Dual Diagnosis Alcohol and Drug Rehab

In regard to drug and alcohol addiction, dual diagnosis refers to the coexistence of a mental health disorder and an addiction. Substance abuse and addiction can lead to symptoms that are associated with mental illness, and mental illness can lead to drug abuse and addiction. It is estimated that roughly 10 million Americans are affected by dual diagnosis each year. A dual diagnosis alcohol and drug rehab center aims to treat both addiction and mental health illness at the same time.

About Dual Diagnosis Drug Rehab Centers

Dual diagnosis, also referred to as co-occurring disorders or comorbidity, is the diagnosis of a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder. As stated above, dual diagnosis is very common; the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that approximately 10 million Americans are affected by dual diagnosis each year.

Since drug addiction and mental health disorders can affect the brain in similar ways and cause similar side effects, it is vital for people who suffer from a dual diagnosis to attend a drug rehab center that focuses on the treatment of mental illness and substance addiction. With the increase incidence of dual diagnosis in the United States, the demand for rehab centers that focus on the treatment for both types of disorders is rising. Our team of highly qualified experts is dedicated to finding the best dual diagnosis treatment facilities. If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder, please reach out to us today. We can help you find a high-quality treatment center in your area.

The Link between Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse Disorders

Researchers have come to the conclusion that most people who suffer from a mental health disorder also suffer from substance abuse disorder; and vice versa. There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that the existence of one form of these two disorders leads to an increased risk of the other one. For instance, it has been determined that individuals with anxiety disorder are twice as likely to abuse or become addicted to drugs and/or alcohol than those who do not have a mental health illness. The opposite has also been proven to be true: people who abuse or who are addicted to substances are twice as likely to develop anxiety disorder.

Furthermore, it has been found that people who suffer from a dual diagnosis experience long-lasting and more severe symptoms than patients who suffer from only a substance abuse disorder or a mental health disorder. Additionally, the symptoms that patients who are diagnosed with both disorders are more likely to be resistant to treatment.

For these reasons, it is vital for patients with a dual diagnosis to seek treatment at a drug rehab center that focuses on treating both disorders.

According to the research that has been conducted, it’s not surprising that mental illness and drug abuse and addiction are so strongly linked. Both affect the brain in that they alter the structure and function of the brain. The parts of the brain that are affected by drugs and alcohol intersect with the parts of the brain that are affected by mental health disorders, like schizophrenia and depression. This evidence strongly indicates that the changes in the brain that are connected with either substance abuse or mental illness are very likely to affect the course or outcome of the other diagnosis.

Genetic and Environmental Commonalities

Researchers also believe that mental health disorders and substance abuse and addiction may have genetic and environmental commonalities. For example, it has been proven that genetics can make an individual more vulnerable to mental illness and substance abuse. It is also believed that some genes can increase the risk of developing both disorders. In several instances, the interaction of a person’s genes and his or her environment can also impact the development of drug abuse and mental illness.

The role that genetics plays in mental health and substance abuse disorders is believed to largely affect adolescents, as their cognitive facilities are still developing. For instance, if an adolescent who has mental illness in the family starts using a drug, the substance may impact brain development in such a way that the vulnerability to drug abuse and mental illness would become more likely later on in life.

Mental Illness or Addiction: Which Comes First?

While it has been clearly documented that mental illness and substance addiction disorders occur at the same time, the exact nature of the relationship between the two is not clear; however, a few possibilities may exist:

  • Drug and/or alcohol use can lead to symptoms of mental illness
  • Mental health disorders can lead to drug use and abuse; for instance, patients may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to medicate themselves
  • Both mental health and addiction disorders may occur as a result of a common factor

While it is hard to determine the relationship between drug abuse and mental health disorders, it’s very helpful to have an understanding of how addiction and mental illness are linked to each other when developing a treatment plan. Why? – Because the connection between the two can have a direct impact on treatment. For example, anxiety, a specific mental disorder, is known to lead to substance use, abuse, and addiction, an effective treatment plan would need to be centered on correcting the side effects of anxiety in order to effectively correct the dependence on an addiction to a substance.

Determining a Dual Diagnosis is Hardy

A diagnosis of both a mental health illness and a substance abuse disorder is hard to determine. As such, it is also difficult to determine which course of action toward treatment should be taken. The reason why diagnosis is so hard is because the withdrawal symptoms that are associated with substance abuse are often very similar to the side effects of a mental illness. Since the symptoms overlap, it can be difficult to determine how to effectively treat one disorder or the other, as mental health conditions and addiction disorders require different types of treatment. To further complicate matters, many patients who suffer from both types of disorders are reluctant to seek the help that they need.

Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse Disorders Should Be Treated Simultaneously

While the research on how to best treat patients with a dual diagnosis is still emerging, it seems that the foundation for treatment for both should occur at the same time. Nonetheless, treating both at the same time seldom happens in rehab centers. However, with that said, more dual diagnosis treatment facilities are emerging.

The treatment for dual diagnosis can consist of a number of practices and procedures, including:

  • Medication therapies, which are administered to ease the symptoms of both mental health disorders and substance abuse
  • Behavior therapies, which can be used on their own or in conjunction with medications, are also used, and can be an effective way to treat both disorders

If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder and drug or alcohol abuse, high quality treatment at a dual diagnosis rehab center is essential. Contact us today and we will help you find a the best treatment program in your area.