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Dual Diagnosis

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2014 showed that roughly 20.2 million adults in America suffered from addiction to substance. Around 7.9 million adults in this group also had a co-occurring mental health problem that was occurring at the same time as their substance use disorder. Dual diagnosis treatment centers in South Dakota are certified to help people who suffer from co-occurring disorders.


What is a Dual Diagnosis?

Someone with a dual diagnosis has symptoms of a mental health disorder such as depression along with an addiction or substance use disorder. Addiction is classified as a mental disorder, and when two mental disorders occur at the same time in an addiction case, a dual treatment approach is required for treatment.  Rehab centers in South Dakota treat both mental illnesses simultaneously for a lasting recovery to be realized. It is likely that if only the addiction was treated that the other mental illness will trigger substance abuse again or if only the mental disorder such as depression is treated then the substance addiction could cause the symptoms of depression to return


Common Types of Co-Occurring Disorders

There are several mental disorders that commonly occur with substance use disorder. There are various reason as to why they occur together so often, namely as a way to self-medicate or substance abuse bringing out underlying mental disorders that may not have occurred without drug and alcohol abuse. 

The following shows examples of commonly occurring mental disorders:

Addiction and Anxiety

Anxiety disorders such as panic attacks can sometimes feel crippling for the person suffering from them. It is common for people to try to use drugs and alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Alcohol abuse is common as the abuse of alcohol can suppress the anxiety for short periods. Eventually, the symptoms of anxiety become worse as the effects of the substance wear off, bringing on even more anxiety.

Addiction and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Many veterans suffer from PTSD; statistics from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs show that as many as 2 in 10 veterans with PTSD also have substance use disorder. They use alcohol and drugs to self-medicate the sometimes-crippling symptoms of PTSD. When there is substance use disorder present, the long-term effects of the substance use negatively effects their PTSD.

Addiction and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is characterized by irrational fears and habits that can cause a distressed turn of mind as the behaviors are uncontrollable. Self-medication is common with the use of alcohol and other drugs. It can help them with their anxiety and give the person temporary freedom from their symptoms. As the effects of the substance wears off, the unruly thoughts return and ultimately make the symptoms worse.


Treatment for Co-Occurring Mental Disorders

If a person is given a dual diagnosis, they will often undergo detoxification initially at a rehab center to start their treatment. Detox only helps to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms for physically addictive substances so that therapy can begin. After detox, the patient will enter in therapy such as behavioral management and cognitive-behavioral therapy to deal with their mental disorders. The use of medications is often beneficial to the patient the help create a normal, functioning balance to the brain’s chemistry where it is lacking. The treatment can be carried out through outpatient or inpatient programs depending on the needs of the patient. 

During the treatment process, the patient will be given tools to deal with trigger situations that can lead to relapse in their future. These relapse prevention skills are crucial to maintain sobriety and abstinence over an extended period of time.

If you feel like addiction is making you lose control of your life, don’t wait one more day. Reach out to an addiction specialist today.