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Dual Diagnosis: Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Dual Diagnosis: Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Many people with a drug or alcohol addiction also have a mental health condition. People who have depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or other psychiatric disorders often turn to drugs or alcohol to escape reality. The psychiatric disorder and substance addiction are referred to as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.

A person with a mental illness uses drugs or alcohol for the euphoric effects caused by the release of dopamine. These effects are temporary and drugs or alcohol can make the person’s mental illness symptoms worse. Drugs can cause paranoia, increase depression, disrupt sleep patterns, and heighten anxiety.

Drugs also affect a person’s mood and can cause aggressive behavior such as rage, violence, or anger. The intensity of the drug, duration of use, and amount used determine the effects each person experiences. Some drugs can cause lethargy, sleepiness, or delayed responses and reactions.

PTSD is a debilitating mental disorder marked by depression, intense anxiety, and intrusive memories or flashbacks that interfere with daily life. People develop PTSD from military combat, natural disasters, sexual assault, or childhood abuse. First responders are also at high risk of PTSD due to on-scene tragedies, accidents, or crimes.

People with mental disorders often turn to drugs or alcohol to suppress his or her pain. A person abuses drugs or alcohol as a way to seek temporary relief from the reality of daily life. He or she uses more and more to escape painful memories and flashbacks, which increases the risk of drug or alcohol addiction.

People living with PTSD often relive the traumatic event, have nightmares, and can become socially withdrawn. A person with PTSD can feel ashamed or guilty from the trauma and be reluctant to seek help. When a person with PTSD and substance abuse goes to treatment, he or she needs intense support and encouragement from family and friends. A dual diagnosis can be difficult to treat, but recovery is possible.

A person with a mental illness and substance addiction is living with a dual diagnosis and needs to get treatment immediately for his or her mental health and addiction. A medical professional or medical team can monitor and manage the combined treatment and medication if needed. Many drugs can worsen symptoms of a mental illness and cause physical impairment, overdose, or death.

Recovery needs to take place in mind, body, and spirit in order for full rehabilitation to take place with a dual diagnosis. That is why Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a holistic approach to treatment, providing a multi-faceted partial care program rooted in evidence-based therapies, proven healing methods, and 12-step inspired recovery. Call us today for information on our programs for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders: 833-801-5483.