Dual diagnosis, also called co-occurring disorders, is when a person has mental health disorders and substance abuse disorder. When this occurs, it is necessary to seek treatment for both conditions at the same time. A dual diagnosis treatment program can create an opportunity for improving health. At Amatus Recovery Centers, it is one of the services we offer.

How Does Dual Diagnosis Happen?

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. For example, a person with 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 dual diagnosis is occurring. 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 symptoms of pain, anxiety, and illness when a person stops using them. The cravings are so intense they make it nearly impossible for a person to stop using the drugs on their own.

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

What Happens in a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program?

Treating one disorder without the other is not effective. The first step is to have a full assessment to determine what treatment is best for the individual 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 a person 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 accessible for dual diagnosis.

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 teaches about all conditions, how to spot their symptoms, and how to control their onset. This is done by learning triggers, working through relationship struggles, and improving communications. Therapies such as the following help:

Take Advantage of Available Help – Call Amatus Recovery Centers Now

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