Dual Diagnosis in Boston MA (617) 517-6448

Dual diagnosis is a term for when a person experiences both a substance abuse addiction as well as a mental illness. Mental illness can make substance addiction difficult to treat and vice versa. However, disclosing both illnesses is important for a person undergoing treatment to create an effective dual diagnosis treatment plan.

Dual diagnosis treatment is available to new patients in reputable drug treatment centers. Call Boston Drug Rehab Treatment Centers at 617-517-6448 for more information.

Identifying and Explaining Dual Diagnoses

There are many ways a dual diagnosis may occur. For example, a person may first develop a mental health disorder and turn to drugs or alcohol as a means to self-medicate. Others may begin to abuse drugs and alcohol, which can cause mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, substance abuse can affect a person's brain chemistry, which can lead to neurotransmitter imbalances that trigger mental health disorders.

Whatever the cause and effect relationship, dual diagnosis can make treating both illnesses worse.

Numerous mental health disorders exist, including mood, anxiety, psychotic, personality and adjustment disorders. An estimated one-third of all people with mental illness also have a substance abuse problem, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Common mental health disorders that occur with substance abuse include:

  • Depression is a condition that causes a person to experience extreme negative feelings, such as hopelessness or sadness. Those who suffer from alcoholism often struggle with depression.
  • Eating disorders, which include anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. An estimated 50 percent of people with an eating disorder also abuse drugs or alcohol, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition experienced by those who have been involved in military conflicts, abused or survived a natural disaster. An estimated one-fifth all military veterans with PTSD also have a substance abuse disorder, according to the Veteran's Administration.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition where a person experiences obsessive thoughts or behaviors related to his or her condition. A person may turn to prescription drugs, such as anxiolytics or sedatives, to minimize these thoughts.
  • Anxiety is a condition where a person experiences extreme fear or distress. Women have a higher incidence of experiencing anxiety-related conditions than men, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

An estimated one in eight emergency department visits in the United States is related to a mental health and/or substance abuse disorder, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The most common reason for these visits is a mood disorder, followed by anxiety disorders.

Certain groups of people are more likely to experience a substance abuse addiction and mental health disorder. This includes men, military veterans, those with a high number of chronic medical illnesses and those of lower socioeconomic status, according to NAMI.

There are many different dual diagnosis treatment approaches. This combination of approaches enables a person to find those that work best for him or her. Treatment examples include:

  • Psychopharmacology: Doctors often prescribe medications, particularly for those experiencing mood or psychotic disorders. These treatments should not be the sole focus, but instead utilized in combination with other treatments, such as therapy.
  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy involves individual, group or family therapy to use a variety of treatment approaches, such as cognitive, behavioral or non-directive therapy. These therapies can also help a person build skills, such as social, dating or anger management kills.
  • Behavioral Management: Behavior management is designed to help a person learn more effective behaviors than abusing substances to cope with addiction.

Aftercare in Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Mental illness and substance abuse addiction are each conditions that require continued treatments to ensure a person can stay as well as possible. These conditions cannot be cured, but they can be managed through a combination of wellness approaches. Examples include group therapy, 12-step programs and continued individual counseling.

To learn more about dual diagnosis treatment centers and recovery programs, please call Boston Drug Rehab Treatment Centers at 617-517-6448.

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