Mental health issues are often accompanied by other disorders and complicating factors. Unsurprisingly, problems pertaining to mental health– such as depression and anxiety– may occur in tandem with addiction and substance abuse issues. Struggling with both a mood disorder and substance abuse disorder are the hallmark characteristics for a classification of mental health issue known as Dual Diagnosis. Dual Diagnosis is defined as the co-occurring presence of two distinct mental and behavioral health issues, mood disorders and substance abuse. Dual Diagnosis can be especially complicated due to the fact that both substances and persistent mood disorders can influence one another and further complicate one’s underlying mental health. The presence of dual diagnosis requires distinctive therapeutic interventions that focus on addressing one’s separate substance abuse and primary mental health issues.
Evidence suggests that nearly half of all people struggling with a mood disorder or other mental health disorder rely on addictive substances as a means of self-medicating or making the acuity mental health symptoms more manageable. This is most obvious in the example of someone experiencing mania relying on alcohol to mute some of the hyperactive symptoms of his or her disorder. This pattern of behavior is especially dangerous due to habit-forming and toxic nature of drugs and alcohol to the human body.
For a diagnosis of Dual Diagnosis a client must have recurring symptoms that meet both the threshold of a mood disorder and substance abuse disorder. For example, traditional symptoms of depression and mania include but are not limited to the following issues:
- Persistent feelings of hopelessness
- Drastic changes in appetite and sleep
- Recurring thoughts of self-harm and a lack of energy
- Avoiding behaviors and persistent worrying
- Poor impulse control and questionable judgment
- Over-indulgent sense of self and extreme confidence
- Racing thoughts, behaviors and sense of euphoria
- Unusually aggressive and confrontational behavior
Fortunately, Dual Diagnosis is treatable through a range of therapeutic interventions. After completing a detoxification program when necessary, psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy have been shown to be especially effective. Working with a therapist, clients are expected to craft treatment plans for both of their disorders and begin the process of recognizing patterns of poor thought and implementing skills to build healthier behaviors and thinking.
At Resilience Treatment Center clients struggling with Dual Diagnosis benefit from tailored and individualized programming where their mental health disorder is a primary diagnosis. Clients in Resilience’s Residential, PHP or IOP program work with their primary therapist to design treatment plans that address their underlying mental health issues and utilize evidence-based psychotherapeutic interventions to best accommodate their unique needs and cultivate emotional resiliency.