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Up until the early 1990s, those who suffered from a mental disorder such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder in conjunction with a substance dependency disorder were treated for both issues separately. These two disorders frequently overlapped, though those who were suffering from psychological conditions were denied psychiatric assessment or management until they had been successfully treated for their addictive disorder. Today, we call this dual diagnosis.
Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment
Many cases of substance dependency are heavily influenced by attempts to self-medicate symptoms of underlying psychological disorders. For this reason, treating both issues separately proved to be very rarely effective, and chronic relapse was almost an inevitability amongst those suffering from co-occurring conditions.
Fortunately, psychological disorders and substance dependency issues are now treated as part of a continuum at dual diagnosis inpatient treatment facilities nationwide. We at The Lighthouse Recovery Center specialize in treating mental disorders and addiction simultaneously, and fully understand the significance of comprehensive and thorough care. Not only do we have licensed addiction specialists on staff, but we have a team of experienced psychiatrists and mental health professionals on-site to successfully diagnose and treat all potential dual diagnosis disorders.
Common Dual Diagnosis Disorders
- Genetic Predisposition – Genetic factors play an important role in both the development of addiction and in the presence of psychological disorders. Your DNA could put you at greater risk for developing one, the other, or both. Genetic factors, additionally, make it more likely that one condition will occur after the other has appeared (in example, if symptoms of depression begin presenting themselves in an individual with genetic predisposition to substance abuse, it is significantly more likely that he or she will begin using drugs or alcohol within a short matter of time).
- Developmental Issues – If an individual begins abusing drugs or alcohol at an early age, he or she is far more prone to harming the brain and acquiring significant developmental issues. It has also been found that those who undergo mental health problems early on in life will turn to drug and alcohol abuse later on in life.
- The Brain – The areas in the brain that are directly affected by depressive disorders are the same areas in the brain that are affected by prolonged alcohol and drug abuse. Depression, for example, directly affects the area of the brain that handles stress responses. Substance abuse affects the same area of the brain, affecting stress responses in different ways. Thus those that suffer from depression may be more likely to abuse drugs in order to neutralize the effects or symptoms of their psychological disorder.
- Environmental Factors – Environmental factors such as traumatic experience or constant stress have been shown to affect the likelihood of substance abuse and depression in certain individuals. Those who grow up in dysfunctional households, for example, are more prone to suffer from dual diagnosis disorders than those who grow up in supportive and loving households in areas less prone to prevalent drug abuse.
Simultaneous treatment for depression and addiction is pertinent, and it is typically a multifaceted process. Many addicts who suffer from depression will need to undergo a combination of intensive personal therapy, regular interaction with supports in a group setting, and the professional prescription of antidepressants.
Our Mission at Lighthouse Recovery Institute
Anxiety is another exceedingly common disorder amongst those who suffer from drug addiction or alcoholism. In many instances, individuals who are afflicted with undiagnosed and untreated anxiety will resort to using tranquilizers or depressants (such as alcohol) to calm their nerves and self-medicate uncomfortable symptoms. While treatment of symptoms caused by anxiety through drug and alcohol use will cause temporary relief in the afflicted individual, significant long-term damage will inevitably be done.