Managing Your Dual Diagnosis

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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a dual diagnosis occurs when a person has a mental illness alongside a substance use disorder. In the past few decades, the number of people diagnosed with a dual diagnosis has increased. Unfortunately, those who have a dual diagnosis struggle to find means to manage both conditions. While medication can help manage symptoms, other treatment options exist that can work with or instead of medication combinations. The following article will expand on the options available.

The Realities of Dual Diagnosis

Research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that individuals with co-occurring substance use issues and mental health problems far exceed common expectations. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse listed some of the main co-occurring mental health issues such as ADHD, major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and schizophrenia. These mental health disorders leave their victims extremely vulnerable to using substances or consuming alcohol to escape the symptoms of mental health disorders.

Specific treatment for a dual diagnosis will depend on the individual. Getting treatment promptly can help one avoid negative consequences such as relapses, failure to complete treatment, and potentially harmful substances.

Prepare for the Search of Treatment

For co-occurring disorders, treatment needs to incorporate the needs of both mental illness and substance use disorder. For example, for a person with bipolar disorder to succeed in recovery, they will need a treatment plan that addresses mental health and substance use. As you search for the best treatment, consider these suggestions to help your search and manage your disorder:

  • Get a solid diagnosis for the co-occurring disorder: Having an accurate diagnosis is important for having a clear road map for your recovery. Many people with a dual diagnosis have a host of misdiagnoses, which can cause further self-harm, frustrations, and other health complications. Getting a correct diagnosis assures the odds of receiving important services and information that can help a person recover. To start, seek the help of one’s primary care provider.
  • Understand the reasons and symptoms of a dual diagnosis: The more you understand, the better equipped you’ll be to improve your health. For instance, a family history of substance use disorder and mental health disorders counts as a risk factor. Being aware of any risk factors that could affect your treatment will help you identify the right type of care for you.  Licensed and experienced mental health professionals such as Restoration Recovery Center’s clinicians can provide a wide- breadth of insight into your condition. They won’t solve all your problems, but they make an excellent resource for treatment.
  • Build yourself a support team: Many survivors of a dual diagnosis often struggle with feelings of isolation or being misjudged by others. Having an open, honest, and non-judgmental dialogue with others serves your recovery. An environment of acceptance and understanding allows the person to openly communicate their feelings and thoughts as they search for the best treatment.
  • Find a healthy outlet for your thoughts and emotions: Finding a healthy outlet will help a person avoid a relapse or from wallowing in self-pity during this process. For example, consider trying journaling, painting, exercise, etc. A healthy outlet provides itself as a distraction or an avenue of expression of one’s feelings.

Treatments to Manage Dual Diagnosis

The following treatments offer relief from the symptoms of mental health disorders and SUD. At Restoration Recovery, we offer many of these services to our client’s benefit. Our team of licensed clinicians and medical professionals seeks to provide the best help to help those lead long, recovered lives. Paired with behavioral therapies, medication results increase. The following treatments include evidenced-based behavioral therapies:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of psychotherapy that teaches people new skills and practices to help improve their wellbeing, especially mental health. At Restoration Recovery, our CBT-trained therapist helps individuals with substance use disorder identify the patterns associated with continued substance use and uses new methods to cease using substances. CBT also helps people with mental health disorders manage their behaviors by applying new tools to relieve the symptoms of mental health disorders.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): DBT has outstanding success, especially when integrated with prescribed medication for mental health disorders. DBT skillfully guides participants in examining their life, so that they can identify, change, accept and cope with harmful behaviors that hurt their wellbeing and chances of recovery.

Trauma Therapy: Many of the most common psychological disorders, like depression, anxiety disorders, and PTSD, benefit from individual psychotherapy like trauma therapy. At Restoration Recovery, we understand how often addiction and certain mental health disorders stem from trauma. Individual, trauma-focused psychotherapy aims to help a person unpack and address their emotional pain through a healthy treatment plan.

Group Therapy: Through a collaboration between professionals and other participants, the group discusses the condition, the symptoms, and how they have been affected by their mental illness and the substance use disorder. It is a great way to build camaraderie among others, going through similar experiences. It builds a sense of accountability and unconditional acceptance.

It is not uncommon for people with depression or anxiety to experience overwhelming emotions and turn to drugs or alcohol to ease their feelings. Many studies and research projects have studied the effectiveness of the treatment for people with a dual diagnosis. It’s important to find the most appropriate treatment that feels best for the individual seeking additional help. Some treatments for mental health and substance use issues include individual therapy and support groups, as well as prescribed medication. While this may sound intimidating, it is important to do a thorough job, as each person is different, and specific needs often differ. At Restoration Recovery Center, we understand these disorders can have serious repercussions on a person’s lifestyle and ability to live a full and healthy life. We provide treatment services like evidenced-based behavioral therapies, prescribed medication, and holistic care. To learn more about our work, please contact us at (888) 290-0925.

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