnosis treatment as it works with patients to learn how to identify problematic behaviors and thought patterns that continue to exacerbate their mental health symptoms and substance abuse. Through CBT sessions, patients will work with their therapist to identify patterns of behaviors and thoughts that can be triggering or contributing to their addiction. CBT will support you in developing effective tools to manage behaviors and reduce the severity of triggers when they present themselves allowing you to remain focused on maintaining sobriety and overall health and wellness.
Depending on your specific substance of choice, there can be a significant physical dependency that is established throughout your addiction. In order to help patients safely and effectively overcome their physical dependency on substances, there are specific medications that physicians can offer that help mitigate the severity of withdrawal symptoms and reduce the onset of drug or alcohol cravings. Medications provided are non-habit forming and are used over a short-term period to help patients get through the initial recovery stage.
Alternative Methods of Treatment
Many treatment programs will utilize holistic forms of therapy that place focuses on healing from addiction through natural healing methods such as meditation, yoga, physical exercise, and mindfulness practices. These methods of healing can be used within the treatment center but also can be utilized once you transition home from your treatment program. All of these alternative methods of treatment will help to restore your physical health through physical exercise and movement while also supporting patients in learning how to stabilize any triggers through safe holistic practices. These methods of treatment will help patients to learn how to ground themselves when triggered and develop new emotional regulation techniques that will help minimize any impulsive behaviors and reduce the onset of anxiety.
Engaging in physical activity not only helps to strengthen your physical abilities, but it also supports patients in finding healthy outlets when feeling stressed or triggered. Those who engage in physical exercise are also able to mitigate the symptoms of a co-occurring mental health disorder as it has been proven to reduce the symptoms of disorders such as depression or anxiety. When you engage in physical exercise, your body will naturally produce endorphins which allow patients to experience positive, feel-good emotions that help to minimize the adverse side effects of your mental health condition.
How to Get Help When Struggling with Mental Health and Addiction
Although many in active addiction that are experiencing distressing symptoms of a mental health condition can feel as though there is little support to overcome the negative impacts of dual disorders, it is important to remember that there is hope to get the help you need when you are living with dual disorders. If you are ready to get the support you are seeking, take the time to speak with a physician or counselor about your intentions and hopes of receiving the support of a treatment program. You will have the option of choosing between varying levels of care including an inpatient rehab program or an outpatient treatment program. Before making the decision of what route to take for your treatment program, take the time to identify what your goals for recovery are and speak with the addiction treatment center to ensure that your goals and needs from a recovery program will be addressed with the support of evidence-based therapy methods. Getting help is a commendable choice to make and it is important that you reach out to your loved ones for support while also taking care of your needs as you prepare to make the life-changing journey toward healing, personal growth, and recovery.
TruPath is Ready to Help Address Co-Occurring Disorder (Dual Diagnosis) Issues
Throughout your time in active addiction and ongoing mental health struggles, many people feel alone in their journey. When you seek out the support of a dual diagnosis treatment center and program within TruPath, you no longer need to feel alone in your recovery journey. Patients within our recovery center are offered the highest levels of care from, our licensed and highly qualified addiction therapists and counselors. Your unique circumstances with addiction and mental health disorders deserve to be treated within a treatment program that offers individualized care and treatment plans. Our team is dedicated to getting to know you and your goals for healing and addiction recovery. Your story deserves to be heard and treated with the utmost respect and dignity. That is why you will be provided with individualized care and a personalized treatment program that is centered around each patient’s unique circumstances and goals. Our goal within each patient’s treatment program is to provide a meaningful and healing experience that invites patients to explore what has been the driving force for their addictive behaviors and support patients in developing the tools to maintain long-term addiction recovery while stabilizing their mental health through healthy coping strategies. If you are ready to begin your healing journey, contact our intake team today to take the first step towards your new life of health, wellness, and sobriety.