Substance use and mental health issues go hand in hand. In fact, between 40 and 60% of Americans who suffer from addiction have a co-occurring mental health diagnosis. Experts agree that treating co-occurring conditions in a coordinated plan is far more successful than treating one and then the other or providing simultaneous but uncoordinated treatment.
The medical and mental health professionals at Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC) are incredibly adept and experienced at providing comprehensive treatment that is both evidence-based and faith-based. Please reach out to PAATC now if you have concerns about your substance use and mental health or want to learn more about co-occurring conditions. Call 844.442.8673 or use our simple online form.
What Is a Dual Diagnosis?
A dual diagnosis refers to one person having two diagnoses. Co-occurring disorders, mental health being one, addiction being the other, are relatively common. However, addiction often masks the underlying mental health issue, leading to the doctor not diagnosing the problem correctly.
Mental health disorders that commonly co-occur with substance abuse and addiction include:
- Anxiety and other mood disorders
- Eating disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Conduct disorders
- Borderline personality disorder
- Major depressive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
There is no single controlled substance that is more prevalent than others among people who suffer from mental health conditions. Each substance has a somewhat unique symptom signature, but withdrawal and recovery are more challenging for all of them when there is an underlying mental health diagnosis. Having the professionals on hand to provide medical support is essential. At PAATC, we have careful protocols for helping patients with a dual diagnosis navigate recovery.
What Is Self-Medication?
Our culture normalizes self-medication to a large extent with messaging such as, “I had a hard day; I need a drink.” If having a drink after work for stress is okay, the lines can easily blur, and what may start innocently can escalate. Because self-medicating for mental health challenges puts people at increased risk of addiction, this is a serious matter. When the underlying mental health diagnosis goes unrecognized and untreated, addiction becomes even more likely.
People can self-medicate with alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal street drugs. Whether calming anxiety, lifting a mood, quieting voices, or dulling the pain of trauma, drug or alcohol use offer a tempting respite. It’s no wonder so many people have co-occurring conditions.
Treating Substance Use and Mental Health
There is no one answer to how to treat someone with a dual diagnosis? In fact, there are numerous mental health disorders and addictive substances. At the same time, there are just as many ways that a psychiatric condition can interact with a substance. Your recovery plan will address your disorder and your addiction history simultaneously.
Inpatient and outpatient rehab for people with a dual diagnosis are options. Those experiencing severe mental illness, with symptoms such as psychotic episodes or suicidal ideation, may benefit from a residential treatment program where they can receive close medical monitoring. Others, who are physically and mentally stable, may undergo treatment as an outpatient, continue to live at home, go to work or school, and take care of personal responsibilities while being treated for their dual diagnosis.
In the past, psychiatric medication was discouraged in substance abuse programs. Today, professionals well-versed in dual diagnosis care understand the importance of uninterrupted mental health medication treatments during rehab.
Part of dual diagnosis treatment involves the education of spouses, partners, and families about addiction and mental health and how they interact. A well-informed support network is an asset in recovery. Loved ones will want to help you on your path to recovery and may consider support groups of their own.
Therapies Used in Dual Diagnosis Treatment
The two main therapies used to treat dual diagnosis are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps people identify unhealthy patterns of thinking or behavior and replace them with healthier ones. DBT is an evidence-based therapy that focuses on helping individuals regulate their emotions, behaviors, and thoughts to better manage their mental health.
In addition, medication-assisted treatment is often used to treat individuals with dual diagnosis who are struggling with substance abuse. Medication-assisted treatment helps reduce cravings and minimize withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction. With the help of a comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment approach, individuals can take steps toward managing their mental health and substance use disorder in a safe and effective manner.
Contact Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge Today
Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge is a dual-capable treatment center. In other words, we treat mental health conditions is addiction is your primary diagnosis. Let our compassionate, professional staff usher you through your dual diagnosis to wellness and sobriety. Our evidence-based care is founded on the teachings of Christ and provides healthy recovery options for everyone. Contact us using our online form or call 844.442.8673 to determine whether our team can support you.