What is Dual Diagnosis?

Many people in Southern California suffer from co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis.

Dual Diagnosis is when an individual struggling with addiction has a co-occurring mental health condition. This can be everything from alcoholism and depression, to drug addiction and PTSD, and everything in between. Dual diagnosis can seem overwhelming, but it’s important to know that many individuals that struggle with both a mental health issues and a substance abuse or dependency problem. You are not alone! Dual diagnosis is completely treatable with the help of addiction and mental healthcare professionals.

Dual Diagnosis is not a new phenomenon. In fact, the concept emerged over 20 years ago. Even though the concept of dual diagnosis is not new, many medical establishments don’t have a good understanding of what kind of treatment is necessary.

Even though the vast majority of addicts suffer from this affliction, many individuals don’t fully understand co-occurring disorders which created a treatment gap. Many struggling will remain largely undiagnosed, untreated, and it is greatly responsible for the increased incidence of relapse. Our current healthcare system is not set up to properly diagnose or treat dual diagnosis.

Co-occurring disorders are usually treated in two different ways:

  1. Sequentially – This means that first the addiction will be treated and then the psychiatric problem second. Unfortunately, there is often a time lapse between the two treatments, which can lead to relapse.
  2. Separately – This means the addiction and the psychiatric problem are treated at the same time but by different doctors. This can lead to neither doctors having a full comprehensive picture of the individual’s health.

A proper, complete comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment is the key to a full recovery. Addiction typically has to do with trauma, anxiety, depression, and biochemical imbalances, which leads to the individual trying to self medicate to relieve their emotional pain.

How Common is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is much more common than individuals think. According to a 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7.9 million people in the United States alone experience both a mental disorder and a substance use disorder simultaneously. What is even more unknown is that more than half of those individuals, 4.1 million to be exact, are men.

What are the Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis?

One of the reasons dual diagnosis often goes undiagnosed is because the symptoms can vary widely.

Many mental health clinics are now starting to use substance screening tools to help identify individuals that might be at risk for substance abuse. Symptoms of substance use disorder might include:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Using substances under dangerous conditions
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Loss of control over use of substances
  • Developing a high tolerance and withdrawal symptoms
  • Feeling like you need a drug to be able to function

Just like substance use disorder symptoms can vary widely so can mental health symptoms. There are a few things to watch for, warning signs that can help you be more aware of a mental health condition. These can including extreme mood changes, confused thinking or problems concentrating, avoiding friends and social activities, and thoughts of suicide. If any of these start to manifest, it might be time to seek help from a treatment center specializing in dual diagnosis treatment in southern California.

Components of Co-occurring Disorders

Like stated above, there are many ways a co-occurring disorder may present itself. Common struggles for those with co-occurring disorders can include:

  • Depressants
  • Stimulants
  • Hallucinogens
  • Opioids
  • Prescription medications

They may also suffer from any of the following mental health conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

How Co-occurring Disorders Affect Each Other

While receiving a diagnosis for mental health or addiction might be relatively simple, knowing exactly how these two conditions will affect each other can be difficult, and oftentimes impossible. This is why finding a treatment center, like Full Circle Recovery in southern California, that is capable of treating both underlying causes of these conditions is important.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the relationships between co-occurring disorders are complex, and can be understood in more than one way, including:

  • Substances can be a form of self-medication. A person might have an untreated or undertreated mental health condition and may try to ease the symptoms they are experiencing with a substance.
  • While some self medicate with substances, it can actually worsen the mental health disorder symptoms. Drugs interact with the brain and its communication system, which can create an even more vulnerable psychological state. When a person detoxes from substances they will experience withdrawal which can exacerbate the symptoms of both conditions.
  • Not only can substance use increase mental health problems, but it can actual lead to the development of mental health conditions. A person can develop a mental health problem after using drugs even just a handful of times. Drug side effects can be unpredictable and dangerous, and it is possible for an individual to experience a mental health problem after drug use even if the drug has never caused these side effects previously.

10 Things You Should Know About Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Southern California

  1. Dual diagnosis is not a rare experience. In fact, much research has indicated that it can affect half of those that are struggling with a substance addiction.
  2. Dual diagnosis comes in many forms. Like we stated above, dual diagnosis can be many different combinations of substance abuse and mental health disorders. Everything from opioids and gambling to alcohol and anxiety. There are a multitude of possibilities.
  3. Dual diagnoses are difficult to treat. They can be difficult to treat simply because they are not always properly diagnosed. Knowing which co-occurring disorders and individual is struggling with allows the underlying causes to be properly treated by a professional, like the ones at Full Circle Recovery in southern California.
  4. Dual diagnoses patients are high-risk. While an addiction alone is difficult, and a substance problem is difficult, the idea of two of them together might seem daunting. However, knowing what the two disorders are can actually make treatment more effective, since both problems can be treated. Often individuals don’t recovery from one because it was unknown they had a co-occurring disorder. Knowing that there are two disorders to treat can allow for a full and comprehensive treatment plan to be placed in effect.
  5. Those with mental illnesses are more susceptible to addiction. Individuals that are struggling with a mental illness are at risk of addiction. Like we mentioned above, about half of those struggling actually have co-occurring disorders. The mental health disorder they are trying to cope with is often self medicated with a substance, which can lead to an addiction.
  6. Many treatment centers are not equipped to handle dual diagnosis patients. But that’s not the case at Full Circle Recovery in southern California. Since dual diagnosis is a complicated issue, only facilities that have an emphasis on dual diagnosis are truly equipped to help individuals learn the root cause of their disorders.
  7. The best dual diagnosis programs provide integrated treatment. Just like the treatment you will receive at Full Circle Recovery in southern California. Being able to treat both conditions under one roof, at the same time, has shown to be incredibly successful for recovery.
  8. Dual diagnosis treatment may take longer to complete. Since you are focusing on finding and solving the root cause of two major conditions, it can take longer. We all know that any form of treatment can take a while, so treating two disorders simultaneously can extend the period of treatment needed.
  9. Quality dual diagnosis treatment programs move at a pace that is comfortable to the patient, not the staff. Since there is a mental health component, treatment must move at a pace that the individual feels comfortable with. The patient must feel like progress is being made with each step and that they have a good handle on their recovery as they go.
  10. If you or a loved one is in need of dual diagnosis treatment, Full Circle Recovery in southern California can help. Give us a call today at 951-737-6199.

How is Dual Diagnosis Treated?

We believe that the best treatment option for dual diagnosis is an integrated option, where a person receives care for both of their diagnosed disorders.

An individual should spend time understanding their disorders and so should the professionals that are working with them. Having a full understanding of the disorders and knowing the ways they affect each other will allow treatment to be the most effective that it can possibly be. Due to the wide range of co-occurring disorders, treatment will not be the same for each individual. Even those that may present with the same two disorders will still need a specialized plan for their recovery. We know each person is unique and the root cause of their health is unique as well.

Each doctor or therapist should be aware of the dual diagnosis and should be aware of how the other professionals are treating the individual. For instance, an individual may be prescribed antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medication while they gain control over their mental health. The professional that is treating the addiction side of things must be aware of any medication that the individual is on.

Complete transparency and a joint effort in all the areas of the individuals treatment is necessary for a full recovery. Here are Full Circle Recovery, we specialize in dual diagnosis treatment in the Southern California area. If you or a loved one is in need of dual diagnosis treatment, please call us today to learn more about how we can help you gain control of your life. 951-737-6199.