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Dual Diagnosis

Common examples of dual diagnosis disorders include the combinations of major depression with substance abuse.

Living with an undiagnosed mental health disorder can lead some individuals attempting to alleviate the overwhelming symptoms with drugs or alcohol. Conversely, drug and alcohol abuse can lead to the onset of mental health disorder symptoms that can exacerbate addiction. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 9.5 million adults in the United States have a dual diagnosis.

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

When someone has a dual diagnosis it means that they are addicted to drugs or alcohol and also have an underlying mental health disorder. It is estimated that roughly half of all people who seek treatment for addiction also have one or more mental disorders. Often one diagnosis can mask the symptoms of the other, which makes it difficult to pinpoint which disorder — addiction or mental illness — started first. 

Risk Factors for Dual Diagnosis

There are several indicators that can increase the likelihood of someone receiving a dual diagnosis:

Family history — Oftentimes if someone has a family history of substance abuse, mental illness, or both, it can indicate a likelihood of developing addiction or mental health disorder.

Mental health disorders — Preexisting mental health disorders, even if undiagnosed, can lead to substance abuse disorder. Certain conditions, like bipolar disorder, can make an individual more likely to engage in risky behavior, like binge drinking, which can lead to addiction.

Substance abuse — Frequent use of drugs and alcohol can change the way the brain behaves and responds to environmental influences. These changes can lead to the onset of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. 


Dual DIagnosis

Common Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

There is no one specific mental health disorder and addiction combination. Because of the prevalence of mental health disorders among those seeking treatment for addiction, any possible combination of one or more mood disorders and substance abuse disorder may be present at the onset of treatment. Common mental health disorders include:

Depression disorders: major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, dysthymia 

Anxiety disorders: obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized and social anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder

It is also not uncommon for individuals with certain types of personality disorders, like schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder, to have a concurrent substance abuse disorder.


Signs and Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis?

Generally a person will receive a dual diagnosis when they enter into treatment for addiction. During the intake exam, the addiction treatment specialist will take the person’s full history — including physical and psychological symptoms. 

Symptoms of a substance abuse disorder include:

Frequent use of drugs or alcohol

Binge drinking

Inability to stop using drugs or alcohol, despite consequences to health, life, and relationships

Withdrawal symptoms when drugs or alcohol are not used, including shaking, intestinal distress, cold sweats

Mood swings and personality changes

Difficulties in key life areas: work, social, relationships, or school

Social isolation

Symptoms of a mental health disorder will vary, depending on the type of disorder and whether it is a mood or personality disorder, but can include:

Fatigue or lethargy

Confusion and inability to concentrate

Mood swings

Irritability, anger, emotional outbursts

Changes in appetite and weight fluctuations

Fear and avoidance

Social isolation

Lack of interest in activities

Suicidal thoughts or ideation

group therapy

How are Dual Diagnosis Disorders Treated?

When someone has a dual diagnosis, symptoms of both substance abuse and mental illness may be exacerbated. It may also involve more intense and longer treatment, depending on the severity of symptoms and length of time they have been occurring. However, in order to effectively treat people with a dual diagnosis, both the addiction and mental health disorder need to be addressed concurrently.

Treatment plans are developed to address the individuals unique needs, specific to their diagnoses. Most treatment involves an integrated approach that may involve the use of medications and therapies, such as:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) — CBT is an approach to mental health and addiction treatment that involves addressing unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors, and relearning more helpful and healthy coping mechanisms. 

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) — DBT is a form of therapy that helps people to live in the moment and improve distress tolerance. It is used to help individuals develop better emotional regulation and address negative thought patterns that lead to self-destructive behavior.

Group therapy — Group therapy is a beneficial form of treatment, especially for addressing substance abuse disorders. Group sessions are based on a model of peer support, empathy, and understanding which can improve treatment outcomes.

Other effective treatment options include: EMDR, holistic treatment, mindfulness and meditation, art therapy, and 12-step programs.


Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Los Angeles

If you or someone you love has a dual diagnosis, it’s important to get treatment that addresses both the addiction and mental health disorder. The expert treatment specialists at MD Home Detox will work with you to lay the groundwork for successful recovery from your dual diagnosis disorder. Our integrated and personalized treatment plans will help identify and treat the root of the problem to set you up for successful recovery. Call us at 888-592-7931 or contact us today to find out more about our dual diagnosis treatment options. 

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Methadone Detox

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Heroin Detox

Heroin detox is the first step toward combating a psychological or physical addiction.

Suboxone Detox

Suboxone detox at home can help people ease through withdrawal in a restful, secure environment.

Oxycodone Detox

Oxycodone detox is necessary because you cannot regain equilibrium while the drug is still in your system.

Fentanyl Detox

During the fentanyl detox process, you should be medically supervised. Make sure that you have adequate support.

Prescription Drug Detox

In many cases of prescription drug addiction, you don’t feel as though you can function normally without the substance.

Alcohol Detox

The first step that you need to take to combat your addiction is to go through alcohol detox. A home detox program can help you do this safely.

Mental Health

If you’re struggling with a substance abuse disorder, you should understand how your mental health plays into the battle.

Medically-Assisted Detox

Medical detox enables your body to adjust to the absence of drugs & can ease withdrawal symptoms.

Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder is unique to everyone, our support team confidently address the issues that lead to drug & alcohol abuse.

Opioid Treatment

If you’ve become addicted to opioids and want to stop using them, you’ll probably need to undergo treatment.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Examples of co-occurring disorders include the combinations of depression and substance use disorder.