Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment
Mental illness and substance dependency tend to go hand-in-hand, which is no great surprise considering addiction is predominantly a disease of the mind. Those with undiagnosed psychological disorders will frequently turn to drinking and drugging at an early age, attempting to reduce the symptoms they are suffering. The most common mental disorders associated with substance abuse are depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It has been found, in fact, that upwards of half of all men and women currently seeking treatment for addiction issues have been professionally diagnosed as depressed, clinically anxious, or a combination of the two. For those suffering from undiagnosed mental illness, drinking to excess or abusing hard drugs may seem the only available relief. Unfortunately, the use of chemical substance will typically prevent an individual from being properly diagnosed, seeing as symptoms of drug abuse often mimic symptoms of mental disorders. Let’s take a look at the three most common dual diagnosis disorders, and explore why they are commonly overlooked until professional inpatient treatment is finally sought.
Anxiety and Substance Abuse
Anxiety and panic disorders cause a major amount of disruption in the life of the afflicted individual. Nervousness, sweating, shaking, paranoia, difficulty breathing, and dizziness are all characteristic symptoms of anxiety disorders, and they can make day-to-day functioning seem nearly impossible. Many who suffer from anxiety and remain undiagnosed and untreated will turn to alcohol and other chemical substances to relieve their symptoms, becoming physically dependent on the temporary relief provided. Anxious tendencies are typically exacerbated and intensified when chemical substances are not available or being used, which leads to the rapid development of psychological addiction. In order to properly diagnose an individual with an anxiety disorder, he or she must remain completely sober for an extended period of time – thus dual diagnosis treatment is essential.
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Depression and Substance Abuse
Depression and substance dependency tend to feed off of one another – a true two-way street. In many cases, depressed individuals will turn to alcohol to help relieve the overwhelming feelings of melancholy and worthlessness. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2013 stated that depression is a relatively good predictor of first-time alcohol dependence. There are many commonalities between depression and alcoholism or drug abuse, such as genetic predisposition, the areas of the brain affected, and the potential for contributing environmental factors (such as childhood abuse or neglect). Because of this, it is vital that both disorders are treated simultaneously. Many individuals who are thought to be suffering from clinical depression will find that many of their symptoms begin to subside with the discontinuation of regular alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a depressant, after all. Many newly sober alcoholics will be placed on mild antidepressants for a brief period of time, until their brain chemistry has been restored.
PTSD and Substance Abuse
A large fraction of individuals who suffer from substance dependency issues have undergone some kind of major trauma in the past. Female addicts tend to experience sexual trauma more frequently than men, though many men do suffer from PTSD as a result of past emotional trauma or damaging wartime experiences. Of course, these are not the only causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – the initial sources of trauma range significantly. To help ease symptoms caused by PTSD – such as nightmares, flashbacks, feelings of shame, guilt, and self-loathing, and unrelenting paranoia – many afflicted individuals will turn to substance abuse. Because the effects produced by alcohol and drugs truly do offer a sense of relief (however temporary and illegitimate), many men and women quickly become dependent on chemical substance. Dual diagnosis treatment allows clients to get to the root of the issue, and heal therapeutically in a way that causes symptoms to subside on their own – naturally.
Help is Available – Call Lighthouse Recovery Institute Today
Our program of Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment has rapidly become one of the most reputable and well-known programs of recovery throughout Southern Florida. For more information, or to get started on your personal journey of addiction recovery, please feel free to call one of our trained representatives today.