In recent years, more and more research has been done on the ever-growing population of people suffering from the effects of dual diagnosis. In the medical community, the term “dual diagnosis” refers to a person being diagnosed with both a mental health disorder and a drug or alcohol dependency. This phenomenon is not uncommon. In fact, nearly half of those suffering from drug and alcohol dependency have dual diagnosis.
Because mental health and substance abuse issues are often lumped together, many people go years without being properly diagnosed. However, once a dual diagnosis has been identified, one can begin looking for effective treatment in order to give themselves the best opportunity to find a successful recovery.
What is Dual Diagnosis?
By definition, a dual diagnosis is when a person has both an addiction and a mental health condition. These conditions can be wide-ranging, from disorders like mild anxiety or depression all the way to severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more. Oftentimes a person will begin with either a mental health condition or an addiction, and this will lead to the development of the other.
For example, if a person suffering from depression begins to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, they may in turn develop an addiction to the drug they were self-medicating with. This makes dual diagnosis a particularly tricky endeavor, as both the disorder and the addiction often feed off one another. Dual diagnosis symptoms, too, can be wide-ranging, and dependent on a variety of factors.
Signs of Dual Diagnosis
Dual diagnosis symptoms can be relatively easy to identify if you know what to look for. Many experiencing full blown dual diagnosis will have a difficult time coping with everyday life.
Then again, many people suffering from depression and self-medicating with drugs or alcohol are able to go months or years without letting on that they are suffering. Once a person can identify dual diagnosis, they can effectively help their loved ones receive the treatment they deserve. Signs of dual diagnosis include:
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Mood swings or sudden behavioral changes
- Issues with money
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- A loss of interest in once enjoyed activities
Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis
Like dual diagnosis signs, dual diagnosis symptoms vary greatly depending upon the specific disorder and the substance being abused. Dual diagnosis symptoms include:
- Severe tension or stress
- Not being able to concentrate
- Manic or depressive episodes
- Difficulty upholding a job
- Trouble maintaining relationships
- Violent or reckless behavior
Importance of Treating Both Addiction and Underlying Mental Health Disorder
Treatment for both addiction and underlying mental health disorder go hand in hand. One must take both disorders into consideration if one wants to treat either. If one chooses only to focus on the addiction side, the untreated mental health issues can lead to relapse. Likewise, if only the mental health side of things receives attention, one may find themselves falling back into old pitfalls.
By identifying dual diagnosis, one is able to start coming up with a plan of action to address their substance dependency and their mental health condition. Treating both sides of the problem effectively is the best way to ensure a full and healthy recovery.
Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to treat dual diagnosis symptoms. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) allows people to take advantage of the latest pharmaceutical advances to ease their journey to sobriety and peace of mind. Also, contingency management and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are positive treatment plans that can be effective for those with dual diagnosis. Choosing the right treatment option can mean the difference between continued suffering and overcoming dependency.
Find Treatment for Dual Diagnosis in Tennessee
Here at Tennessee Valley Recovery, we are waiting to help you take the first steps in your personal recovery journey. Located in Knoxville, TN, we believe in empowering addiction treatment for lifelong change. Our compassionate and highly professional staff are ready to give you the tools necessary to overcome dual diagnosis once and for all. There has never been a better time to overcome your dependency and mental health condition. Contact our admissions page today, and let us help you reclaim your freedom from dependency.