Adolescents and Co-Occurring Disorders
It’s true that having a mental disorder in childhood or adolescence can increase the risk of drug use later on in life and cause someone to develop a substance use disorder. Some researchers have even discovered that mental illness may foreshadow a SUD. This suggests that the diagnosis of mental illness in youth can be what people need to receive treatment that will reduce the development of dual diagnoses.
One study found that adolescent-onset bipolar disorder provides a higher risk of subsequent substance abuse compared to adult-onset bipolar disorder. Other research also suggests that adolescents often develop internalizing disorders such as depression and anxiety while developing SUDs.
Can a SUD Cause Symptoms of Mental Disorders?
A person with a substance use disorder can struggle with some of the same symptoms as those suffering from natural psychiatric disorders. All of the consequences of a SUD with mental illness result directly from the dual diagnosis. Examples of this include the use of methamphetamine that has been linked with psychiatric disorders such as psychosis, mania, and Parkinson’s disease.
The stoppage of benzodiazepines may result in extremely severe anxiety. Suddenly stopping the use of stimulants may cause depression. Also, chronic alcoholism leads to adverse effects on cognition and memory (Korsakoff’s syndrome).
Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Dual Diagnosis
How much care you need when suffering from a substance use disorder depends on how severely you are suffering from substance abuse. Therefore, people looking for help with SUDs and mental disorders need to be evaluated by health care professionals for each disorder.
Because it can be demanding to make an accurate dual diagnosis due to overlapping symptoms, the physician should use extensive evaluation tools to provide targeted treatment and reduce the chance of a missed diagnosis.
Treatment Options for Dual Diagnosis
Co-occurring disorders treatment will not be effective until it addresses both disorders. It is vital that treatment, which may include behavioral therapies and medications, be created to address the individual’s specific combination of disorders and symptoms. Such treatment should also consider the patient’s age, whether or not he or she has misused substances, and any mental disorders that the patient is suffering from.
Treatment for SUDs
Treatment for substance abuse might include:
Detox is the process of allowing toxic substances to clear from the body by stopping use.
Substance withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and may even be life-threatening, depending on the substance and severity of the addiction. A supervised withdrawal period can make the difference between success and failure to detox.
Several behavioral therapies have been found to have promise for treating people with co-occurring disorders. Treatment specialists frequently recommend behavioral therapies alone or in combination with medications. Some of the effective behavioral therapies for adults with SUDS and co-occurring disorders include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of talk therapy that teaches people to cope with difficult situations by showing them how to confront irrational thoughts and behaviors and then change them.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This type of therapy uses concepts of mindfulness and acceptance, as people are aware of and tuned in to their current situations and emotions. It teaches people to control intense emotions, reduce self-destructive behaviors (drug use, suicidal thoughts, and attempts; self-harm), and improve relationships.
Contingency Management (CM)
The principles of CM encourage healthy behaviors by offering rewards or vouchers for healthy behaviors like meeting attendance, clean drug screens, etc.
Effective medications exist for treating opioid, alcohol, and nicotine addiction. They also exist for lessening the symptoms of many mental disorders. Some medications may be useful in treating multiple disorders.
Treatment for Mental Health Problems
During individual therapy, the patient and therapist work one-on-one to build a trusting relationship and explore underlying causes that deal with mental health issues.
In group therapy, several patients work with two or more therapists to discuss their common problems and methods of dealing with their addictions and mental issues. Group therapy participants learn new perspectives and receive support from other group members.
Many medications are available to treat mental disorders. But it’s important to get and stay sober during your mental health treatment. If a medication is prescribed for your mental health problem, mixing it with drugs or alcohol can have serious and dangerous effects. In addition, talk therapy is much less effective if you’re being influenced by alcohol or drugs.
Denial and Dual Diagnosis
Denial is common in both substance abuse and mental health issues. It can be difficult to admit how dependent you are on alcohol or drugs or how much they affect your life. Many people even tend to ignore their substance use disorder treatment and even disregard medical advice because mental disorders may affect their perspective and perceptions. Furthermore, a person’s mental condition can cause such extreme symptoms that only alcohol or other drugs can ease. Thus, people continue to suffer from substance use and mental health issues.
The symptoms of conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or PTSD can be frightening. So individuals may try to ignore their mental illnesses and just hope they go away.
Sometimes, people are ashamed or afraid of being viewed as weak by admitting that they have a problem with substance use and/or mental illness. However, mental health problems and substance abuse can happen to anyone. Admitting that you have a problem and that you need help is the first step towards recovery.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment in New Hampshire
Around-the-clock intensive, residential, or inpatient treatment programs may benefit patients who suffer from dual diagnosis disorders. Such programs are available in New Hampshire at Live Free Recovery Services.
Here at Live Free Recovery Services, we are also able to provide outpatient rehabilitation programs. Thus, our patients with mental and substance impairments can continue working, attending school, and caring for family members while receiving treatment and therapy for their substance use and mental health issues.
From medically supervised detox to sober living, Live Free Recovery will help you achieve recovery. Don’t wait. There really is an answer to your substance use and mental health problems. Contact us today.