When a mental health disorder coexists with substance abuse, the condition is referred to as co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. For instance, someone can be addicted to drugs, alcohol or both, and be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (BD), depression, borderline personality disorder (BPD), or panic disorder, among others. Someone suffering from dual diagnosis is said to have two distinct illnesses, each of which needs to be treated separately with a uniquely cohesive dual diagnosis treatment plan to ensure complete recovery.

Studies have shown that either of the two, i.e., a mental disorder or a substance abuse, can surface first. Acute mental illness may drive an individual to turn to self-medication through drugs and alcohol as a means to escape from mental agitation. However, in the long-term, drugs and alcohol only worsen the existing mental condition. On the other hand, substance abuse is known to impact moods, thoughts and alter brain chemistry and behavior adversely.

To recover from co-occurring disorders and lead a happy and productive life, it is important to counter the symptoms of mental illness without falling back on drugs or alcohol. An intensive medical and therapeutic intervention that caters to both the conditions at the same time, also known as integrated treatment, can be the best strategy to deal with this fatal combination. Invictus Health Group understands the complexity of such a diagnosis and offers effective evidence-based treatment plans at its dual diagnosis treatment centers.

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Risk Factors for Dual-Diagnosis

In many cases, a person’s substance abuse may arise from an underlying mental condition, like depression, BD, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, in certain other situations, addiction to drugs and alcohol can predate symptoms of mental illness. Though addiction cannot be attributed to a single cause, a mental disorder may definitely increase the chances of an addiction and vice versa. Some of the risk factors that lead to the development of co-occurring disorders include:

  • Biological factors: Some individuals have a higher tendency to abuse drugs or alcohol due to the changes in brain chemistry and function, triggered by accidents, injury or prenatal exposure to drugs.
  • Genetics: A family history of drug or alcohol addiction can make an individual susceptible to developing substance use problems, which may trigger a mental illness.
  • Past traumatic experience: Traumatic experiences, like physical or sexual abuse or facing a natural disaster, can compel a person to use illegal substances as coping mechanisms. Similarly, a traumatic situation may also distort a person’s mental well-being, leading to significant mental problems.
  • Environmental factors: When a child is exposed to an environment where drug abuse and alcoholism are not considered negative personality traits, they become more prone to developing an addiction problem later.
  • Negative life experiences: A person may develop a mental illness due to the effect of certain types of drugs or alcohol, or as a side effect of a chronic disease.

Living with co-occurring disorders can be painful and difficult. Therefore, to attain recovery, it is important that one addresses the issues that trigger negative lifestyle choices. For this, an individual suffering from dual-diagnosis can opt for comprehensive treatment plans at a credible dual diagnosis rehab or an established  behavioral health center.

Symptoms of Dual-Diagnosis

Given the multiple combinations of co-occurring disorders, the symptoms of dual diagnosis differ widely. Nonetheless, the more pronounced ones include:

  • Sudden social withdrawal
  • Unexpected behavioral changes
  • Uncontrollable desire for substance abuse
  • Inability to perform normally without drugs
  • Indulging in risky substance abuse practices
  • Building high tolerance for drugs and alcohol
  • Engaging in dangerous behaviors under the influence
  • Doing things which one may not do under normal circumstances

Due to the wide range of differences in the symptoms, it is essential to understand the warning signs of dual diagnosis. These include:

  • Severe mood fluctuations
  • Problems in concentrating
  • Inability to think coherently
  • Staying away from social gatherings and friends
  • Suicide ideation or tendencies

If you notice a loved one exhibiting any of these warning signs, seek professional help today at any of our substance abuse treatment centers. Get in touch with Invictus Health Group at our helpline 866-548-0190 and talk to a member of our admissions team for more information about dual-diagnosis treatment options.

Treatment for Dual-Diagnosis

The most preferred method to treat people suffering with dual-diagnosis is the integrated intervention approach. In this, both the mental disorder and the addiction is addressed simultaneously. A certified dual-diagnosis treatment center would first ascertain the mental disorder and the substance abused and then device a personalized plan based on the individual’s genetics, habits, and mental conditions.

Different phases of dual-diagnosis treatment plan

Dual-diagnosis treatment is intense, lengthy, and requires constant monitoring. The different phases in treating a dual diagnosis are as follows:

  • Inpatient rehabilitation: This is ideal for patients suffering from serious mental illnesses and risky patterns of addictions. In this option, they can avail comprehensive and well-monitored medical and mental health care round-the-clock to eliminate addiction including its underlying causes.
  • Detoxification: Detoxification is the first step in any drug addiction treatment program. It helps an individual get rid of the toxins accumulated in the body with years of substance abuse. It also helps manage the withdrawal symptoms and prepare the body and the mind for the ensuing treatment. During detox, the patient is monitored 24/7 by specialized medical staff for a maximum period of seven days. Tapering amounts of the drug abused or its medical alternative might be administered to the patient to facilitate a smooth withdrawal.
  • Medications: Different types of medications are prescribed for addressing different types of mental illnesses. Medications are generally used to reduce the negative impact of withdrawal symptoms and facilitate recovery.
  • Psychotherapy: It involves a series of counselling sessions to make patients aware of their illness and influence their beliefs and thinking patterns to aid recovery and prevent relapse in the future. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective in helping patients transform undesirable thought processes into positive ones.
  • Support groups: Such groups provide a platform for like-minded people to share their experiences, recovery stories, frustrations, and challenges to help others kick their vices. People in such groups also forge strong bonds which help them support their recovery by encouraging them to remain sober and seek appropriate substance abuse treatment in the case of a relapse.

Treatment at Invictus Health Group

Invictus Health Group works with leading dual-diagnosis treatment centers. Each of their residential behavioral health centers are designed in such a manner that they serve as a peaceful “home away from home.” Patients live in a comfortable environment where they do not have to worry about the stresses of everyday life. Some of partner’s facilities are located in gorgeous beach towns, whereas others are surrounded by picturesque mountains. The houses are equipped with modern, comfortable furnishings, with luxurious beds and baths, televisions, and the occasional ping-pong table. Weekly outings are a regular occurrence.

People who choose to work with Invictus Health Group can expect their treatment to last anywhere between 30 and 90 days. All of the partners we work with are equipped with 24/7 crisis intervention and our trained medical staff is available round-the-clock.

We understand how difficult it can be to cope with co-occurring disorders. The clinical staff we work with will be with you every step of the way to ensure that their dual-diagnosis treatment plan meets your expectations and helps you in your recovery process. For more information about our mental health and substance abuse treatment through Invictus Health Group, call our 24/7 helpline 866-548-0190 and speak to our representative. You can even chat online with a member of our admissions team for further assistance.

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