Dual Diagnosis, also frequently referred to as co-occurring disorder, is a term that refers to a patient having a mental illness as well as a substance abuse problem. Examples of co-occurring disorders are the following combinations: depression with cocaine addiction, alcohol with panic attacks, and borderline personality with polydrug abuse. Seen in more than half the patients that struggle with mental illness, dual diagnoses were found in more than 7.9 million people in a 2014 national survey.
Either the substance abuse or illness can arise first. This results in trying to solve one issue by creating another in the midst of doing so. In most cases, it is difficult to tell which problem came first in these situations. Most patients have have a tendency to develop the drug or alcohol addiction before the mental illness because the substance can work as a trigger. For example, marijuana easily triggers psychotic episodes. Therefore, it is very common for patients with substance and drug abuse to develop mental illness at more than half the general rate, compared to the community with only one or the other. If you have noticed you are developing a co-occuring disorder, it is very important that you seek help before it gets any worse.
Some ways to detect if you have a co-occuring disorder are the following indications:
A patient with co-occurring disorder may struggle with many difficult circumstances. This can include fluctuating mood swings and thought disorders, coinciding with needing drugs and alcohol to subside the mental and physical pain; problems with letting go of stress in life and using drugs or alcohol to deal with mental illness. These common indications all result in a give-and-take dynamic, all while making their conditions far worse by doing so. They fight fire with fire to solve the problems that need adequate attention.
When one faces high anxiety, depression, or high fluctuations in moods, one will often turn to substances or drugs to minimize the pain they are enduring. Although much depends on the age of the person, overall anxiety and depression are by far the most common indications found in many people at first. On the other hand, mental health disorders such as ADHD can be found in children from the age of 6 and up. This results in more than 6.4 million people dealing with hyperactivity disorder. Also, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders can emerge later in life, typically after adulthood.
The point being, mental illness can appear throughout one’s life at any time. This results in co-occurring disorders to be at an all time high in society. All of these mental fluctuations can result in one trying to patch up the frustration and anger found within the illness. Mental illness can appear suddenly, and be cured quite easily, or it can sporadically taking over one’s life. Most frequently, the mental illness is one that cant be cured overnight. This leads to the patient to develop the co-occuring disorder. Abusing other substance and drugs to fill their mind with ease, making this predicament all the worse.
They may also deal with obstacles such as:
Once again, it is tremendously important that both the mental illness and drug or alcohol abuse are closely watched. This insures that both are receiving direct attention. There are a multitude of different rehabilitation centers and behavioral practices that help the patient get the help that is needed. Detoxing all former drugs and substance out of the body allows the patient to move further in the given treatment—allowing them to move forward and to have a clear thought process before treatment of the mental illness. This order will help the coping process immensely.
Extremely effective methods of treatment can include:
The following rehabilitation facilities are very helpful to patients, including:
All in all, those with co-occurring disorders may have a tough journey to overcome these circumstances—but they are far from being alone. There are many indicators to diagnose if you have one, as well as a multitude of ways to seek help. Even though the process is tough, the outcome at the end is what is the most rewarding to all involved.
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