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Dual Diagnosis –¬†Altoona

A dual diagnosis, or a co-occurring condition, means someone is suffering from both a substance abuse problem and a mental health problem. There are a wide range of different dual diagnosis scenarios, such as depression and alcohol dependency, anxiety disorders and opioid addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and benzodiazepine abuse.

Dual diagnosis can be treated in a professional drug and alcohol rehab clinic, with separate programs available for individual disorders and integrated approaches to tackle the underlying cause of co-occurring conditions. For specialized treatment options, call Drug Treatment Centers Altoona at (814) 414-4403.

Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

Co-occurring conditions are a major issue in the community, with people suffering from substance abuse disorders more likely to face mental health problems and people with existing mental health issues also more likely to abuse drugs.

The lack of clear causality is a major problem for therapists and counselors, who have to differentiate between pre-existing conditions and substance-induced disorders. While a number of mental health disorders have been related to addiction, common conditions include:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • ¬†Depression Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality Disorders
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorders

Depression disorders are commonly linked with alcohol dependence, with long-term alcohol abuse likely to lead to feelings of depression and helplessness. There is also a common link between central nervous system depressants and anxiety disorders, with a number of benzodiazepine drugs used medically to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.

In one possible causality theory of dual diagnoses, patients with underlying mental health issues use drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate themselves. In another, use of certain drugs can cause the development of mental health disorders in drug or alcohol abusers.

Common Characteristics of a Dual Diagnosis

The symptoms of a dual diagnosis condition depend greatly on the individual, with underlying mental health issues having a major impact on how people experience this disorder. There are some common characteristics and experiences, however, including feelings of alienation, uncontrolled emotional states, and periods of homelessness.

Care providers at rehabilitation centers will evaluate patients with regard to their experiences and expectations, in an attempt to treat them in the best way possible. Dual diagnosis treatment may include periods of intervention and detox, with medical treatment and behavioral therapy also used alongside relapse prevention programs and counseling.

Prevalence of Co-Occurring Conditions

Co-occurring conditions are a huge problem in America, with the USA National Survey on Drug Use and Health finding that 17.5 percent of all adults with a mental illness also had a co-occurring substance use disorder. This means almost 8 million Americans are suffering from a dual diagnosis, with the vast majority not receiving adequate levels of treatment for their condition.

The prevalence of co-occurring disorders and challenges inherent in treatment are a big issue for care providers, who not only have to correctly diagnose patients but also have to find the right places for them to receive ongoing treatment.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Someone with a dual diagnosis must treat both conditions, ideally in an integrated and holistic fashion. This can be challenging from an institutional point of view, with many drug treatment centers not set up to treat mental health issues and many mental health centers not able to treat substance abuse. When a patient does find treatment, however, it is likely to consist of behavioral therapy, medication, counseling and group support.

The partial treatment of a co-occurring condition may simply treat the primary problem, with the secondary problem addressed once the primary disorder has been stabilized. Other methods aim to treat both disorders equally, either sequentially, in parallel, or in an integrated manner.

Dual diagnosis treatment is available from many drug and alcohol treatment centers, with doctors and support staff able to help patients with this complex and difficult problem. For help that addresses both mental health and drug or alcohol addiction, call Drug Treatment Centers Altoona at (814) 414-4403.



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