For many substance abusers, drugs offer an escape from insurmountable psychological pain. In fact, roughly 60% of users suffer from a mental health condition that contributes to their substance dependency. This phenomenon is called dual diagnosis. If you are struggling with an addiction and are unsure if you need dual diagnosis rehab, here are some things to consider.
Basic Facts About Dual Diagnosis
Dual diagnosis is defined as two or more disorders that jointly affect a patient. The most common synchronal mental health problems involve depression, anxiety and other issues that harbor underlying trauma. There are also cases of dual diagnosis that involve more severe mental health problems like bipolar disorder and even schizophrenia. Sometimes, one of the concurrent disorders in a case of dual diagnosis is of substance abuse. In fact, substance abuse disorders develop alongside other mental health issues so frequently that it simply cannot be a coincidence, which is why most recovery facilities include dual diagnosis rehab as an option for their patients.
Drugs and Mental Illness
If you rely on drugs to feel normal, this an indication that you may be suffering from an unaddressed mental illness. Here is an example: suppose you make the decision to begin using drugs after a death in the family. This decision is motivated by the emotional pain you feel during the early stages of the grieving process. If you are suffering so much distress that the only way to get any relief is through substance abuse, then you may actually be suffering from an undiagnosed case of severe depression—and this combined with substance abuse is a clear-cut case of dual diagnosis.
Another indication that you may be in need of dual diagnosis rehab for your substance addiction recovery is your family history. It is possible for mental illness to run in families, but there is little evidence to suggest that it is a genetic predisposition. In fact, developing mental health issues is arguably more a matter of nurture than nature. Someone who has mentally ill relatives isn’t always mentally ill themselves. In fact, it is usually constant childhood exposure to mental illness that determines your vulnerability to it, as children learn skills and pick up habits from the adults that raise them. If one or both of your parents is suffering from a mental ailment, you may be susceptible to developing the same issues that you grew up observing— and that susceptibility may play a role in your dependency on drugs.
Common symptoms of substance withdrawal among users with mental illness include:
- social withdrawal or isolation
- thoughts of suicide
- flashbacks to past traumatic events
- overwhelming fear or anxiety
- unprovoked aggression and hostility
Interestingly enough, while there is no distinct correlation between psychosis and genetics, there may be a correlation between certain psychosis and certain substances. For instance, studies have shown that stimulants like cocaine and meth are popular among people suffering from depression, while benzodiazepines like Xanax and Ambien are popular among people with anxiety disorders. This shows that users with certain mental illness symptoms may be turning to drugs to “self-medicate” and alleviate symptoms.
The Cost of an Overlooked Dual Diagnosis
If you are unsure whether or not your substance abuse is a case of dual diagnosis, it is more than worth it to find out by consulting with a professional so you can seek appropriate treatment. Otherwise, the overwhelming effects of both your substance abuse and undiagnosed psychosis may result in:
- relationship difficulties
- occupational instability
- financial instability
- emotional instability
- poor physical health
- suicidal tendencies
- poor medical compliance during addiction treatment
- legal trouble that could lead to incarceration
Dual Diagnosis Rehab
If you or someone you know has a substance abuse problem, there may be an underlying mental health issue driving it that has yet to be addressed. It may come as a surprise, but dual diagnosis in cases of addiction is more often the rule than the exception. Poor mental health and substance addiction feed off of each other, so treating both through dual diagnosis rehab will drastically reduce the chances of relapse. For more information about the programs we offer to treat dual diagnosis, please call Wellness Retreat Recovery Center at 888-821-0238.