When a person is struggling both with substance addiction and mental health problems, it is called a dual-diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder. Dealing with alcohol and/or drug addiction has never been easy, and can be even more difficult if the person has to deal with a mental health issue as well. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments that are available for a dual-diagnosis issue. With the appropriate treatment program, self-help strategies and support, a person with dual-diagnosis is able to take back the control over their life.
Either of the substance abuse and the mental health problem may come first. If a person is struggling with a particular mental issue, he or she may use alcohol or drugs to feel better. Or if a person has a substance abuse problem, it may lead to mental health problems such as, anxiety, depression, anger or a bipolar disorder.
In addition, those people with mental issues may also be less self-conscious and they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such us consuming higher amounts of alcohol and drugs, which may quickly lead to alcoholism and drug addiction. Furthermore, people with mental health issue may struggle with weakened judgment. Substance addiction together with psychological problems such as bipolar disorder and depression can be difficult to diagnose. It takes time to determine which problem causes the other one.
One of the major issues that complicate the dual-diagnosis treatment is denial. Denial is a common characteristic of a person with a substance abuse problem. It can be hard for these individuals admit the effects of alcohol and drugs in their life. The problem of denial may also occur in mental health disorders. The effects of depression, anger or anxiety can be terrifying, so the person may ignore the effects and continue to abuse drugs or alcohol. Or they may be afraid of the judgments once they admitted their problem.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
The best way to treat a dual-diagnosis is to treat both problems at the same time. If a person with a co-occurring disorder don’t get treatment, both problems may get much worse. Treatment may not be effective if the person only treats one problem, but if both problems received the proper treatment, patients will have a better chance of success in recovery.
Most of the time, the first step to treatment is the detoxification process. During the detox process, patients will be able to get rid of the alcohol and drug residue caused by their substance abuse in the past. Patients will experience withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, headaches, insomnia, irritability, seizures, delirium tremens and/or hallucinations. Therefore, it is important to undergo the detox process in a medically supervised facility to avoid major complications. The detox process is commonly followed by different kinds of therapies and medicine. Patients will most likely to engage with individual and group therapies.