When a person has a drug or alcohol addiction, they often think that it is a condition in and of itself, completely separate from other physical or mental health disorders. However, those people are likely unaware of the concept of dual diagnosis. This is much to their detriment in that a person with a dual diagnosis will need specific addiction treatments to ensure that they recover successfully and have the best chance against relapse. Please don't hesitate to call Drug Treatment Hackensack at (201) 334-0998 if you are suffering from substance abuse and mental health disorders. they can provide you with the treatment options and various facilities that meet your needs necessary to recover.
Dual diagnosis is a situation in which a person has a drug or alcohol addiction at the same time that they also have a mental health disorder.
Almost any mental health disorder can co-occur with virtually any drug or alcohol addiction. However, because of the ways that certain drugs affect the brain and the effects that certain mental health disorders also have on the brain, some mental health disorders and addictions seem to coincide more frequently than others.
Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorder in the United States today. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million people in the United States who are 18 or older suffer from an anxiety disorder. The common symptoms of anxiety disorders in general are:
When a person has an anxiety disorder, if they have a drug addiction it is usually to opiates. Opiates are powerful painkillers (also called narcotics) that block pain receptors throughout the body. Additionally, they affect the brain stem significantly. The brain stem is responsible for the basic operations of the body such as heart rate, breathing, and of course, the primitive fight-or-flight instinct and response. Opiates suppress and slow such operations and therefore can cause a person to feel relaxed and calm, even euphoric. Examples of opiates include morphine, heroine, fentanyl, Vicodin, and codeine.
If anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the nation, then depression is the second most common. According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, there are about 14.8 million people in the United States suffering from depression every year. The common symptoms of depression include:
When depression and addiction coincide, the addiction is usually to alcohol. While you may be thinking that alcohol is a depressant and the two occurring together makes little sense, the ways in which alcohol works actually make the combination make perfect sense. When a person consumes alcohol, it gets into their bloodstream almost immediately.
Once it does so, it triggers the brain to release dopamine, a chemical that causes a person to feel pleasure and contentment. This temporary effect can mask the symptoms of depression and just that modicum of relief can make a person develop an alcohol abuse problem and eventually an addiction.
Dual diagnosis requires additional treatments other than the typical alcohol and drug addiction treatments. Some of these include:
Psychotherapy is a form of individual counseling with a close relationship with their therapist. In therapy, the dual diagnosed person engages in in-depth conversation and discussion with the therapist about their emotions, thoughts, experiences, and the ways in which their mental health disorder contributes to their addiction and vice versa. These discussions help a person to understand and overcome the reasons behind their mental health issues and their addiction, as well as help to prevent relapse and the like.
Sometimes, a person's mental health disorder cannot be corrected by therapy alone. In these cases, a brain chemistry imbalance also has to do with the person's mental health disorder. As such, prescription medications may be necessary to address that chemical imbalance. Special care is taken to ensure that the drugs and dosages do not cause a person to relapse or develop a new addiction.