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What is Dual Diagnosis?

Victory Bay

A dual diagnosis is when someone has co-occurring disorders, such as a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder. Most people who have a mental illness will have a substance use issue at some point in their lives and vice versa.

It can be hard to determine which disorder came first and if one influenced the other. For example, someone who has mental health issues might use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism and may potentially develop a substance abuse disorder. On the other hand, someone using drugs or alcohol excessively can increase the risk for mental disorders or make symptoms of mental disorders even worse. In any situation, while drugs and alcohol can create a temporary feeling of relief, there can be serious consequences.

By identifying a dual diagnosis early on and treating co-occurring disorders together, the chances of recovery are greater.

Common co-occurring disorders

While there are multiple combinations of co-occurring disorders, some of the most common are linked between drug and/or alcohol abuse and:

  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD)

The types of substances being abused can play a role in the mental health disorders that surface or worsen. For example, alcohol is a depressant, so drinking excessively can lead to or enhance depression and anxiety. Additionally, prolonged use of marijuana has been shown to increase paranoia and psychosis in some people.

It may be difficult to identify co-occurring disorders at first, but once you do, it’s important to treat them together rather than individually.

Benefits of treating addiction and mental health together

It can be difficult to spot co-occurring disorders sometimes simply because one is usually at the forefront. Also, many of their symptoms and side effects can look very similar. In many cases, someone can be receiving treatment for one disorder when the other is spotted. That is the best-case scenario because then both disorders can be treated together.

It is important to treat addiction and mental health together and this can be done successfully through a mental health IOP. Mental health intensive outpatient programs, or mental health IOPs, address both substance abuse and mental health disorders in an effort to provide well-rounded care that will address underlying issues. Without understanding how the co-occurring disorders came to be and without treating both disorders, the vicious cycle of addiction and mental health problems can continue. In fact, proper treatment for a dual diagnosis can significantly reduce the chance of relapse.

Dual diagnosis treatment centers

Victory Bay Recovery Center is a dual diagnosis treatment center that focuses on addressing all aspects of your addiction and mental health disorder so you can go on to live a more fulfilling life. We ensure that all of our patients receive multi-disciplinary treatment, including psychiatric services, along with standard therapy practices. We understand that addiction and mental health can have lasting effects on you physically and mentally, which is why we are dedicated to providing you with the best care possible. Contact us at 855.259.1624 to see if our mental health IOP is right for you.

Recovery with Victory Bay

At Victory Bay we’re here to help you achieve a new life with a new start in recovery. To learn more about the variety of treatment programs we offer, including mental health, eating disorders, and substance use, contact us today by calling 855.239.5099.