Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Many addicts use substances like drugs and alcohol to deal with the symptoms of other mental illnesses. When an individual faces a diagnosis of a mental disorder, and drugs and alcohol are introduced into the system, the problems can quickly change and become even more serious. As the central nervous system is delicately balanced and any foreign substance can quickly affect it, those with other mental health conditions that abuse drugs and alcohol may deal with a whole new set of issues.

The presence of both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder is called a dual diagnosis. In order to effectively overcome an addiction, both conditions must be treated – the mental health condition along with the addiction. Our experts are committed to providing the best dual diagnosis treatment to give you the help you need to recover from both your mental health condition and addiction.

Personality and Mood Disorders Can Affect Addiction

Common personality and mood disorders are:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Manic depression
  • Anxiety

The above mental health disorders create an imbalance in the brain that can increase the likelihood of drug abuse and addiction. During the intake process, we provide a comprehensive assessment of your medical history and current state to create a personalized, effective treatment plan that addresses any mental health and substance abuse issues.

Chemical Dependency Can Also Affect Your Mental Health

Many researchers are focused on the relationship between mental health and chemical dependencies. Experts believe that close to 60 percent of individuals who deal with a substance abuse problem may have an underlying mental health issue that exacerbates their addiction. For these individuals, dual diagnosis treatment can be effective.

The causes of addiction and certain mental health conditions are now known. It is widely believed that in order to live a successful life, addicts must receive treatment for both. While one condition may not cause the other, they can directly influence each other and your life overall.

What is the Connection Between Substance Abuse and Mental Illness?

Research shows that between 25 and 45 percent of people with a mental health disorder also have a substance abuse addiction. Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of people receive treatment for both disorders, also known as their “dual diagnosis.”

There are three main pathways that can contribute to the comorbidity of substance use disorders and mental illness:

  1. Mental illness and addiction have risk factors in common.
  2. Mental illness may contribute to addiction.
  3. Addiction can contribute to mental illness.

Both addiction and mental illness share the following risk factors:

  • Genetics — It’s estimated that between 40 and 60 percent of a person’s predisposition toward substance use disorders is attributable to genetics. This is also the case with various mental health disorders. There is active research delving into whether genetics also play a role in developing substance abuse issues and mental health issues concurrently.
  • Environment — Environmental factors, such as chronic stress, trauma, or drug exposure can induce stable changes in gene expression, which can alter function in neural circuits and impact behavior.
  • Brain function— Multiple neurotransmitter systems, such as dopamine and serotonin, have been implicated in both substance use disorders and other mental health disorders.

How Mental Illness Contributes to Drug Use And Addiction

People with mental illness are more likely to abuse substances as a form of self-medication. The drugs may temporarily reduce the symptoms of the individual’s mental illness or side effects of their medication. In the long term, however, substance abuse tends to exacerbate the symptoms of the mental illness. For example, prolonged periods of cocaine use may worsen the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Additionally, a person’s mental illness may enhance the rewarding effects of the substance or reduce the awareness of its negative effects.

How Substance Abuse Can Contribute to the Development of Mental Illness

Substance abuse affects anxiety, mood, impulse-control disorders, or schizophrenia. Drug use may produce changes in a person’s brain structure and function that can create a predisposition to developing mental illness.

How Common is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis, the presence of a substance abuse disorder and a co-occurring mental health disorder, is not rare. It is estimated that as many as 45 percent of people with addiction also have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

What are Signs Someone May Have a Dual Diagnosis?

As you would imagine, the signs of a dual diagnosis can vary widely from person to person. These are some symptoms to look for:

  • Sudden change in general behavior
  • Difficulty managing daily tasks and responsibilities
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Neglecting health and hygiene
  • Disillusioned thinking
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Avoiding social activities or events that the person once enjoyed
  • Refusal to seek treatment
  • Refusal to follow advised treatment
  • Mentions of thoughts of suicide or suicidal behaviors
  • Erratic or impulsive behaviors
  • Issues managing finances
  • Poor performance at school or work

What is Necessary to Prepare for Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Wasatch Crest?

Wasatch Crest treats dual diagnosis individuals whose primary diagnosis is a substance abuse disorder. If a person’s primary diagnosis is a mental health disorder, Wasatch Crest will work to find the client appropriate treatment elsewhere.

We offer residential, inpatient treatment for clients to stabilize. From there, clients can attend our sober living and outpatient programs. During your admissions process, we will discuss the recommended level of care and length on treatment.

Located in Utah’s Wasatch Mountain Range, we have four distinct seasons and regularly host adventure therapy outside in our alpine environment. Before you arrive, our admissions counselors will go over exactly what you bring to Wasatch Crest. We will help arrange your transportation to our mountainside campus.

Once you arrive, you will be welcomed with open arms by our clinicians, admissions counselors, recovery advocates, and current clients.

Dual Diagnosis vs. Other Substance Abuse Treatments

At Wasatch Crest, we treat the underlying cause of your substance abuse disorder. We’ll dive deep to see what is leading you to use, and work with you to heal past trauma, develop healthy coping skills, and ultimately develop a life of purpose and passion.

You will receive medical and mental health care in our healing mountain valley setting. Through our adventure therapy program, you’ll develop effective coping skills and a zeal for life in recovery. You’ll leave with the tools to overcome addiction, while at the same time managing your mental health disorder with healthy coping skill that don’t involve substance use.

With our compassionate, personalized treatment approach, you’ll feel cared for, understood, and on your way to healing and growth.

Contact Us

Our friendly admissions counselors are always available to discuss treatment options and answer any of your questions. We'll help you find a program that is right for you. Give us a call on our 24/7 phone line at 801-358-6698.

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