When someone receives a dual diagnosis, it usually means they will require treatment for a mental health condition and for substance abuse. These disorders are frequently associated with each other and increase the damaging effects on a person’s well-being. Another name for this connection is a co-occurring disorder that combines the effects of having two major diseases.
About 50% of people who suffer from mental health disorders are also affected by substance abuse. While these two are closely linked, drugs and alcohol are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of mental illness. Using substances can increase the severity of mental disorders, making them more difficult to treat.
Similarities Between Mental Health Disorders and Chemical Dependency
When a mental health disorder goes untreated, the tendency to abuse drugs or alcohol increases. This can prevent the ability an individual has to function at work, have stable relationships, or handle difficult situations. Denial is a problem when someone has both a mental disorder and chemical dependency because they are attempting to hide one by using the other.
A substance abuse problem is not defined by the type of chemicals you use but rather the effect they have on your daily life or relationships. There are mental disorders that most commonly occur with substance abuse, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders.
What is Dual Diagnosis?
It is often difficult to identify a dual diagnosis because there are so many variables involved. A mental disorder may have specific signs and symptoms that are masked when a person is using drugs or alcohol. If a person is aware that their drinking causes major depression, this can be helpful in diagnosing both the mental illness and the substance abuse at the same time.
It is difficult for people to admit that their chemical dependency is affecting their lives. They may not realize they are masking symptoms of a deeper, underlying mental disorder. It is vital to ask a person if they are drinking to cope with unpleasant memories or feelings, control pain, or minimize intense emotions.
When a person has a dual diagnosis, both the mental disorder and the substance abuse have their own unique symptoms. Some of the common dual diagnoses include marijuana use and bipolar disorder, anxiety, and opioid dependency, as well as depression and alcohol abuse.
How to Overcome Mental Health Disorders and Chemical Dependency
If you ever feel guilty or ashamed about using drugs or alcohol, this may be a sign to get some help. Another indication may be a need to use more drugs or alcohol to get the desired emotional change you desire. It is important to reach out when you see your life out of control or spiraling downward.
Treatment for your mental health disorder may include medications, support groups, self-help tools, and lifestyle changes. You can receive one-on-one counseling, and, for chemical dependency, a good treatment center may use detoxification, behavioral therapy, and support groups like AA.
With the right support, self-help, and treatment, you can reclaim your sense of self as you get your life back on track. A multidisciplinary team is the best approach to treat mental health disorders and chemical dependency. Search for programs that are accredited and have proven methods of treatment and make sure they have a great aftercare program to prevent relapse.
San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital is the perfect setting to provide the necessary tools to treat your mental health disorders and chemical dependency. There is always hope, so don’t delay and contact us today.