Many individuals who struggle with substance use disorders also struggle with another co-occurring disorder, typically a mental health problem. In most cases, one disorder continually perpetuates the other, resulting in an ongoing spiral that’s often difficult to break free from. If you’ve ever wondered, “what is dual diagnosis?” the experts at Archstone Behavioral Health explain the condition below.
What Is a Dual Diagnosis Exactly?
When a person struggles with two co-occurring disorders — one mental health related and one that involves alcohol or drug abuse — this is referred to as dual diagnosis. Co-occurring disorders are extremely common in individuals with mental health disorders. Nearly half of the people who struggle with depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health problems develop a substance use disorder at some point in their life.
Why Do Co-occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders Happen?
Each individual who struggles with a mental health disorder or a substance abuse problem is different. For some, mental health disorder occurs first, which may drive the person to turn to drugs or alcohol in an effort to numb their feelings. For others, the substance use problem happens first, which may trigger mental health issues as the addiction progresses.
This not to say that when a person has a dual diagnosis, that one disorder caused the other or even that the disorders occur in a progression. Because the psychological underpinnings of co-occurring disorders are different for every person, it’s often difficult to determine why these issues occur together. That said, some possible reasons these conditions happen include:
- Substance use and addiction change the way the brain functions. When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, their brain functions differently. These neuro-cognitive changes often make people more susceptible to developing a mental health disorder.
- Co-occurring disorders have common risk factors. Risk factors for substance abuse problems include trauma, stress, and genetics. Many mental health disorders share these same risk factors.
- People with mental health disorders often try to self-medicate. Living with a mental health disorder can significantly impact a person’s self-esteem and ability to function normally. As such, many people who struggle with mental health issues turn to drugs and alcohol in an effort to cope with their condition.
What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment Like?
People who have dual diagnoses must get treatment for both conditions to have a successful recovery. If one condition is treated without addressing the other, there’s a high likelihood of relapse within a relatively short period of time. That’s why getting treatment from a facility that specializes in both mental health therapy and substance abuse treatment is so important for these individuals.
At Archstone Behavioral Health, we deeply understand how the interaction between co-occurring disorders can negatively affect our patients’ overall well-being. That’s why we provide a variety of therapy programs to suit the unique needs of individuals living with a dual diagnosis. Our programs include:
- Integrated residential treatment
- Integrated outpatient treatment
- Drug and alcohol detox
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Partial hospitalization program
Our knowledgeable and compassionate, masters-level clinicians are well-versed in dual diagnosis treatment. As such, we’re able to successfully address even complex medical cases that require intensive care and high-level expertise.
We take a holistic approach to mental health and substance abuse treatment by also offering unique healing modalities. These include chiropractic care, yoga, faith-based recovery programs, nature outings, and more.
Get Help for Co-occurring Disorders at Archstone Behavioral Health
If you or a loved one has ever wondered, “what is dual diagnosis and can professional treatment help?” our team at Archstone Behavior Health is here for you. Breaking free from co-occurring disorders can be incredibly difficult without knowledgeable, compassionate, professional treatment. Our treatment team is here to help guide you toward a successful recovery, no matter what you’re struggling with. Please know that you never have to suffer in silence. To learn more about our programs or to schedule a consultation with our team, feel free to call us today at 561.631.9478 or reach out to us online.