Overcoming a substance abuse or mental disorder may be the most difficult challenge a person ever faces. It is made even greater when a patient faces both at the same time. This condition is known as dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis treatment should be led by specialists who are expert at diagnosing it and designing effective treatment regimens to overcome it. Sovereign Health of Texas is one of the nation’s top dual diagnosis treatment centers offering hope and recovery to patients struggling with this condition.
What Is Dual Diagnosis?
The term “dual diagnosis” is used to describe a situation where a patient is experiencing both a mental illness and a substance abuse problem at the same time. These are also referred to as co-occurring conditions. The National Institute on Mental Health (NAMI) estimates that about a third of all people experiencing mental illnesses and about half of people living with severe mental illnesses also experience substance abuse. Approximately a third of all of those who abuse alcohol and more than half of all people who abuse drugs report experiencing a mental illness, according to NAMI.
In cases of dual diagnosis one condition may generate and exacerbate the other. For example, alcohol is a depressant and its abuse may bring on clinical depression. In other cases a person may try to treat the pain generated by a mental illness with drugs or alcohol. Over time they may become addicted to the abused substance.
In order to recognize the possibility that one may be a dual diagnosis patient they need to recognize the symptoms of both substance abuse and mental illness. The Mayo Clinic indentifies the following as symptoms of drug addiction:
- Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — this can be daily or even several times a day
- Having intense urges for the drug
- Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect
- Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
- Spending money on the drug, even though you can’t afford it
- Not meeting obligations and work responsibilities, or cutting back on social or recreational activities because of drug use
- Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing
- Driving or doing other risky activities when you’re under the influence of the drug
- Focusing more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug
Symptoms of mental illness vary depending on the condition. According to the Mayo Clinic they may include:
- Marked changes in personality, eating or sleeping patterns
- An inability to cope with problems or daily activities
- Strange or grandiose ideas
- Excessive anxiety
- Prolonged depression or apathy
- Thinking or talking about suicide
- Substance abuse
- Extreme mood swings or excessive anger, hostility or violent behavior
These symptoms, alone or in combination, may indicate the need for dual diagnosis treatment.