Addiction and mental illness are two sides of the same coin for many people. It’s especially true for those who suffer from what is known as a dual diagnosis or a co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorder.
When left untreated, these disorders can feed into each other, creating a never-ending cycle of despair.
Fortunately, dual diagnosis treatment centers specialize in treating both disorders simultaneously. These facilities are equipped to deal with the unique challenges of creating a dual diagnosis.
What is a Dual Diagnosis?
A dual diagnosis is when a person suffers from mental health disorder and an addiction. It’s important to note that a dual diagnosis is different from having a mental illness and using drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate.
With a dual diagnosis, mental illness and addiction are independently diagnosable conditions that require treatment. The mental disease may precede the dependence or vice versa. Either way, both disorders need to be treated at a dual diagnosis treatment center for the person to recover.
Common Mental Health Disorders That Lead to Addiction
Many mental health disorders can lead to addiction. Some of the most common include:
People with anxiety disorders often turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. As such, substances can help temporarily relieve anxiety symptoms, such as racing thoughts, rapid breathing, and sweating.
While substances may offer short-term relief, they will ultimately make the anxiety worse in the long run. It’s because substance abuse can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
Like anxiety, depression is another mental illness that often leads to substance abuse. People with depression may turn to drugs or alcohol to escape the negative feelings associated with their condition.
Substance abuse may provide temporary relief from the symptoms of depression, but it will ultimately make the condition worse. It’s because substance abuse can lead to feelings of isolation, guilt, and shame.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that is characterized by extreme mood swings. People with bipolar disorder may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the highs and lows associated with their condition.
While substances may offer temporary relief, they will ultimately worsen the condition. It is because substance abuse can trigger manic episodes and exacerbate the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a mental illness caused by exposure to a traumatic event, such as combat, sexual assault, or natural disasters. People with PTSD may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety associated with their condition.
While substances may offer temporary relief, they will ultimately worsen the condition. It’s because substance abuse can lead to feelings of isolation, guilt, and shame.
How a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center Can Help
Treatment centers specializing in dual diagnosis are equipped to deal with the unique challenges of treating a co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorder.
These facilities typically offer various services, including individual therapy, group therapy, and medication management. They may also offer holistic therapies, such as yoga and meditation.
To Sum It Up
Dual diagnosis treatment centers provide a comprehensive approach to treatment that addresses both the mental health disorder and the addiction. It’s important because it allows people to recover from both conditions and avoid a relapse.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a dual diagnosis, please reach out to a treatment center today.