People who suffer from substance abuse disorders and mental health disorders are diagnosed as having co-occurring conditions, something also referred to as a dual diagnosis. Although one would think that it would be rather obvious to determine if someone has both a chemical addiction and a co-occurring condition like anxiety or depression, these disorders can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of substance abuse can mask the symptoms of mental illness and vice versa.
The case of co-occurring conditions is much like the chicken and the egg conversation. What came first – the dependency or the mental illness? Say a person suffers from depression. It’s possible that the depression came first and they started using drugs and alcohol to cope with the negative emotions. It’s also possible that the person started using drugs and then began suffering from depression. You can see how the symptoms can overlap and the initial problem can be hard to detect.
Additionally, not all addicts or alcoholics are honest about the situation. If they are being treated for an addiction or alcoholism, they may not bring up their anxiety or depression because they don’t feel it’s relevant to their condition. Or, the same person may be treated for depression but keep their use of drugs and alcohol under wraps.
At The River Source, we see co-occurring disorders frequently. Our medical professionals are experienced in this field and have worked successfully with dual diagnosis rehab programs for clients for years.
Our Dual Diagnosis Drug Treatment Centers Specialize in Treating Some of the Following:
Mood disorders include major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder. Major depression is a feeling of intense sadness, worthlessness, and helplessness for a prolonged period of time, whereas dysthymia is a low-grade depression that typically doesn’t interfere with day-to-day living. Bipolar disorders cause extreme mood swings, and sufferers go from one cycle to the next with some periods that are symptom free.
Mood disorders go hand-in-hand with addiction and alcoholism because those who suffer from feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and sadness use drugs and alcohol to escape. The lines become blurred, however, as addiction and alcoholism share many of the same symptoms as depression such as difficulty thinking, lack of interest in activities, and problems with sleeping and eating. The key is treating the depression so that the client is better able to stop their reliance on drugs and alcohol.
It’s normal for the body to feel anxiety, as this is the fight-or-flight response to danger that allows a person to deal with something they view as a threat. But when anxiety is triggered unnecessarily, the person may end up restricting their life and develop an anxiety disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, or obsessive compulsive disorder.
Addiction and/or alcoholism is common in people with anxiety because they use chemical substances in an attempt to cope with their fears and relax in social situations. Ironically, drugs and alcohol only intensify feelings of angst, nervousness, and paranoia, worsening the anxiety disorder. The only way to improve the patient’s health is for the abuse to stop and the anxiety to be treated at the source.
Personality disorders are defined as persistent patterns of inner experience and behavior that is inflexible and deviates from cultural expectations. These disorders generally surface in adolescence or early adulthood and remain stable for some time before causing great distress or impairment. Examples of personality disorders include schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.
Each personality disorder is truly unique, but again, the symptoms are often intertwined with symptoms of drug abuse. The symptoms associated with personality disorders are generally more invasive than with mood or anxiety disorders because they replace the person’s entire way of thinking and behaving, leading to delusions, hallucinations and a loss of contact with reality. Intense therapy is required.
The River Source treats the addiction and the underlying condition so that the patient can experience relief from both. Contact us today to learn more about our integrative approach.
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