Woman on chair holding stomach wants to know what is dual diagnosis and is she suffering with it.Trying to get a drug addiction under control is hard enough without a mental condition getting in the way. However, it’s pretty common for people to have an addiction and an additional mental disorder at the same time. This situation requires treatment for co-occurring disorders. First, let’s address the question, “What is dual diagnosis?”

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Many people have heard the term “dual diagnosis” from rehab centers or internet forums. However, they still ask, “What is dual diagnosis?” Having co-occurring disorders simply means that someone has both an addiction and a mental health condition. Some mental disorders occur with addiction more often than others, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia

However, the diagnosis of co-occurring disorders is fairly new in the realm of addiction treatment. Until the 1990s, doctors only gave mental health treatment to people with mental illnesses. Likewise, they only gave addiction treatment to those with drug problems. They denied mental health treatment to those who also had an addiction until they received treatment for their addiction.

Which Comes First?

After getting the answer to, “What is dual diagnosis?” the question that most people have is, “Which comes first?” When it comes to co-occurring disorders, either the mental illness or the addiction can come first.

Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression can lead people to use drugs to cope with their emotions. On the other hand, some of the side effects of addiction are anxiety and depression. Since the disorders affect each other, people with both have to treat them at the same time.

What Are the Criteria for Treatment?

People must receive a diagnosis of having co-occurring disorders from a qualified therapist, counselor or doctor. They must also meet a set of diagnostic criteria, which includes symptoms at a certain level of severity. Some of these include mood swings, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts. The diagnosing physician must also have ruled out other symptoms and disorders.

What’s Different About the Treatment?

The main difference between addiction treatment and programs for co-occurring disorders is the treatment of both problems. The effect that mental illnesses and addictions have on each other complicates people’s treatment plans. However, rehab centers can create custom plans that effectively address both issues and keep them under control.

In general, treatment for co-occurring disorders starts with detox to stop addictive drug use. Treatment centers might administer medicines to treat the mental illness during this process.

When the patients are stable, rehab starts with therapy. Most treatment centers use a combination of individual and group therapies. Family therapy is also very beneficial because it builds a network of support and rebuilds relationships.

Get Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders

It can be difficult to diagnose co-occurring disorders, but it could be the answer that you’re looking for. Getting a dual diagnosis can explain some of the symptoms that you have. Steps to Recovery is here to provide the help you need. Our treatment options include:

  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Intensive outpatient program
  • Outpatient rehab
  • Sober living

Don’t let co-occurring disorders ruin your life. Get the right treatment plan to help you overcome them. Call Steps to Recovery now at 267.209.7312 to learn how to get well and sober.