Dual diagnosis involves the co-existence of mental illness and substance use problems. A range of mental health problems can lead to substance abuse, including depression, anxiety and psychosis. Substance abuse can also lead to mental health disorders, with medical staff having to differentiate between pre-existing conditions and substance-induced disorders.
Dual diagnosis is a broad definition given to a wide range of co-occurring disorders. There has been debate surrounding the use of this term, with critics saying it is inappropriate to use a single category when describing a heterogeneous group of people with complex needs and problems. Dual diagnosis can refer to a wide range of connected relationships between disorders, including depression and alcoholism, anxiety disorders and opioid dependency, and sleep disorders and benzodiazepine abuse. It is important to receive an appropriate diagnosis and a well-rounded treatment plan in order to successfully recover from both illnesses.
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There are a wide range of mental health disorders that can be linked to substance abuse problems, with people suffering from particular illnesses more likely to be connected to substance abuse problems. Depression disorders often lead to substance abuse, as people self-medicate themselves with drugs and alcohol. Long-term addicts are also likely to suffer from depression problems, with depressive periods common when people withdraw from drugs and alcohol.
Anxiety disorders arealso associated with drug abuse, with some anxiety problems treated with potentially addictive benzodiazepine drugs. Psychosis has also been linked with marijuana and methamphetamine use in various studies, with the causality relationship between conditions still unclear.
The signs and characteristics of dual diagnosis are highly dependent on the particular disorders in question, with mental health and substance abuse problems presenting themselves in very different ways. There are some common experiences for people suffering from dual diagnosis, however, including alienation, confusing emotions, unstable living arrangements and psychiatric symptoms. If you or anyone you know is suffering from the co-occurrence of a mental health and substance abuse disorder, it is absolutely critical that you seek professional advice from a treatment clinic.
According to a study by the USA National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 17.5 percent of adults with a mental illness also have a co-occurring substance use disorder. This number works out to be very significant in real terms, with dual diagnosis affecting roughly 7.98 million people across the United States. Despite this large figure, however, only a small proportion of people with dual diagnosis ever receive appropriate levels of treatment for their condition.
Treating dual diagnosis disorders is inherently difficult, with doctors and medical staff first having to differentiate between pre-existing disorders and substance-induced disorders. Even after a correct evaluation has been performed, medical staff still must place patients in the appropriate treatment programs.
Dual diagnosis can be treated in numerous ways, with common examples including primary treatment, sequential treatment, parallel treatment and integrated treatment.
At Alcohol Treatment Centers Augusta, we have the qualified and experienced professionals to help you manage and treat your substance dependence and mental illness. We provide you with the guidance, support, skills and tools necessary to live a healthier, happier and drug-free life. Call us today at (706) 664-2763.
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