A dual diagnosis the medical term for a person who is suffering from both a substance abuse disorder and a mental illness. The substance can be either alcohol or drugs. The most common mental illnesses to exist in a dual diagnosis are depression, bipolar, anxiety, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). 50 percent of Americans who suffer from a mental illness have a dual diagnosis. That is approximately 7.2 million people between the ages of 18 and 54.
If you are one of many who are struggling with addiction, or if you have a loved one who needs help, call Drug Treatment Centers Peoria IL at (309) 550-9698.
Having a mental illness definitely puts you at a higher risk of turning to drugs or alcohol to relieve your problems. A person who struggles with anxiety may take a puff of marijuana before a stressful event to help themselves feel calm. Having both a mental health problem and a substance abuse problem can quickly spiral out of control. On the other side of the coin is the fact that abusing drugs or alcohol definitely puts you at risk for mental illness. The National Institute for Drug Abuse states that this happens most frequently with marijuana users.
People who are addicted to marijuana often have anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar or another type of mood disorder. People who have a family history of schizophrenia may have never exhibited any symptoms until they begin smoking marijuana. Drugs cause chemical changes in your brain that can bring out this and other mental disorders.
It’s a bit like the proverbial question of which came first, the chicken or the egg. But it’s not as necessary to know which illness came first, as much as it is imperative to understand that each illness is its own separate entity and must be treated as such.
Counseling, medications, and relapse prevention aftercare are all important when treating an addiction, whether it is alcohol or another type of drug. The most important factor of addiction treatment is that the addict must admit that they have a problem and be willing to seek help. Sometimes addicts are committed to rehab institutions on the bequest of their families, but these types of addicts have a higher than average rate of relapse.
The treatment for mental illness reads very similar to the treatment for addictions: medications, counseling and aftercare. Again, it is very important to the person who is suffering that they recognize they have a problem and are willing to undergo treatment and make changes in their life to deal with the problem. Patients who have been admitted to rehab by family members may still receive the addiction treatment they need, but if they do not understand that they truly have a problem, they may become a repeat customer.
Many people who are addicted to drugs often have additional addictions. Clinics need to be able to handle multiple addictions at the same time. It may appear that, since the treatment for both addictions and mental illness is similar, one treatment protocol can be used for both illnesses.
This is a grave mistake. Both illnesses need to be treated separately or the chance of the treatment working decreases drastically. Also, medications used for these illnesses are very strong and it is important that healthcare providers ensure that there are no contraindications when prescribing these meds.
A dual diagnosis rehab center is the best bet for those who have the misfortune of suffering from two illnesses at once. These centers understand both sides of the illnessand know how to treat both illnesses concurrently. To admit a patient with a dual diagnosis to a center that only knows how to handle one type of illness can be very detrimental to the patient’s overall healing. Only by successfully treating both illnesses can the patient go on to live a happy and productive life.
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