Dual diagnosis describes people struggling simultaneously with drug addiction and mental health problems. The two aspects of this diagnosis can exacerbate each other and the support of a dual diagnosis program may be essential to ensure long-term recovery.
At Drug Treatment Centers Hoboken, our trained specialists can help treat your dual diagnosis in a safe and supervised environment. If you are struggling with co-occurring disorders, call us today at (201) 620-9144.
In many people with a dual diagnosis, the problems of addiction and mental health are closely linked. Long term substance abuse can have a detrimental impact on psychological well-being. A sufferer may experience a combination of paranoid delusions, psychotic episodes, mood swings, anxiety and depression. People already experiencing mental health problems may be more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. This may be due to a diminished sense of responsibility or an attempt to “self-medicate” and cope with the emotional struggles associated with mental illness.
While any combination of addictions and mental illness is possible, there are certainly more common patterns seen in people receiving treatment through a dual diagnosis program. Alcohol abuse is frequently associated with clinical depression. Anxiety disorders and tranquilizer abuse often go hand-in-hand. Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia, which are also associated with depression, might be concurrent with various forms of addiction.
Typically the effects of a given drug are used in an attempt to offset the consequences of a mental illness. People suffering from depression may turn to alcohol to “lift” their mood. Acute anxiety can be debilitating, and the abuse of illicitly obtained prescription drugs as relief is common.
Typically, the first step in treatment of dual diagnosis clients is a detoxification, or detox, program. This takes place under close medical supervision and may involve the administration of medication to manage withdrawal symptoms and increase the comfort of the client during this process. Once detox is finished, a clearer assessment of the underlying mental illness can be made. At this stage a continuing course of therapy and/or psychopharmacological intervention (medication) will be tailored to the client’s needs.
Therapy offered may involve cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), art and music therapy, group psychotherapy, yoga and meditation or any combination of these and similar treatments. Therapeutic interventions are designed to support ongoing recovery from addiction and positive management of underlying mental health issues.
Aftercare and follow-up are vital aspects of mental health and addiction treatment. Professionals and clients will typically work together to devise a follow-up program which encourages long term recovery from addiction and minimizes the risk of relapse. There are many options. Some are outlined below.
According to the most recent Mental Health National Outcome Measures (NOMS): Center for Mental Health Services Uniform Reporting System, over 60,000 adults are treated on the basis of a dual diagnosis each year throughout the U.S. A percentage for New Jersey was not calculated, but it is assumed that it will reflect the national average of 3.7 percent.