What is Dual Diagnosis?

Oftentimes, people who have a substance abuse problem also suffer from mental health issues, particularly mood disorders. In these situations, treatment and recovery can be complicated, and there is a high risk of relapsing if both conditions are not acknowledged and treated. When an individual has both a substance addiction and mental health concerns, they have what is known as a dual diagnosis.  Typically, the mental disorder occurs first. This can lead people to use alcohol or drugs that help them to alleviate their uncomfortable and distressing symptoms of the disorder. Other times, the substance abuse occurs first later leading to emotional and mental problems.

Fortunately, dual-diagnosis rehab centers such as WhiteSands Treatment Center can provide comprehensive treatment to address all of the barriers to a successful recovery. Seeking care at a dual-diagnosis center can decrease the odds of a relapse and help people to lead a normal and happy life after rehab.

Drugs, Alcohol, and Mental Health

Both addiction and mental illnesses are problems that affect the brain. When you abuse drugs or alcohol, it can cause feelings of intense sadness, hopelessness, mania, insomnia, guilt, and a range of other symptoms that are also common signs of mental health disorders, including thoughts of suicide. The most common disorders associated with alcohol and drug addiction and abuse are anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

Most often, people with a dual diagnosis already had some form of mental health disorder, and they then turned to alcohol or drugs to alleviate or hide the symptoms of this condition. But regardless of which condition precedes the other, they each negatively impact and worsen the other, and neither can be effectively treated without addressing both issues, the aim of treatment centers for dual diagnosis.

A person with a dual diagnosis faces the negative consequences of problems, which can result in the loss of their job, reputation, and future ability to find employment. If left untreated, a dual diagnosis can result in the destruction of relationships, homelessness, behaviors that result in the injury or death of the addict or others, or conflicts with the law. The addiction itself may also lead to health issues such as heart problems or high blood pressure.

When a person has five or more of the following symptoms – including feelings of sadness or loss of interest or pleasure – or if these symptoms interfere with a person’s life, she or he may have major (clinical) depression or mental disorder:

  • Feeling sad / crying a lot
  • Major changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Irritability / anger
  • Worry and anxiety
  • Pessimism, indifference, feeling like nothing will ever go right
  • Loss of energy, constant exhaustion
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or hopelessness
  • Not able to concentrate or make decisions
  • Not able to enjoy things formerly enjoyed, not wanting to socialize
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

How is Dual Diagnosis Treated?

People who want to end their addiction but also suffer from mental health problems will need to seek treatment that is designed specifically for a dual diagnosis. Rehab centers that provide this type of care must be staffed by experienced doctors and mental health professionals. Treatment at dual-diagnosis facilities such as WhiteSands Treatment Center may include the use of medications, counseling, and behavioral therapy and may take place in one-on-one or group sessions. In order for the treatment to be effective, it’s crucial that each type of therapy employed addresses both conditions.

Finding Individualized Dual-Diagnosis Care

When you have a dual diagnosis, it’s especially important to get customized care that addresses the complications that can stem from your unique situation. At treatment centers for dual-diagnosis patients such as WhiteSands Treatment Center, you’ll get the combination of therapies you need to work toward a healthier, happier future. Our personalized approach and highly skilled staff, including board-certified doctors, psychiatrists, and addiction counselors, make us one of the top dual-diagnosis centers in Tampa, and when you contact us, we’ll give you a free clinical assessment to help you on your way toward recovery. Take the first step toward a brighter future:  Call now.