Dealing with substance abuse can be challenging for anyone. But it is even more complicated to address a co-occurring mental health problem like anxiety or depression. Dual diagnosis requires treatment for both addiction and psychological conditions. Find out how a Beverly Hills MindMD can address these co-occurring disorders.
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Why dual diagnosis?
According to statistics, half of the patients with a severe mental disorder also have a substance abuse problem. One factor responsible for co-occurring conditions is stress or trauma. Mental distress may encourage patients to seek temporary relief that comes with drugs.
Another factor that may increase the risk of a diagnosis is chemical changes in the brain. When you self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, it causes alterations to brain patterns, worsening symptoms of your mental condition.
As a result, it triggers a vicious cycle that prompts the patient to abuse substances to relieve distress. For example, people with depression may use drugs or alcohol to improve their mood. But once the effect fades off, the depressive symptoms worsen. Patients often abuse alcohol and drugs to regain the temporary relief they experienced earlier.
Your genetics can also contribute to a psychological condition and substance abuse. Statistics suggest between 40 and 60% of cases are due to a genetic factor.
Challenges of dual diagnosis
It can be challenging to discern between a mental condition and a substance abuse problem. That is because both conditions tend to have similar symptoms. There are also many different substances and co-occurring conditions with unique signs and symptoms.
However, an experienced psychiatric professional can detect cases of co-occurring mental conditions. The diagnosis usually depends on the effects of the drug on your psychological health. That is as opposed to basing the process only on drug abuse or mental disorders.
Signs of co-occurring substance abuse and mental disorder
While it is difficult to discern a dual diagnosis, some signs may indicate co-occurring mental disorders. The symptoms may include:
You use alcohol or drugs to relieve stress, depression, or anxiety. For example, some people may use alcohol to feel at ease in social situations. That may indicate a case of severe anxiety that requires a professional diagnosis alongside your substance abuse problem.
You don’t feel content unless you abuse drugs. In such cases, you may find it hard to remember when you felt fulfilled when sober. It often suggests self-medication with alcohol or substances to address a mental disorder.
Do you have a family history of mental illness or drug abuse? Many mental conditions are the result of environmental and genetic factors. Genetics may affect how you respond to social or environmental situations.
Importance of dual diagnosis treatment
If one or both disorders remain untreated, the symptoms will worsen. Additionally, conventional treatments are not effective in addressing either of the conditions. Incomplete treatment may also increase the risk of psychological and physiological complications.
Nonetheless, there are effective treatment modalities to address co-occurring disorders. They offer the best chance to minimize mental health symptoms and stay sober.
Contact MindMD Wellness to schedule a mental health consultation today.