One of the reasons why substance abuse is so challenging to treat is because there may be underlying issues complicating the matter. Effectively working through these issues is crucial for a person to achieve sobriety and maintain it for an extended period of time.
Dual diagnosis is the process of identifying all the mechanisms contributing to or complicating substance abuse and addiction, which is key to developing an effective treatment strategy.
What Is Dual Diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis refers to a person who’s been diagnosed with both a mental health disorder and substance abuse/addiction issue simultaneously. Dual diagnosis actually occurs more often than not, and it can make the effects of both conditions significantly worse than if the person had one condition or another.
Do Mental Health Issues Cause Substance Abuse & Addiction?
Not necessarily. However, many people use drugs and alcohol as a way of easing the pain caused by their mental illness. This form of self-medication can evolve into addiction and abuse if the situation persists over time. This is especially true when a person uses highly addictive substances, such as opiates, which carry a high risk of abuse when used over a long time.
Additionally, people subjected to stress and trauma have a higher risk of developing mental health issues, as well as substance abuse and addiction. There is also a genetic aspect to both disorders, meaning that a person with a family history of addiction and mental health issues faces a higher risk of experiencing the same.
While substance abuse can’t cause mental illness, it can cause changes in the brain that make mental health issues more likely to occur. This is often the case when a person abuses substances for an extended period, which can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health.
How Is Dual Diagnosis Treated?
The first step is to cease using drugs and alcohol, which requires addiction treatment. From there, the person must receive extensive mental health counseling to treat the underlying issue, whether that’s depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or some other issue. Both disorders must be effectively treated for the person to overcome the effects of substance abuse.
Dual diagnosis is complex, but Duke City Recovery Toolbox is equipped to help. We begin by providing a diagnosis, so you know exactly where you stand regarding your substance abuse disorder. From there, we develop personalized addiction treatment to ensure you have the best chance at achieving sobriety.