Dual diagnosis is when a patient is determined to have two coexisting conditions, including a mental illness and a dependence on drugs or alcohol. These mental illnesses can include depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, any of which can lead to a chemical dependence to seek relief or aggravate an existing substance abuse problem.
Dual diagnosis treatment can be very complicated since both conditions require simultaneous treatment. Many dual diagnosis treatment programs involve group therapy or intensive residential care, wherein the patient will live at a medical facility while undergoing therapy or drug rehab.
Studies suggest that almost 18 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from a serious mental illness, with around 4 million of those people also suffering from a drug or alcohol dependence. There is also a large portion of addicts who have a dual diagnosis that goes undiagnosed.
Drug Treatment Centers Shreveport has the skills to evaluate patients for any underlying mental illness that may accompany the addiction. Call (877) 804-1531 for more information.
Mental health disorders and addiction feed off one another. The National Bureau of Economic Research has found a clear connection between mental health and substance abuse, with mental health disorder sufferers accounting for 38% of alcohol consumption, 40% of cigarette consumption, and nearly half of all cocaine consumption. Some common mental disorders that aggravate addictive behaviors include eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, and more mood-based disorders like depression, anxiety, and OCD.
Sufferers often self-medicate to cope with their illnesses, or remain undiagnosed and unaware that they even have a disorder in the first place. Some are also mistrustful of doctors or unable to obtain proper healthcare and thus resort to home remedies like binge drinking or smoking to cope with their symptoms. Post-traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD) has also been found in many dual diagnosis cases, with many survivors of violence, rape, or abuse turning to drugs and alcohol to escape painful memories.
As mentioned, many sufferers of mental health disorders seek respite in drugs or alcohol, but this road goes both ways. Substance abuse can aggravate or reveal mental health disorders already existing in the patient that otherwise might have been manageable or unnoticed. Alcohol, for instance, is a depressant, meaning it literally induces a depressed state in the brain if consumed in large quantities.
Alcohol addiction can also lead to poor decision making, wherein an intoxicated person may say or do something that they won't want to deal with later when sober. They drink to escape the guilt and the downward spiral continues. It's important to recognize these patterns early so they don't develop into full-blown addiction and physical dependence later on.
In Shreveport, LA, there are many doctors who are versed in the subject of dual diagnosis. Guerin Counseling, Woodlake Addiction Recovery Center, and Riverview Behavioral - Self-Harm Treatment both offer effective treatment plans for many kinds of mental illness and addiction. Most treatments involve psychotherapy, a basic "talking method" approach to mental health issues which involves communicating openly with your therapist, who can provide exercises, insights, and behavioral adjustments you can make to better improve your state of mind.
Psychopharmacology is also a major factor in most dual diagnosis drug rehab programs, wherein a careful selection of medications are employed to help treat the various symptoms of each problem. Psychopharmacology requires weeks or months of careful fine tuning to create the best prescription for your particular needs, so patience is a necessity.
Addiction and mental health issues cannot be "cured" in the traditional sense. The brain, once addicted, becomes rewired to seek its chosen substance, and urges can continue to crop up even years later. Likewise, mental health issues like depression are often a lifelong struggle, with sufferers enjoying the good times and managing the bad. It's important to understand that a dual diagnosis is simply an ailment, and like any ailment it can be managed. With the sympathy and help of professionals, you can overcome any dual diagnosis.