Dual diagnosis is a condition where someone suffers from a mental illness and addiction simultaneously. It is quite common, and it’s estimated that over 7.9 million Americans suffer from it. The reason behind this large number is the lack of treatment for people with mental health disorders. As a result, this concern predisposes those affected to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
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Dual diagnosis is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are often overlooked. Besides, it is tough to single out the exact cause of dual diagnosis in every person. However, what’s clear is that those who have some mental disorder tend to be dependent on drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. When self-medication manifests for an extended period, people develop substance addiction. The substances become part of their life, requiring them to function ‘normally’ every day. The only treatment is substance addiction therapy.
What Mental Disorders Are Associated with Dual Diagnosis?
Some common mental illnesses include addictive personality disorder, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, trauma/PTSD, OCD, personality disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD, eating disorders, and somatic symptom disorder. Each of these disorders calls for different methods of treating the underlying condition.
What Causes Dual Diagnosis?
Excessive use of drugs and alcohol can contribute to dual diagnosis. The reason is that addiction isn’t something anyone would be proud of, and often, people struggling with it will try to quit. The shame of their social image and the stigma associated with their addiction can cause issues if they don’t seek mental health treatment.
This issue can quickly escalate, driving them over the edge, and subsequently, developing mental illnesses once they become addicted. When disorders grow out of control, substance use tends to increase heavily, creating a vicious cycle of dependence.
Other factors that contribute are biological, physical, psychological, and environmental factors. These factors are thought to be the leading causes of concurrent mental disorders and substance addiction.
Biological factors, also known as genetic factors, can cause substance addiction or mental health disorders. A child developing a dual diagnosis, born from parents struggling with disorders and substance addiction, is highly probable. The reasoning behind this is that genetics plays a massive role in the child’s life. How they handle mental health issues or substances in their lives can be dictated by genetics.
The chances of an addicted parent passing on the trait to their children are high. Likewise, the chances of a mental disorder being passed down to a child are high. During their life, an adult addict’s child is likely to develop signs of addiction.
Physical factors, such as physical health and financial issues, can also contribute to dual diagnosis. Terminal illnesses, for example, are life-threatening, and the thought of dying can be daunting, thus predisposing someone to mental disorders. It can also predispose the individual to substance abuse as a method of coping with pain. Without the right support and counseling, either the addiction or mental health issues can lead to dual diagnosis.
Besides, economic hardships and financial issues can contribute to dual diagnosis. Financial problems may ensue after experiencing job loss, and these concerns can lead to mental disorders and substance addiction. Those facing economic hardships tend to abuse drugs in an attempt to ‘escape’ their cruel reality.
If the situation prevails, it can easily lead to dependence and addiction. Likewise, financial problems can lead to depression and other concerns of mental illnesses, which can easily predispose someone to self-medicate. It also leads to addiction if not checked, contributing to dual diagnosis.
It is common for people with psychological disorders to resort to substance abuse to feel better. This ‘feel better’ concern is often referred to as self-medication. Self-medication leads to addiction because drugs lead to abnormal secretion of neurotransmitters in the brain, making the user feel high. Most people love the feeling, and it can quickly contribute to addiction.
Those with mental disorders become addicted because they find a way to escape the pain. They may, therefore, form a habit of resulting in drugs or substances to help ease the mental health disorders, and thereby, they eventually become addicts.
Specific issues, like traumatic events, especially during childhood, can contribute to dual diagnosis. Chronic stress and post-traumatic stress can lead to mental health disorders and addiction.
The reasoning behind environmental factors predisposing someone to dual diagnosis is the need to look for quick fixes. Children exposed to violence, deaths, rape, or other problems can develop trauma. As adults, they can result in drug abuse to “fix” their trauma.
Those experiencing post-traumatic stress (PTSD), can turn to drugs in an attempt to fix their mental disorders. The same can also be said for those with chronic anxiety. Others even result in abusing clinical drugs such as opioids to self-medicate and get quick relief.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis Disorders?
Dual diagnosis is a condition affecting millions of people all over the globe. However, it is a condition that is tough to spot, and therefore it can affect anybody unknowingly. However, there are signs and symptoms of dual diagnosis that might help you identify the condition, which includes:
How Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Can Help
The Essential Guide to Best Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Drug and alcohol addiction rarely appears out of the blue. Most people with addictions do not simply choose to continue abusing drugs or alcohol without a reason for doing so. Oftentimes, pre-existing mental illnesses cause, contribute to or exacerbate a person’s addiction. The consumption of drugs or alcohol can also cause, contribute to or worsen an individual’s psychological conditions. When addiction and mental disorder exist simultaneously, it is referred to as a dual diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder. Any person struggling with both these problematic conditions requires specialized dual diagnosis care administered by qualified trained professionals.
If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders, please call 772-774-387 and inquire about our dual diagnosis treatment program at Behavioral Health Centers.
What is Dual Diagnosis?
While it didn’t always have an official term or named condition, mental illnesses and addiction have been linked for decades. Dual diagnosis can range from a person abusing drugs to cope with a preexisting disorder like depression, to someone who developed disorder as a result of using a specific drug over an extended period. No matter what the reason for addiction is, it has been conclusively proven that drugs and alcohol only make symptoms of psychological illnesses worse and can also lead to the development of other mental concerns. 
Being that both mental disorder and addiction primarily affect the brain, both conditions play off of each other, and the existence of one makes the occurrence of the other more likely. Symptoms of dual diagnosis vary widely due to there being a virtually endless amount of potential combinations. Here are some common symptoms to look for:
Sudden changes in behavior
Engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence
Feeling like drugs or alcohol are necessary in order to function
Loss of control over substance use and abuse
Withdrawal from friends or family
Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Behavioral Health Centers
We set ourselves apart at Behavioral Health Centers by offering a combination of treatments and therapies designed to help break the cycle of mental illness and addiction. We understand that dual diagnosis patients face enormous struggles with both addiction and symptoms of one or more psychological disorders. Our understanding uniquely positions us to treat patients with co-occurring disorders.
Each of our patients receive a personalized treatment plan that focuses on his or her specific obstacles to recovery. Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment Includes:
The patient undergoes withdrawal during this period, either tapering off of the substance that he or she is dependent on or abruptly stopping its use.
Life Skills Training
It’s critical that dual diagnosis patients be taught how to function in everyday society without the aid of drugs and/or alcohol. Treatment at UBH includes preparation for reentry into the “real world.”
Just as dual diagnosis patients have to understand how addiction andmental disordersfeed off of one another, it’s equally important that family members understand what their loved one is dealing with. Our family program brings siblings, spouses, parents and children closer together.
Mental Health Expertise
A large portion of addiction patients have been dealing with undiagnosed mental illness for years. Our psychiatry services not only provide valuable insights into our patients’ mental health, but also helps them understand how to manage and treat their conditions better.
Used to blunt the effects of withdrawal or to help treat and manage symptoms of mental illnesses
Dual diagnosis treatment at Behavioral Health Centers begins with a compassionate, medically supervised detox and mental assessment. We then blend holistic remedies with group and individual counseling, psychological services, physical therapy and a traditional 12-step process. Each of our patients receive a personalized treatment plan that focuses on his or her specific obstacles to recovery.
Every patient is different, as is their journey to addiction and rehab. Some may have resorted to drug and alcohol abuse to help deal with symptoms of depression. Others may unknowingly be struggling with undiagnosed schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. No matter what your specific needs are, our mission is to find the dual diagnosis treatment program that will most effectively address them.
Help is just a phone call away for you or a loved one who may have a mental illness and is simultaneously self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Contact our addiction care experts and specialists who will craft a custom rehab program tailored for your specific dual diagnosis treatment needs. You can learn more about our treatment programs or begin rehab by calling us at 772-774-3872.
Our dual diagnosis rehab in Port St. Lucie provides safe, comfortable, and effective treatment to residents across the United States and the following local counties and cities of Okeechobee County, Palm Beach County, Martin County, Jupiter, Stuart, Fort Pierce, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Fort Myers, Tampa, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Orlando.
BHC also provides treatment for the following substances: Alcohol, Benzos, Cocaine, Drugs, Fentanyl, Heroin, Meth, and Prescription Drugs.
Behavioral Health Centers is a Joint Commission accredited treatment center located in Port St. Lucie, Florida.