Dual diagnosis is a situation in which a person has both a mental health disorder and a drug or alcohol addiction. This co-occurrence of disorders only indicates the two occur at the same time. Whether or not one condition caused the other and the complex ways in which mental health disorders and drug or alcohol addictions interact is a subject left to treatment and varies depending on the individual who is dual diagnosed.
Many treatment centers now offer specialized programs for patients with co-occurring conditions of mental illness and drug addiction. Call Drug Rehab Centers Stamford at (203) 242-8288.
There are a near infinite combination of mental health disorders and drug or alcohol addictions that can occur simultaneously. But as is the way of the universe, there are some combinations that occur more frequently than others.
Eating Disorders and Addiction
Eating disorders are a complex set of mental health disorders that have many different characteristics. The common characteristics of eating disorders are:
Because the main preoccupation of most people who suffer from eating disorders is body image and body weight, many eating disorder sufferers develop addictions to stimulants. Stimulant drugs give the people who use and abuse them bursts of energy and focus and concentration. They are also a powerful appetite suppressant.
As such, many people who have eating disorders begin consuming stimulants to help in their weight loss efforts and quickly become addicted. Stimulants include cocaine, Ritalin, Adderall, and crystal meth.
Depression and Addiction
Depression is one of the more common mental health disorders in the United States today. It is characterized by:
Many people who suffer from depression also have alcohol addictions. When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it stimulates the brain to release the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in the body that is known as the pleasure chemical. It can create a sense of contentment, happiness, and even euphoria, temporarily masking the symptoms of depression. As such, it is easy to see how depression and alcohol addiction become linked.
When a person has a dual diagnosis, both their mental health disorder and their drug or alcohol addiction should be addressed and treated at the same time. This is contrary to popular belief in the past (as well as with some holdouts in the present) who believed that the two disorders should be treated one after the other. However, because of the complex interconnections of mental health disorders and addictions, simultaneous treatments are the way to go. Treatments for dual diagnosis include:
This treatment uses group and individual therapy sessions to determine the events, traumas, thoughts, and emotions that led a person to develop both a mental health disorder and an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Once these contributing factors are identified, therapy becomes about resolving and overcoming these issues, as well as developing coping mechanisms for dealing with them.
Psychopharmacology is the use of prescription drugs to treat mental health disorders. When a person also has an addiction, the prescriptions given and the amounts/doses are carefully monitored and the patient observed closely to ensure that no further addictions develop.
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