Dual diagnosis is a term that refers to the presence of a substance use disorder and other mental health disorder occurring at the same time in an individual. Also called co-occurring disorders, the presence of one often exacerbates the other. Most people with substance use disorder have a dual diagnosis of some kind whether it is a diagnosable mental health condition or an experience with trauma which has led to symptoms of PTSD, but not PTSD itself. Addiction can rise out of untreated mental health symptoms as people try to cope with their unmanaged symptoms. Mental health conditions can also be triggered by substance abuse as the high volumes of chemicals alter different parts of the brain. According to Mental Health America, these are the most commonly co-occurring dual diagnosis mental health conditions in addition to substance use disorders. Dual diagnosis also applies to behavioral or process addictions like gambling, sex, shopping, gaming, or internet addiction.
- Bipolar Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Panic Disorder
Not listed is Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety is the most commonly occurring mental health condition among adults in America and is common as both a symptom and a co-occurring condition with addiction.
Why Treating Dual Diagnosis Is Important
Imagine that someone comes into an emergency room and needs treatment for a laceration. A laceration, or a cut, has two components for treatment: stopping the bleeding and closing the wound. The open wound is the source of the bleeding. If the wound stays open without treatment, the cut will continue to bleed and can invite further complications like infections. In order to prevent more bleeding and infection, the wound has to be healed. Treating dual diagnosis is like treating an open wound. Often, a co-occurring mental health addiction is an open wound which was never fully treated. Symptoms like substance abuse are the result of the wound remaining open. Dual diagnosis treatment is important to stop the bleeding (addiction), prevent infection (relapse) and heal the wound (mental health treatment).
Oceanfront Recovery is a certified dual diagnosis treatment center offering residential treatment programs to men. Our full continuum of care helps men transition through the various levels of treatment for a safe transition into independence, free from drugs and alcohol. For information, call us today: 877.279.1777