Dual Diagnosis and Addiction Treatment
When someone has both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, it is called a “dual diagnosis.” Dealing with alcoholism or drug addiction is never easy, and it’s even more difficult when struggling with mental health problems, but there are dual addiction treatmentoptions that can help.
With proper treatment and support, you can overcome substance abuse, get the symptoms of depression or anxiety under control, and reclaim your life.
When treating any type of addiction, holistic techniques begin with the philosophy that people develop the problem in an attempt to correct an “imbalance” within them. This imbalance causes them to become stuck, unaware, and unable to deal effectively with thoughts, feelings, and actions. To correct this imbalance, the addict takes drugs, drinks, or engages in some other form of excessive behavior in order to disassociate. Holistic therapies work to reestablish balance by addressing mind, body, and spirit.
Co-existing Mental Health Problems
Because substance abusers often neglect and damage their bodies, nutrition is generally the first line of defense with complimentary and alternative therapies. By creating a sound nutritional base, the immune system is restored and health is stabilized.
While physical health is being attended to, mental health must also be addressed. People with substance abuse problems are more likely to have other psychiatric conditions than the general population. Conversely, people with psychiatric disorders are more likely to develop substance abuse problems.
People With Addiction at Risk
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, someone who suffers from depression is four times more likely to develop a substance-related disorder. For people with bipolar disorder, the risk is 14 times greater.
If an individual is diagnosed with the following psychiatric disorders, their risk is substantially greater for substance abuse than someone withut that diagnosis. The chart below details the risk that people with a psychiatric illness face of becoming substance abusers:
- Major Depression 4.1 times as great
- Bipolar Disorder 14.5 times as great
- Obsessive compulsive disorder 3.4 times as great
- Panic Disorder 4.4 times as great
- Phobias 2.4 times as great
- Schizophrenia 10.1 times as great
- Anti-social personality disorder 15.5 times as great
- ADHD 5 times as great
In a 2006 study, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta concluded that the co-occurrence of a severe mental illness and a substance-related disorder is so common it should be the expectation as opposed to the exception. According to the authors, screening, assessment, and integrated treatment plans for dual diagnosis that can address both the addiction disorder and the mental illness are recommended in order to provide accurate treatment, after-care, and other health care to accommodate patients’ social and vocational needs.
Individualized treatment is important because – just as each psychiatric disorder has a specific treatment procedure – different substances have different withdrawal and treatment protocols. For example, alcohol, sedative-hypnotic, and barbiturate withdrawal requires systematic treatment, which can include benzodiazepine and nutritional therapy.