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People with mental health disorders are more likely to turn to substances as a way to self-medicate and cope with their symptoms. Living with a dual diagnosis that consists of addiction and a mental health disorder can be challenging. Thankfully, dual diagnosis treatment is the integrated treatment of two or more disorders that occur together.

The most common dual diagnosis is the combination of substance abuse and mental illness, although a dual diagnosis can also refer to other combinations of disorders, such as eating disorders and depression. Substance abuse is the use of drugs or alcohol in a way that is harmful to the person using them. It can lead to addiction, which is a chronic disease that can cause serious problems. But, with treatment, individuals can find freedom and healing.

Common Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety can be a normal reaction to stress, but it can also be a debilitating condition. This disorder can make it difficult to function in day-to-day life and can lead to physical health problems. 

Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive fear or worry. This can lead to physical symptoms such as a rapid heart rate, sweating, and trembling. People with anxiety disorders may avoid certain situations out of fear or may have difficulty functioning in everyday life.

Depression

Depression is more than just feeling down for a few days. It is a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities that lasts for weeks or months. Depression can lead to a number of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function in daily life.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings from mania to depression. Mania is a period of abnormally high energy, activity, and mood, while depression is a period of low energy and activity. Personality disorders can be described as long-standing patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that don’t adapt well to different life circumstances. These patterns can cause problems with work, school, and relationships.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is a mental illness that causes people to have obsessions (recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are intrusive and cause distress or anxiety) and compulsions (repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person feels compelled to do in order to ease the anxiety caused by the obsessions).

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes people to have delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real). People with schizophrenia may also have trouble thinking clearly, managing their emotions, and making decisions.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that can occur as a result of a traumatic event. While it is often associated with individuals who have been in military combat, PTSD can also occur after a person experiences a car accident, domestic violence, or the death of a loved one.

In some cases, PTSD may co-occur with addiction. This dual diagnosis can be difficult to manage without professional treatment services.

Personality Disorders

A personality disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by unhealthy thought structures and behavior patterns. Individuals who suffer from personality disorders may have trouble relating to situations or people; this often leads to significant problems at work, school, and other areas of life. Sometimes, people may even struggle with addiction and personality disorders at the same time. Thankfully, Orlando Treatment Solutions can help those who are living with these co-occurring disorders.


Co-Occurring Disorder Statistics

1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year. 1 in 20 U.S. adults experiences serious mental illness each year. 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year. 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34. 21% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2020 (52.9 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults.

5.6% of U.S. adults experienced serious mental illness in 2020 (14.2 million people). This represents 1 in 20 adults. 6.7% of U.S. adults experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness in 2020 (17 million people). ​​46.2% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment in 2020. 64.5% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness received treatment in 2020.

Co-occurring disorders impact a significant portion of the population. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, about 8.9 million American adults suffer from both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder simultaneously. Only 12.7% of people with co-occurring serious mental illness and substance use disorders received any treatment for both conditions in 2019.

People with serious mental illness are more likely to smoke tobacco and misuse alcohol compared to those without mental illness. Cannabis is one of the most common drugs used by people with serious mental illnesses. Almost 40% of individuals with serious mental illness used marijuana in 2019. Individuals with co-occurring substance use disorder and serious mental illness are overrepresented in every part of the criminal justice system and are more likely to experience homelessness.

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Types of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

There are many different types of dual diagnosis treatment, but all of them aim to treat both mental illness and substance abuse problems. There are specialized dual diagnosis treatment centers that can help people with this condition. Treatment usually includes medication, therapy, and support groups.

Medication

Medication is often used to treat dual diagnosis disorders. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers are commonly prescribed.

Therapy

Therapy can be very helpful in treating dual diagnosis disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to treat dual-diagnosis patients. CBT helps patients change the way they think about their illness and their substance abuse problem. It also teaches them how to cope with triggers and stressors.

Support groups

Support groups can be very helpful for dual diagnosis patients. These groups provide support and information to help patients cope with their disorders. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are two of the most popular support groups.

What Are the Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment? 

There are many benefits to dual diagnosis treatment, including: 

  • Improved symptom management: By treating both disorders simultaneously, individuals can better manage the symptoms of both illnesses.
  • Reduced risk of relapse: When dual diagnosis treatment is effective, it can reduce the risk of relapse for both disorders. 
  • Enhanced quality of life: Dual diagnosis treatment can improve an individual’s overall quality of life by helping them to better manage their symptoms and achieve lasting recovery. 

Therapy in Dual Diagnosis Treatment

One common type of dual diagnosis treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of therapy that helps you to change the way you think and behave. CBT can help you to learn how to cope with your symptoms and make positive changes in your life. 

Other types of dual diagnosis treatment include:

  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication management
  • Adventure therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Art therapy

To determine which of these treatments will be best for you, your doctor will consider many factors, including: 

  • Symptoms 
  • Medical history 
  • Mental health history
  • The severity of your symptoms 
  • Personal preferences 
  • Family’s preferences 
  • Financial situation

Why is Dual Diagnosis Treatment Important?

Individuals with dual diagnoses face unique challenges in their recovery journey. Because each disorder can worsen the symptoms of the other, it’s important to treat both at the same time in order to achieve lasting recovery. The importance of dual diagnosis treatment cannot be understated. Dual diagnosis treatment is also important because it can help to prevent relapse, which is common when only one disorder is treated.

There are many dual diagnosis treatment centers across the country that specialize in treating co-occurring disorders. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder, dual diagnosis treatment may be the best option

What is Chronic Relapse? How Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Influence Chronic Relapse?

Chronic relapse is a pattern of relapsing that happens over a long period of time. Dual diagnosis treatment is important because it can help to break the cycle of chronic relapse. Dual diagnosis treatment can help to prevent chronic relapse by treating both the mental health disorder and the substance abuse disorder simultaneously.


How Effective is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

The effectiveness of dual diagnosis treatment depends on many factors, including the severity of the disorders, the type of treatment, and the person’s motivation to get better. Dual diagnosis treatment centers have been found to be effective in treating dual diagnosis disorders. In one study, people who received treatment at a dual diagnosis center were more likely to stay in treatment and less likely to drop out than those who received treatment at a mental health center.

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