Dual Diagnosis/Co-Occurring Disorder Rehab
Do you or your loved one struggle with a mental illness and a drug addiction?
Someone who is struggling with an addiction and one or more mental illnesses simultaneously is typically said to have a dual diagnosis. The addition of another illness to the already complex problem of addiction makes treatment of dual diagnosis complex and best managed by knowledgeable professionals. This may sound scary, but it’s actually quite common. Many people unconsciously turn to drugs or alcohol to mitigate symptoms of other illnesses.
The professionals at 12 Keys are experienced with helping those struggling with co-occurring disorders to recover and lead fulfilling lives. If you or your loved one is ready to start a journey toward a brighter future, contact us today. Our counselors are ready 24/7 to answer your call or email.
We have the answers to your most important questions below:
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Dual Diagnosis?
The signs and symptoms of addiction and dual diagnosis often overlap. Often, addiction specialists suspect an underlying mental disorder, but can’t identify it until the addiction is treated.
Common signs and symptoms of people with a dual diagnosis include:
People living with a dual diagnosis often find even simple daily tasks too difficult. For example, someone suffering from both schizophrenia and alcoholism may find it difficult to choose what to eat for breakfast, or even to remember to eat.
Because each mental illness creates unique symptoms, diagnosing a concurrent mental illness and addiction takes time. Each person’s combination of mental illness and substance abuse can cause specific problems that must be identified and addressed by a mental health professional. This is most easily completed in a rehab center, where staff members can observe clients interacting with others and participating in daily activities. They can then separate out the symptoms of addiction from mental illness.
Additionally, as clients participate in therapy during rehab, patterns emerge from their stories that can help therapists identify underlying mental illnesses. That’s why finding a rehab center that treats dual diagnosis clients is critical if you suspect that you or your loved one has mental health issues in addition to drug or alcohol problems.
How Do I Know if Have a Dual Diagnosis?
It's difficult to assess your own mental and behavioral health to determine if you have a dual diagnosis. Rather than guessing your diagnosis, it’s vital to contact an experienced specialist who can assess your condition. A clinical psychologist or psychiatrist is best suited to diagnose mental or behavioral health illnesses combined with addiction. Give us a call to speak with a counselor today.
How Does a Medical Professional Know if I Have a Dual Diagnosis?
Remember that the symptoms of both addiction and mental health problems can overlap. Most clients seek treatment for drug and alcohol disorders first. It’s only after detox that other symptoms remain, which shows mental health professionals that the individual is suffering from something more than addiction.
Medical professionals usually recommend a window of two weeks or more of observation after a client has completed detox in order to assess other symptoms. It’s only after a certain amount of time has elapsed that other symptoms previously masked by substance abuse can surface and be correctly diagnosed.
After several therapy sessions, we may see patterns emerge in your behavior, coping mechanisms, or other observable symptoms that can help us pinpoint the underlying mental health issues.
How Do I Know if my Primary Problem is Substance Abuse or a Mental Disorder?
It can be tricky to distinguish the symptoms of a mental or behavioral health illness from common addiction symptoms. Our clients diagnosed with concurrent mental or behavioral health illnesses frequently have to be sober for up to two weeks before their secondary illnesses manifest. Recovery must go hand-in-hand with treatment for mental or behavioral health illness, but the exact illness is hard to diagnose until recovery is underway.
We need time to observe a your behavior, as well as learn in therapy sessions. In time, patterns may emerge that can help diagnose the origin of a problem. However, it can be difficult to find the exact cause in many cases. Your history of substance abuse yields important clues as to whether or not a mental illness precipitated addiction — or whether addiction led to maladaptive behaviors and patterns.
What matters most in dual diagnosis is seeking and receiving the appropriate treatment for both substance abuse and mental illness. With the right medication and therapy, as well as remaining sober and free from addictive substances, clients can successfully recover.
How Are Mental Illness and Addiction Related?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 percent of people with a drug abuse disorder also suffer from mental illness. This ‘shared vulnerability’ is so common that professionals in both the mental health and recovery worlds look for patterns to indicate dual diagnosis among their clients.
There are many reasons why people suffer from both addiction disorders and mental illness. Some scientists believe that the same area of the brain impacted by mental illness is also affected by substance abuse. They also believe that people who have a genetic predisposition to substance abuse may also have a genetic predisposition to mental illness. In other words, it’s their biology, not their character, that lies at fault.
People often turn to substances to self-medicate uncomfortable feelings. They drink alcohol or take drugs to feel more comfortable and confident in social situations. They smoke marijuana or take hallucinogens to feel better when their world seems off balance. Over time, however, this self-medication backfires, and they need more of the substance to get the same effect. This ultimately leads to addiction.
Drugs and alcohol also damage key areas of the brain that can cause symptoms of mental illness to worsen. Not only does self-medication with substance abuse lead to addiction, but it can also cause the original illness to worsen. Only sobriety, followed by recovery and proper treatment for mental illnesses, can help someone return to full health.
What Starts First – Substance Abuse or the Mental Disorder?
It’s difficult to say which came first, a mental illness or substance abuse. Many people with mental illnesses begin taking drugs or drinking alcohol to cope with their feelings. They soothe anxieties with alcohol or drugs, and then they turn to stimulants to have enough energy after a binge to go to work or school. Over time, addiction develops even though mental illness came first.
For other people, however, drugs can lead to damage to the brain that causes symptoms of mental illnesses. Many individuals may have a genetic predisposition to either addiction or mental illness, but only find that, after increasing the amounts and types of substances abused, their mental illness symptoms appears.
It really doesn’t matter which came first. The important thing to remember is that help and recovery are possible for addiction and mental illness. Proper diagnosis and treatment is the key to a successful recovery.
What Common Mental Disorders are Associated with Dual Diagnosis?
Although each person is unique, dual diagnosis follows several known patterns. The following are common mental and behavioral health disorders that are often associated with drug or alcohol abuse.
- Alcohol and anti-social behavior: It is not uncommon to find out that people who drink alcohol to excess might also struggle with an anti-social personality disorder. Alcohol addiction can also coincide with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Marijuana and schizophrenia: Marijuana and schizophrenia produce similar symptoms, so it’s often difficult to distinguish which is causing a client’s hallucinations and disordered thinking patterns. Researchers aren’t sure why, but schizophrenics often reach for pot to ease their symptoms. It tends to make symptoms worse, however, and leads to a dual diagnosis of marijuana addiction and schizophrenia.
- Heroin and depression: Heroin produces an initial euphoria and burst of pleasure, but over time, it can actually lead to depression. Depression may also cause people to seek drugs to give them pleasure. It’s a vicious cycle that can lead to heroin dependency as well as depression for many people.
- Benzos, tranquilizers and anxiety: Some medications, such as Klonopin, are prescribed as short-term treatments for panic attacks and anxiety. Trouble arises when people take more than the prescribed dose and end up hooked on benzos. Other tranquilizers can cause similar problems when people take them to ease anxiety and panic disorders – users end up needing both uppers and downers to get through their days.
How Common Is Dual Diagnosis?
It can be frightening to learn that you have another condition in addition to your addiction, but dual diagnosis is very common. According to some studies, about half of all people with an addiction also have a dual diagnosis.
If you think about it, this happens with a lot of other illnesses, too. For example, many people are diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes, so it makes sense that a simultaneous addiction and mental illness diagnosis is possible as well. There’s no shame in being diagnosed with any disease, including addiction and mental or behavioral health disorders. Diseases require treatment, and that’s why 12 Keys offers experienced counselors to help you recover completely.
What Are the Statistics and Recovery Rates for Dual Diagnosis?
While there is a staggering amount of people suffering from dual diagnosis, there is hope for recovery. The following statistics are provided by SAMSA, the national clearinghouse for health data, as reported on Dual Diagnosis:
- 17.5 million Americans have a serious mental illness. About 4 million of those people also have an addiction disorder.
- People with dual diagnosis are often misdiagnosed. Among those with dual diagnosis, 34 percent received only mental health treatment, while 2 percent received rehab.
- Only 12 percent of people with dual diagnosis correctly received treatment for both diseases.
- Approximately 40 to 60 percent of people with addictions recover.
- Mental illness recovery rates are comparable.
How Is Dual Diagnosis Treated?
After entering rehab, you’ll need to detox from the addictive substances in your body. Detox can take a few days to several weeks depending on the severity and nature of the addiction. During this time, other symptoms related to any underlying mental or behavioral health illness may still be suppressed. It’s only after your system has been clear of drugs or alcohol for a while that doctors can get a clear idea of other problems that may exist.
Typically, your recovery will focus on detox, rehab from your addiction, and rebuilding your body, mind and spirit. You may be prescribed a medication to treat your mental or behavioral health disorders, such as an antidepressant or another medication. You won’t become addicted to these medications — they are substances that support your body’s ability to function normally again.
By focusing first on detox and recovery, you can clear the way for professionals to help you identify any other issues that have contributed to your addiction. Once these illnesses have been diagnosed, a treatment protocol can be prescribed by a psychiatrist or physician experienced with dual diagnosis clients. In the meantime, your health will improve and you’ll be gaining skills that help you maintain your sobriety and continue to a full recovery.
Should the Substance Abuse or Mental Illness Be Treated First?
The first step for anyone who thinks they are suffering from a dual diagnosis is to enter addiction treatment. Once detox is completed and the drugs have left your system, your recovery support team can look for signs of mental illness.
Drugs and alcohol can often mask the signs of mental illness. It’s only after you or your loved one is free from both for at least two weeks that professionals can assess their behavioral patterns for other signs of mental illness.
How Will My Treatment Be Different From Someone Without a Dual Diagnosis?
Treatment for addiction is similar for people with both dual diagnosis and a single diagnosis of substance abuse disorder. In both cases, you must remain sober to receive treatment and learn the steps of recovery.
Individuals with dual diagnosis may undergo different types of therapy. They may also be prescribed medications by a psychiatrist to treat the symptoms of their mental illness. People who are suffering from substance abuse disorder and people with dual diagnosis will both undergo detox, participate in therapy sessions, and attend 12 step recovery meetings.
Is 12 Keys Rehab Equipped to Properly Treat Dual Diagnosis Clients?
12 Keys has treated hundreds of dual diagnosis clients. We have extensive experience in identifying and working with clients with both mental health issues and addiction.
Many of our team members are recovered addicts themselves. In addition to their extensive education and credentials in substance abuse treatment and mental health, they know firsthand what it’s like to go through recovery. These are people with real-world experience helping you — not just people with classroom experience. Their expertise and genuine understanding of what you’re going through make a monumental difference in your recovery.
How Is 12 Keys Rehab Qualified to Treat Dual Diagnosis?
The staff of 12 Keys is led by Dr. Victor Balta, a psychiatrist and neurologist with over 25 years of experience. Dr. Balta’s training and experience enable him to provide excellent care for all of our clients.
The staff at 12 Keys also includes therapists and counselors certified in treating substance abuse clients. Many are former addicts themselves. They know what you’re going through, and they can give you the empathy, compassion and care that you need to recover.
How Can My Family and Friends Help With Treatment?
Your family plays a crucial role in your recovery. During treatment, you and your family will learn new methods of communication. You and your loved ones will learn how to cope with your addiction and any other existing mental or behavioral health illnesses. Family members will learn how to support you without enabling you to continue your addiction. If there are any other problems within the family, additional therapy or counseling may be suggested to heal the family structure and prevent an addict from relapsing.
What Can I Do to Improve my Recovery?
As with recovering from any illness, what you do can impact your recovery. There are several steps you can take to help yourself recover. This includes:
- Participating fully in your treatment. Attend therapy sessions, 12-step meetings and other activities for your recovery.
- Practicing good self-care. This means getting adequate rest, exercise and nutrition.
- Remain open to suggestions from your therapist, counselor and sponsor. Use their suggestions to the best of your ability to facilitate your recovery.
- Take any medications prescribed by your doctor. Follow your doctor’s instructions exactly.
- Report any changes in your health or thinking to your doctor or counselor immediately. For instance, if you suddenly start feeling down or depressed and can’t pinpoint a reason, tell your support team. They want to help you, and you can help yourself by sharing with them any changes like this.
How Long Will Treatment Last if I Have a Dual Diagnosis?
It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact timeframe for treatment. Dual diagnosis may take longer to treat successfully than a single diagnosis of substance abuse disorder. You’ll need time for detox, as well as time for professionals to observe your behavior and interact with you in therapy. An adequate amount of time enables them to provide an accurate diagnosis. Call to speak with a counselor at 12 Keys for advice.
If you are prescribed medications to treat mental illness, these medicines often take time to act. It may take weeks, or even months, for you to experience the full effect. While it’s impossible to give you an exact timeframe, the staff at 12 Keys will do everything possible to help you. Healing takes time, especially healing from addiction and mental illness.
How Do I Explain My Dual Diagnosis to Others?
You’re under no obligation to tell anyone the details of your diagnosis. You’ll probably want to share the facts with family and friends closest to you, such as your spouse, parents or children.
Choose the time and place for your talk carefully. Make sure you have privacy, and make sure there’s plenty of time for your loved ones to ask questions and express their concerns and thoughts. Don’t rush the conversation.
Remind them that mental illness has been proven to be a sickness just like diabetes or cancer. Would they think less of you if you told them that you needed chemotherapy to treat cancer? They would want to do everything possible to help and support you. The same is necessary for dual diagnosis.
You may want to ask your therapist if you can bring them to a session so they can ask questions about your treatment and diagnosis. Ultimately, people can and do recover from both substance abuse and mental illness. Dual diagnosis isn’t a sentence, but a statement of fact. If you can help your loved ones understand what this means and how they can take action to help you, the conversation may be easier.
Are There Support Groups Specifically for Dual Diagnosis?
Your local therapist or psychiatrist may know of local support groups for dual diagnosis patients. Some offer group therapy or open sessions for families of dual diagnosis patients to attend.
Because there’s such a prevalence of mental illness among addicts, most groups including Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, have members who have a dual diagnosis. After attending meetings in your local area, you’ll likely get to know these people and can list them among your supportive friends to help you with your dual diagnosis.
How Will I Manage My Dual Diagnosis Once I Come Home?
Before you leave 12 Keys, you’ll create an aftercare plan with your counselor that will help you manage your dual diagnosis once you come home. The plan may include meetings to attend, doctors to see, or other information to help you manage your illness. We want to make sure you get the help you need, and we’re always here to answer questions once you return home.
What Can I Do to Avoid Relapse?
Relapse isn’t inevitable, but it is common. There are several signs that you may be heading for a relapse. Knowing these signs, and taking appropriate actions once you recognize them, can help you avoid relapse.
Some of the signs to recognize include:
- Thinking that you’re cured and can use again. Addicts are never really cured. If you return to your old behaviors, you’ll end up in relapse. If you think you have your addiction under control and can safely have “just one”, you may be heading towards a relapse.
- Avoiding meetings or 12 step work. If you can never seem to fit 12-step meetings or recovery work into your day, you may be heading for a relapse. Recovery should come first. If you don’t hold onto your recovery, nothing else matters.
- Glamorizing past behaviors. If you find yourself reminiscing about binges or past addiction behaviors, you’re forgetting the bad memories and feelings. You may be headed towards a relapse.
Dual Diagnosis Drug and Alcohol Rehab
With 12 Keys dual diagnosis recovery program you’ll have medically-assisted detox, more one-to-one counseling than most other drug and alcohol treatment facilities, small group counseling and client-led counseling. Our private 10-acre waterfront property, located in a lush, subtropical Florida environment, offers you the opportunity to rest, relax, reflect and recover in peace.
The professional staff at 12 Keys believes that what really matters during addiction recovery is learning how to use the coping skills learned in rehab in life outside of 12 Keys. Unlike other drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, the 12 Keys real recovery treatment model focuses on individual healing and multidisciplinary treatment blended with exposure to the outside world. As you learn to deal with the effects of their dual diagnosis conditions, you’ll also address underlying mental traumas and practice coping skills to reengage with the people and activities you love most.
Give yourself the best chance at recovery from your addiction with the help of the caring professionals at 12 Keys Rehab. Contact a counselor and start your recovery today!