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A Guide to Dual Diagnosis and How to Find Treatment

by Dr Prem Community Writer
Dual Diagnosis

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, almost 23 million Americans suffer from substance abuse issues in combination with mental health issues. This occurs because it is common for people who suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders to go undiagnosed and seek out “treatment” in the form of mind- or emotion-altering substances such as alcohol or drugs. If you feel you may be suffering from a combination of mental health and substance abuse problems, this guide can help you determine what your next steps should be.

Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis

Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis

Symptoms of substance abuse, mental health problems, and a potential diagnosis vary greatly, and only you know if you fit any of the parameters. To determine whether you could be at risk, you need to look at each set of symptoms individually. For example, if you have a potential mental health diagnosis, you may notice your moods have extreme fluctuation, you might have difficulty interacting with people, or you could stop sleeping and eating normally.

If you have a substance abuse problem, you may have a higher tolerance for alcohol or drugs than you used to, feel physically unable to stop, or notice that you take more risks when under the influence. While these symptoms alone don’t mean you are susceptible to dual diagnosis, there are some warning signs to look for. Common ones include realizing you’re turning to substances to ease feelings of stress or other negative emotions, if you feel withdrawn from the people you love, or if mental illness runs in the family.

The Rehabilitation Process

rehabIf you suspect you have a dual diagnosis, talking to mental health professionals and substance abuse professionals is essential. Treatment centers used to focus on one or the other, but many have turned to treating the comorbidities in recent years. If you follow a dual diagnosis treatment regimen, you can expect several things. The treatment center starts by assessing your psychiatric health, at which point you may be prescribed medication.

After mental health diagnoses, the center begins the integration of addiction rehabilitation. The type of care will depend on the center you choose. Some take a science-only approach, some focus on holistic healing, and some provide a combination of both. Other options include behavioral modification therapy and relapse prevention education.

Choosing the Right Treatment Center for You

Mental-health-recoveryIt is important to know what to look for when finding a center that can treat a dual diagnosis. When choosing the right treatment options for you, start by ensuring the center is licensed to treat dual-diagnosis patients. Some advertise that they are, but they aren’t actually ready to provide adequate treatment. It is also important to learn what the average length of stay is (aim for finding a three-month program). Finally, consider whether the treatment center includes detoxification, inpatient options, outpatient transition, and aftercare for discharge.

Mental health disorders and substance abuse issues go hand in hand more often than people realize. Both are serious issues, but neither needs to mean you lose your quality of life. With patience, understanding, and the right treatment program, you are more likely to get back on track and live the high-quality life you deserve. Remember, you are not alone!

Article Submitted By Community Writer