The term dual diagnosis describes an individual who meets the diagnostic criteria for a mental health concern and a diagnosable substance use concern. Many of the doctor-prescribed medications that alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, pain, and chronic fatigue impair people’s ability to self-regulate and stick with an effective dose. If you are concerned that you have developed a dual diagnosis and need dual diagnosis treatment, you are not alone.
Dual Diagnosis, AKA Co-Occurring Disorders
A person with a dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders, has a mental health concern and substance use disorder. These conditions can appear in any order, and they don’t need to appear in a particular order. People with mental health concerns frequently turn to substances in an effort to hide, numb, or avoid symptoms. People who experiment with or misuse substances may intensify underlying mental health concerns. Long-term substance use can even change the brain in ways that increase the risk of developing mental illnesses.
When a person is struggling with a dual diagnosis, both conditions must be treated simultaneously. If only one of these conditions is addressed, there is a good chance that the symptoms of the other condition will become more intense.
The Dual Diagnosis Definition
The term dual diagnosis and the dual diagnosis definition may not seem to add up at first glance. By definition, someone diagnosed with a dual diagnosis has a mental health disorder and a substance abuse problem. If you or a loved one attend a dual diagnosis treatment center in Oregon, it does not mean that there is something majorly wrong with you. We will go further into the definition and what it means below.
What Is a Dual Diagnosis?
The term dual diagnosis is not a diagnosis on its own. Dual diagnosis is a term that is applicable when a patient has at least one mental health condition and one substance abuse condition concurrently. Over one-third of people in the United States that have substance abuse problems also have a co-occurring mental condition.
There is no direct correlation between mental health and substance abuse. In other words, one is not known to cause the other. But, people with mental health problems have a higher probability of becoming addicted to substances, should they try them, than other people. A person with a mental illness that tries substances is two times more likely to contract a substance abuse problem than others. This often happens when people with mental disorders find relief from their mental health problems after using.
Self-Medication and Dual Diagnosis
Self-medicating can work for people with mental illness for a short period of time, but, in the long run, it usually turns into trouble. Often substances will end up exacerbating or making the mental health condition worse. Not to mention that the cycle of addiction is started, and the brain and body need more and more to sustain a state that feels “normal.”
The cycle of addiction involves the following:
- Difficulty regulating emotions or managing pain
- Using substances to cope
- Missing out on healing opportunities
- Repeating one and two
- Needing more and more of the drug to feel better
- Suffering consequences and experiencing guilt
- Using substances to escape consequences and guilt
When Does Addiction Become a Problem?
Addiction becomes a problem when you find that you can’t stop using despite the negative consequences. The stopping bit is what can make things especially hard for dual diagnosis patients. In patients with preexisting mental health problems, their brains are already not signaling correctly. This means that before they start self-medicating, they are already in the realm of wanting to feel better mentally.
When you take away the one thing that makes them feel better due to their mental health condition, they can have a tough time staying sober. The best way to stay sober in this situation is to get the patient to a place where they cannot access substances and where they can learn easy ways to prevent themselves from using again that are not drugs or a therapy session.
Why Is Mental Health Management Important?
Managing a dual diagnosis is not easy, but it is worth the effort. When it comes down to it, the dual diagnosis patient needs to fully understand that they can be their own worst enemy when it comes to drinking or drugging. Sure, it makes them feel better, but it causes bigger problems elsewhere. Many patients are not told this, however, and it can take multiple attempts at sobriety, making the prospect of a healthier and better life seem less likely. However, when you reach out to a treatment center that offers dual diagnosis treatment, you can find hope and healing from both conditions concurrently.
Seek Help from the Rehab at Crestview Recovery
Seeking help from a dual diagnosis treatment center in Oregon is your best bet to begin the journey in figuring out how to stop using and how to turn your life around. Crestview Recovery offers multiple levels of care for those with a dual diagnosis. Additionally, we’re happy to explain the dual diagnosis definition to find the right treatment for you.
At Crestview Recovery, we are committed to helping our clients manage their addiction and mental health issues. We offer a wide array of therapeutic options, which we are able to tailor to our clients. As a result, our clients get a treatment plan that addresses their unique needs rather than a cookie-cutter treatment option. For instance, we offer therapeutic programs such as:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Holistic therapy
- Mindfulness meditation therapy
- Family therapy
- Trauma therapy
Whether you are battling an addiction, a mental health issue, or some combination of the two, the experts at Crestview Recovery are here to help. Give us a call today at 866.262.0531 to find out more about dual diagnosis treatment or our other treatment options.