Substance use disorders can be characterized by complex symptoms, and are caused by a number of factors. Co-occurring mental health disorders often come before, accompany or result from a substance use disorder. This is also called a dual diagnosis. Mental health disorders can cause substance abuse, or worsen it, and make addiction treatment more complex.
Individualized addiction treatment plans are essential to an individual’s success in sobriety. Focused and effective treatment aids you in establishing a solid foundation in treatment, allows you to better heal from addiction and helps prevent concerns of relapse.
Understanding A Dual Diagnosis
Dual diagnosis care addresses your concerns of codependency, dual addictions, serious medical illness, and trauma. Examples of mental illness include:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
An individual may have more than one co-occurring condition. For example, a person may have a cocaine addiction accompanied by both an eating disorder and anxiety. The unfortunate truth is that many individuals who are caught in the depths of depression or other dual diagnoses seek solace through drugs or alcohol.
How Are Substance Use Disorders Shaped By Dual Diagnoses?
There is not always a direct link between substance use and mental health disorders, but the connection between the two is high. Either disorder may exist first. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that “About a third of all people experiencing mental illnesses and about half of people living with severe mental illnesses also experience substance abuse.” Either disorder can influence others in terms of how they originate or are being aggravated.
For instance, if you’re struggling with a mental health disorder, you may increasingly feel out of touch with life and become overwhelmed by the illness. It is often these very things that precede addiction. As a person deals with the adverse effects and sometimes disabling symptoms of co-occurring disorders, he or she may turn to substances to ease the symptoms.
Many drugs of abuse magnify or worsen certain symptoms of mental illnesses. An individual may continue to abuse the substance in an attempt to conquer these symptoms. People may increase the amount and frequency of abuse until addiction forms. Certain drugs and subsequent substance use disorders may actually create instances of mental illness.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes, “Both drug use disorders and other mental illnesses are caused by overlapping factors such as underlying brain deficits, genetic vulnerabilities, and/or early exposure to stress or trauma.”
Regardless of how each disorder began, one thing is certain: to foster sobriety and improve a person’s state of overall health, an individualized dual diagnosis treatment program is necessary.
What Are The Goals Of Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
The ultimate goal of treatment is to achieve sobriety, but the means of getting there varies depending on the individual and his or her needs. Like the individuals who struggle, each situation is unique.
Vertava Health of Massachusetts’s client-centered, holistic treatment, recognizes this. That’s why we integrate a wide range of diverse, engaging treatment methods to ensure your best chance at success in sobriety. With our program, you or your loved one will have the opportunity to address substance abuse and mental health needs with a cohesive treatment plan that’s just for you.
Effective dual diagnosis care instills the following:
- Increased acceptance and change
- Effective coping skills
- Enhanced interpersonal skills
- Stress management techniques
- Greater resiliency
- A relapse prevention plan
Both in treatment and after, the effect of these transformations create better incentives for further positive changes, the continued pursuit of a drug-free life and protection from relapse.
What Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Entail?
Once our expert staff has assessed your physical and mental states, we will create a treatment plan designed specifically for you. Though we integrate improved dietary guidelines into our treatment, an eating disorder may warrant more in-depth nutritional support.
To encourage psychosocial change, we utilize various psychotherapies and research-based techniques. We often begin with medication-assisted therapy (MAT), or therapy by medication. This may begin during the detoxification process to reduce the severity of withdrawal and continue throughout treatment.
Once treatment begins, to create lasting effects, we may employ the following psychotherapies:
Motivational Interviewing (MI): with this approach, the counselor interacts with the client in an engaging way, fostering reflection, insight, and self-efficacy required to incite change. Counselors often use open-ended questions with this technique. This method may also be utilized as a pretreatment, followed by other forms of therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): this approach explores the connection between a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in an attempt to reduce the negative aspects which foster addiction. You’re granted a greater awareness of and ability to change. Participants develop nurturing thoughts and emotions that provide a positive environment for behaviors to thrive.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): this therapy is immensely useful in addressing concerns associated with both substance use and mental health disorders. It employs a number of techniques that help people change lifestyle habits, and weed out triggers that lead to addiction.
Additional Modalities: at Vertava Health of Massachusetts, we accompany these treatments with other practices, including recreational treatments, such as painting and writing, to help inform your emotional state and family and group therapy to improve interpersonal skills.
The Importance Of Overcoming The Stigma Connected To Mental Illness
Through research and the work of countless advocacy groups, awareness and acceptance of mental health disorders have risen greatly. Despite this, for some, there is still an unfortunate, stigma attached to these conditions. While this is harmful on many levels, it can be especially damaging to the person suffering from the illness.
The percent of individuals who believe treatment may help is high, ranging from 78 percent to 89 percent. However, the amount of people who believe this perspective is empathetic is far different, according to the CDC.
They note that while 57 percent of those without a mental illness believe “people are caring and sympathetic to persons with mental illness,” only 25 percent of those with a mental health disorder believe this.
In other words, there could be a gap between need and a person asking for help. If an individual feels shameful or misunderstood for having a mental health disorder, he or she may not speak up. This can cause people to either not seek treatment or not represent their needs properly so that they do not receive thorough and specialized care.
Should you or your family member suffer from a mental health disorder along with a substance use disorder, we urge you not to hold back. Letting your treatment care team know about any and all disorders will allow them to design and carry out a treatment plan that best meets your needs.
Balance Your Life, Body, Mind, And Spirit
Substance abuse and addiction can be daunting and is even more difficult to overcome alone. Many people may find the process of seeking help intimidating. You face a number of obstacles and concerns, especially with a dual diagnosis.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Looking at everything on your own can be overwhelming, which is why we exist—to help understand and offer treatment for your individual needs. Contact Vertava Health of Massachusetts today.