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The terms dual diagnosis and co-occurring disorders are used to describe those who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder as well as a substance abuse disorder where both conditions are intertwined with each other. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that nearly 30% of people diagnosed with mental illness also suffer from drug or alcohol abuse. These studies show that people struggling with both mental health and substance use diagnoses achieve the highest success rates when both disorders are treated simultaneously.

At TruHealing Centers, we use unique programming and treatment modalities to effectively treat all co-occurring disorders so our patients can achieve sustained sobriety. Our staff of certified and licensed professionals provide patients with the right resources and care to effectively treat both mental health and addiction disorders. Unfortunately, many mental health programs do not offer effective integrated treatment for these types of co-occurring disorders; however, at TruHealing Centers, our staff understands, and programming is built to address co-occurring disorders.

The underlying causes of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety can be related to, or many times be the actual reason a person may begin abusing drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse and mental illness can feed off each other, making it especially important for an individual with a co-occurring disorder to seek a professional treatment program that understands and is equipped to treat them.

When Is Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders Necessary?

Often, it is impossible to know which came first – the mental health disorder or the addiction. A person with a mental health disorder like depression or anxiety may turn to alcohol or other drugs to reduce their symptoms. This is called self-medicating. For example, a person who has experienced trauma may use alcohol as a way to stop seeing flashbacks.

In other cases, the addiction brings with it the symptoms of mental health disorders. This is common in people who are predisposed to mental health disorders due to genetics or chemical imbalances. In either case, dual diagnosis can seem alarming and difficult to manage. Yet, even with co-occurring disorders, treatment can be very effective.

What Are the Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders?

It’s not always easy to know when a co-occurring disorder arises. It is even possible for therapists to overlook the presents of both conditions because of how intertwined they can be. Some of the most common symptoms of co-occurring disorders include:

  • Needing a drug to function
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, and activities once enjoyed
  • Being unable to control use, or using more than intended
  • Using alcohol or drugs to deal with emotion or stress
  • Sudden changes in behavior especially restless behavior

Another key concern is withdrawal. Addiction and dependence on drugs bring on intense pain, anxiety, and illness when a person stops using them. The cravings are so intense that they make it nearly impossible for a person to stop using the drugs independently.

Some people have extreme personality changes or may experience hallucinations. A break from understanding reality is also possible. This may indicate a crisis. A co-occurring disorder, in this case, becomes a condition that needs treatment quickly.

What Happens in a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program?

Treating one disorder without addressing the other is not effective. The first step is to have a full assessment to determine what treatment is best for individuals with co-occurring disorders. This includes determining what type of mental health disorder is present. Commonly this includes depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder.

Once a full diagnosis is complete, treatment begins. It may include stabilizing the individual first. This may be done through a detox treatment program. Most people benefit from a residential treatment program as well. In some situations where treatment is accessible, and home life is stable, a partial hospitalization program may be the right choice to treat co-occurring disorders.

That’s when the work starts. Those with co-occurring disorders work through a range of treatment therapies. These may include medications to balance the mental health disorders, especially when chemical imbalances are the cause. Medications can also help to ease withdrawal symptoms from addiction.

Over time, a dual diagnosis treatment program helps participants learn about their conditions, spot their symptoms, and cope with triggers. Therapies such as the following can help with this process:

Take Advantage of Available Help – Call TruHealing Centers Now

Co-occurring disorders can limit a person’s ability to overcome addiction. Dual diagnosis is a highly effective and necessary treatment capable of restoring balance and improving life quality. To learn more about our co-occurring disorders treatment program at TruHealing Centers, call our team at 833.631.0525 or connect with us online.

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