Many people struggling with addiction also have another mental health disorder. This is known as a dual diagnosis. Cases like this may be complicated to treat, but it’s essential to treat both the addiction and the co-occurring disorder. Fortunately, it’s not uncommon to find a dual diagnosis treatment program among a rehab center’s addiction recovery services. Even if you or someone you love isn’t aware of any co-occurring disorder, an excellent intake process at a rehab center can also provide you with the correct diagnosis.
What Is a Dual Diagnosis?
As mentioned earlier, a dual diagnosis is when someone has two co-occurring disorders, one of them often being addiction. The other can be anything from an anxiety disorder to an eating disorder. It’s not always easy to tell if someone has a dual diagnosis. That’s because the symptoms of each condition can mimic the other. For example, someone with an eating disorder may become anxious when thinking about food. Or, someone with an anxiety disorder may start drinking or using drugs to self-medicate.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that about one in five adults in the United States experience having a mental health disorder in a given year. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), on the other hand, estimates that about 20 million people in the U.S. struggle with a substance use disorder. These numbers can only mean that there’s a lot of overlap between these groups of people. In fact, the NIDA also estimates that about 50% of people with a substance use disorder also have another mental health disorder.
What Are Some Common Dual Diagnosis Cases?
There are many possible combinations of a mental health disorder and addiction, including:
- Depression and alcoholism
- Anxiety and cocaine addiction
- Bipolar disorder and methamphetamine addiction
Addiction is always part of a dual diagnosis, but the other mental health disorder can vary. Sometimes, someone may think they have co-occurring conditions when they only have an addiction and severe mental health symptoms—like depression or anxiety behaviors. However, these symptoms are only a result of the addiction and not an entirely separate disorder. In other words, they would not need treatment for depression or anxiety if they stopped drinking or using drugs.
Getting an accurate diagnosis is essential to develop an effective treatment plan. Treating a dual diagnosis is often more complicated than treating only one condition. That’s because the two disorders can interact with and worsen each other. It’s essential to develop a plan that meets the unique needs of each individual. The goal is to provide symptom relief for both conditions and help the person manage their overall wellness.
What Are the Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
Dual diagnosis treatment can be very beneficial because it simultaneously addresses co-occurring disorders. Treating only the addiction can sometimes worsen the mental health disorder, and treating only the mental health disorder can sometimes lead to addiction relapse.
Other benefits of a dual diagnosis treatment program include:
- Improved mental and physical health
- Increased ability to manage triggers
- More successful long-term sobriety
- Enhanced coping skills
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and you suspect another mental health disorder may be involved, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. A dual diagnosis treatment program can make all the difference.
Find Addiction Treatment That Fits Your Case Today
If you have a dual diagnosis, you must get treatment for your co-occurring disorders simultaneously. Dual diagnosis treatment has many benefits, including improved outcomes for both your mental illness and your addiction. If you need help finding an addiction treatment program that fits your case, please don’t hesitate to ask your nearest local library, health facility, or community center for rehab facility recommendations.