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Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Seaglass at Royal Life Centers focuses on the holistic revitalization of each guest’s mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. As guest’s enter treatment, we perform in-depth evaluations to assess their symptoms and determine the presence of any co-occurring disorders.  For guests with a mental health and substance use disorder, these assessments assists in creating a dual diagnosis treatment plan. Essentially, clinicians collaborate with guest’s to develop an individualized treatment plan that simultaneously treats their co-occurring disorders, or dual diagnosis.

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis describes the experience of an individual who has a substance use disorder that co-occurs with a mental health disorder. According to SAMHSA, “Co-occurring disorders may include any combination of two or more substance use disorders and mental disorders identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).” Commonly referred to as co-occurring disorders, a dual diagnosis often hinders an individual’s ability to function or seek out treatment.

Many of those who suffer from addiction see alcohol and drugs as a way to manage their mental health issues. Unfortunately, self-medicating with drugs and alcohol often goes unnoticed until the substance abuse consumes all aspects of an individual’s life. If you or someone you know has been having these types of behaviors; professional treatment is needed as soon as possible.

Types of Co-Occurring Disorders

Compared to neurotypical individuals, those who struggle with a mental health disorder are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs. On top of that, co-occurring disorders are often misdiagnosed or difficult to diagnose due to the complexity of symptoms. 

The variations from one dual diagnosis to the next is a result of number of mental health and substance use disorders that can occur simultaneously. In fact, there is no specific combination of mental and substance use disorders that can be defined as the standard for a dual diagnosis. For this reason, the only requirement of a dual diagnosis is the presence of one or more mental health disorder diagnosis alongside a substance use disorder. With that being said, there are a number of co-occurring mental illness that are more commonly found in treatment settings.

Common co-occurring mental illnesses include:

  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Personality Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

In general, most co-occurring disorders that involve substance abuse begin as misguided attempts to self-medicate the symptoms of an underlying mental health condition with drugs and alcohol. As a result, individuals often evade healthy methods of healing like therapy and proper medication. Instead, the substance misuse that started as a form of relief from their mental illness quickly devolves in a full-blown substance use disorder. 

When self-medication spirals out of control and develops into addiction, treatment is an immediate necessity. Knowing that a substance use disorder is a disease that affects all aspects of an individual’s life, it is near impossible for some suffering from both an SUD and a mental disorder to recover without the proper medical and clinical care found within a rehabilitation center.

As relationships with family members, partners, friends, and colleagues begin to suffer, so does a person’s ability to function in day-to-day life. Unfortunately, the nature of addiction is to progressively worsen an individual’s quality of life, effecting their mental, physical, and spiritual health to the point of hopelessness. Therefore, the best way to ensure recovery from a co-occurring disorder is through a customized treatment plan with the proper level of care.

Co-Occurring Depression and Substance Abuse

There are many moments when people experience periods of sadness, anger, and frustration, but there is a difference between this and what is actually diagnosed as clinical depression.

When the above symptoms start to interfere with normal life and last over a minimum of two weeks, this is when the depressive state can cause an issue. Clinical depression interferes with an individual’s normal life by having effects on functioning in society, work goals, personal and family relationships.

Signs of Co-Occurring Depression Include:

  • Extended period of sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Oversleeping
  • Loss of energy
  • Frequent crying spells
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal attempts or thoughts
  • Rapid weight gain or loss
  • Ignoring family and friends
  • Isolation

For individuals suffering from a clinical depressive disorder, we often see those in active addiction self medicate in order to fill the gaps that depression brings. Individuals have many different vices to fill the feeling of emptiness that depression brings, some of these vices include gambling, sex, and alcohol/drug abuse. When the addiction and abuse begins to take over and make life unmanageable, addiction turns into a matter of life or death for the user.

Anxiety Disorders Co-Occurring with Substance Abuse

Those who suffer from an anxiety disorder or panic attacks are often experiencing extreme stress. In fact, it is detrimental for an individual to receive treatment for their addiction without also receiving the proper clinical care for their anxiety symptoms. 

As mentioned with previous co-occurring disorders, panic and anxiety is no different in its ability to drive an individual to self-medicate with substances. For this reason, it is medically necessary for an individual to receive co-current treatments for both their addiction and mental health disorder in order to gain the best results of healing.

Common symptoms of panic and anxiety attacks are:

  • Shaking
  • Over-heating
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach and nausea
  • Tightness in chest/throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Catastrophizing
  • Paranoia

In many cases with co-occurring anxiety, we see the alcohol or drug addiction begin from an individual self medicating in response to the mental health disorder. For many people who struggle with panic and anxiety disorders and addiction, quitting drugs or alcohol can actually make their mental illness worse if not carried out through the proper treatment plan.

Dual Diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder and Substance Use Disorder

One of the more serious mental health disorders is bipolar disorder. In essence, those with bipolar disorder experience sudden and intense mood changes, irrational and erratic behavior, and drastic energy level changes. The periods of high energy and euphoric moods are mania or hypomania. Alternatively, the extended period of low mood and energy are the symptoms of a major depressive episode. For this reason, medical professionals also refer to bipolar disorder as manic depression.

Signs of Mania in Bipolar Disorder:

  • Increased activity, energy or agitation
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Exaggerated sense of self
  • Abnormally upbeat (euphoric) demeanor
  • Racing, irrational thoughts
  • Unusual talkativeness
  • Rapid, disorganized speech
  • Inability to focus or complete tasks
  • Impulsive, erratic behavior
  • Impaired decision-making

Often, individuals with bipolar disorder enjoy euphoria and cycles of productivity during a manic episode. In fact, people often abuse stimulants in an attempt to trigger an episode of mania. However, this euphoria is always replaced by an emotional crash that leaves the individual devastatingly depressed and fatigued. 

Signs of Depression in Bipolar Disorder:

  • Inconsolable sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Excessive guilt
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Inability to experience pleasure/emptiness
  • Increased indecisiveness
  • Significant weight loss without effort
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Suicidal ideation/attempt

Despite of the extreme nature of their moods, those with bipolar disorder are often blind to the negative impact of their emotional instability. Moreover, they are often oblivious, or unconcerned, with the ways in which their impulsive and erratic behaviors disrupt their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Far too often, these individuals don’t seek out the treatment they need as a result.

It Is Common to Have a Dual Diagnosis in Rehab?

In a 2019 SAMHSA report, 19.3 million adults aged 18 or older had an SUD in the past year, and 9.5 million of those individuals also suffered with a mental health disorder. The percentage of people with both a mental health disorder and an SUD increased from 3.3% (or 8.1 million people) in 2015 to 3.8% (or 9.5 million people) in 2019.

Why is Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders Important?

In a 2019 poll of adults aged 18+ with mental health and substance abuse disorders, of the 28.2 million adults with an SUD, 21.2 million people (75.5%) considered themselves to be in recovery or to have recovered from their alcohol or other drug use problem.

Treating a Co-Occurring Disorder in Rehab

When treating a guest with a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis, it is crucial to identify both the substance use disorder and mental health disorder as separate disorders that contribute to the individual’s current condition.

Additionally, our staff analyze each guest’s medical and clinical evaluation’s to determine the origination of the mental health symptoms. In the same way that a mental disorder can lead to substance abuse, people who abuse substances can develop the symptoms of a mental health disorder as a result of the drugs mind-altering effects or addiction-related isolation.

For instance, individuals who have no history of psychotic episodes can often present with the symptoms of psychosis following the use of psychedelic drugs. Similarly, many who abuse alcohol for an extended period of time will self-isolate to avoid the judgement of others, often resulting in feelings of depression and suicidal ideation. For this reason, it is important for our clinical team to recognize any other diagnoses, so that we can collaborate with each guest to determine the best course of action for his or her treatment.

While individuals with mental disorders often self-medicate, research proves that substance abuse worsen symptoms of mental illness. Also, individuals with a dual diagnosis are extremely vulnerable following the removal of substances during detox. This is because the symptoms of their mental disorder can reemerge and exacerbate the uncomfortable side effects of detox like anhedonia,  anxiety, agitation, and urge to relapse. For this reason, an inpatient level of care is a necessity for those with a co-occurring mental illness once substances are removed from the person’s system. Inpatient facilities provide around-the-clock care to ensure the guest’s comfort and safety during this mentally taxing time.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Seaglass

The best way to ensure recovery for those suffering from a co-occurring disorder in an individualized treatment program. For this purpose, all of our certified clinical staff provide specialized care for guests who have co-occurring disorders. As stated, our intensive dual diagnosis treatment programs treat both mental health and substance use disorders.

Seaglass staffs medical professionals, addiction therapists, and other qualified drug treatment specialists who specialize in a variety of therapeutic practices to ensure effective dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders.

We utilize several forms of dual diagnosis treatment therapies at Seaglass. For example, we offer: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, EMDR, Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Yoga Therapy and more. Our therapies are provided both one-on-one and in peer group therapy sessions. Entering dual diagnosis treatment can be the determining factor of whether or not an individual will be successful in recovery. To assist in your healing, our drug treatment specialists employ a variety of therapeutic practices to ensure the effectiveness of your dual diagnosis treatment.

Our admissions coordinators make themselves available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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