Inpatient Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder, there is a high risk that you might also receive a diagnosis for a co-occurring mental health disorder. In such a situation, you would typically require dual diagnosis addiction treatment - which is often provided through inpatient treatment programs.

Understanding Dual Diagnosis

Addiction or substance use disorders often co-occur with various behavioral and mental health disorders. When you find yourself struggling with these disorders, you would be said to be suffering from a dual diagnosis. This means that you will need a highly integrated plan of treatment. This is because all of the conditions that you are struggling with have to be addressed since they are connected.

The NSDUH - the National Survey on Drug Use and Health - reports that more than 45 percent of people who are addicted to various intoxicating and mind altering substances also have co-occurring mental health disorders.

The only way to overcome these conditions is to ensure that you check into the right type of inpatient treatment center. By so doing, you will be able to increase your chances of attaining a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle free of all the conditions that you have been diagnosed with.

Mental Health Issues Co-occurring with Addiction

Research has also shown that there are many different behavioral and mental health disorders that often co-occur with addiction. In many cases, these disorders might have caused the substance abuse problem. In other cases, the addiction might have led to the development of these disorders.

To this end, it is recommended that you do not ignore the signs and symptoms of your behavioral or mental health disorders. Doing so could only hinder your recovery in the long term. Instead, you should enroll in an inpatient rehab center that offers dual diagnosis treatment.

Some of the mental health disorders that are often linked to drug use and addiction include but are not limited to:

a) Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)

If you have been diagnosed with ADHD, you might have a high inclination to abuse intoxicating and mind altering substances. This is because these substances can help you cope with the symptoms of your disorder.

Additionally, a doctor might prescribe stimulant drugs to help you deal with your attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Most of these medications are habit-forming. As such, they could lead to a pattern of drug use and abuse that may later give way to an addiction.

b) Bipolar Disorder

Research studies report that more than 50 percent of all the people who have received a diagnosis for bipolar disorder struggle with substance abuse and addiction. Bipolar disorder is like any other mental health condition in the sense that it could tempt you to self-medicate.

This is because alcohol and drugs might temporarily relieve your manic episodes and emotional situations. In the long run, however, self-medicating for this condition could increase your risk of addiction.

c) Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD and addiction also occur together on a regular basis. In fact, about 2/3rds of all Americans with a bipolar personality disorder diagnosis turn to intoxicating and mind altering substances at least once in their lives.

d) Depression

It is estimated that 10 percent of all American adults suffer from some form of depression or the other. If you are diagnosed with this issue, you might try self-medicating your symptoms using alcohol and drugs. However, this will only worsen the problem. This is because the crash that you will experience after these substances wear off could be devastating if you already had pre-existing depression.

e) Others

The other types of mental health disorders that often co-occur with substance abuse and addiction include:

  • Eating Disorders
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (or GAD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (or OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

The NSDUH - the National Survey on Drug Use and Health - reports that at least 45 percent of all Americans receive a dual diagnosis on an annual basis. The same report shows that if you have a mental health disorder, you are almost twice as likely as people without this disorders to also suffer from a co-occurring substance use disorder. In the same way, if you commonly abuse intoxicating and mind altering substances, there is a high risk that you could develop a simultaneous mental health or behavioral disorder.

Although your addiction could also induce a mental health disorder - and vice versa - there are some common factors that could increase your likelihood of suffering a dual diagnosis. These factors include but are not limited to:

1. Brain Responses

Ongoing substance abuse often elicits side effects that are similar to those from mental illnesses. For instance, abusing marijuana excessively could cause you to suffer psychosis - a severe mental health disorder that will make you lose all touch with reality.

2. Genetics

On the other hand, your genetic predisposition could increase your risk of developing a mental health disorder, a substance use disorder, or both. Research studies have also pointed out that genetics could contribute to anywhere between 40 and 60 percent of your susceptibility to drug use and addiction.

3. Environmental Triggers

There are also certain traumatic, anxious, and chronically stressful events that could give rise to substance abuse and mental health issues.

4. Early Exposure

If you start experimenting with mind altering and intoxicating substances at a young age, you might increase your risk of receiving a dual diagnosis later on in your life. This is because these substances would typically increase your risk of suffering brain damage due to the fact that your brain is not yet fully developed.

Signs and Symptoms of Co-Occurring Disorders

The various signs and symptoms of dual diagnosis will vary from one individual to the next. However, they will mostly depend on the severity of your dual diagnosis and the types of intoxicating substances that you have been abusing.

The following are the main symptoms and signs of dual diagnosis:

  • Avoiding social activities and events that you used to enjoy
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Difficulties managing your daily responsibilities and tasks
  • Disillusioned thinking
  • Erratic behavior
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Neglecting your health, hygiene, and wellness
  • Poor performance - that isn't typical of you at work or school
  • Refusing to comply with or even to seek inpatient treatment
  • Struggling with financial management issues
  • Sudden changes in your behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

In case you have recognized any of these symptoms, you should consider enrolling for inpatient dual diagnosis treatment. This is the only way you can get started on the journey to full recovery, as well as increase the chances that you will be able to deal with all the conditions that you are struggling with.

Dangers of Ongoing Self-Medication

As we mentioned earlier, self-medication is one of the risk factors for dual-diagnosis. This means that you would start using alcohol and drugs to mask or temporarily alleviate the signs and symptoms of your mental health or behavioral disorder.

However, turning to these intoxicating and mind altering substances as your primary coping mechanism will not only worsen your condition, it could also lead to addiction. Some of the ways you might try to self-medicate include:

  • Consuming alcohol to reduce your social anxiety
  • Injecting or smoking to increase your motivation and energy so that you can complete your daily tasks
  • Taking benzodiazepines (such as Xanax or Valium) in excess while trying to deal with panic attacks
  • Using marijuana as an attempt to numb any emotional pain that might be arising from grief or trauma

Unfortunately, turning to these substances as an escape from your poor mental health will only cause further harm. If you are struggling with an existing behavioral or mental illness and you start abusing alcohol and drugs, you may get to a point where you use these substances in excess.

In the long term, you will quickly build up tolerance to your favorite substances. As a result, you would have to increase your dosage and frequency of substance abuse to achieve the relief that these drugs cause. This cycle could give rise to addiction - and dual diagnosis.

Dual Diagnosis Recovery and Treatment

If you receive a dual diagnosis, it is recommended that you seek treatment at an appropriate rehabilitation facility. Typically, this will come in the form of inpatient treatment for your substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Although you might develop a mental health disorder before you start abusing alcohol and drugs, there is also a high chance that you might become addicted then start struggling with a psychological condition.

Irrespective of what came first, it is essential that you find treatment plans that are highly tailored to target both of these disorders at the same time. Checking into rehabilitation facilities that treat these conditions separately will reduce your chances of recovery.

Inpatient treatment, in particular, is suitable because it will allow you to access a higher level of care, attention, and medical supervision. You may, for instance, arrive at the rehab center in a state of poor health and distress. In such a condition, you would require help from both addiction and mental health treatment professionals.


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