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Dual Diagnosis

 

Research has found that a high percentage of individuals with addiction problems also have mental health conditions that contribute to their substance abuse. These individuals may be attempting to self-medicate their symptoms with drugs or alcohol. In other cases, the substance use itself can cause a mental health problem that keeps the person addicted. Dual diagnosis programs in New Mexico were designed to treat both addiction and mental health problems, so that individual can succeed in their recovery.

Understanding Dual Diagnosis

The term “dual diagnosis” was coined by addiction treatment professionals to describe conditions in which both substance abuse problems and mental health problems co-occur. The high number of people who exhibited both of these problems alerted them to the need for specially designed programs that could manage both issues at the same time. Dual diagnosis treatment focuses on evaluating patients for mental health problems and providing the treatment they need to succeed in overcoming addiction.

Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

The interaction between mental health problems and substance abuse is complex. Pre-existing mental health conditions can cause individuals to use substances to self-treat symptoms and manage their behavior, falling into addiction in the process. Other times, substance abuse itself can cause its own anxiety and depression, or a worsening of underlying problems that can make mental health problems more severe.

Statistics on Addiction and Mental Health

According to the National Association on Mental Illness, up to 1/3 of individuals with substance abuse problems also have a mental health condition, and in about ½ of these individuals, the mental health condition is severe. These figures show how important the availability of dual diagnosis treatment is for many individuals in New Mexico.

Types of Mental Health Problems Seen With Addiction

Anxiety and Addiction – Individuals often use opiate medications to relieve the overwhelming anxiety that impacts their daily activities.

Depression and Addiction – Many alcoholics also have underlying depression that they attempt to manage with drinking.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Addiction – Alcohol helps to relieve the depression and isolation that many individuals with PTSD experience. They may also use opiate drugs to control insomnia and nightmares.

Eating Disorders and Addiction – Alcohol or drugs are often used to reduce appetite and cover anxiety associated with eating disorders.

Treatments for Dual Diagnosis Problems

Psychopharmacology – A variety of medications are available to help treat symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, schizophrenia and other problems.

Psychotherapy – Counseling therapy for mental health conditions can help patients deal with the everyday problems of living with problems that affect their ability to function in normal life.

Behavioral Therapy – Behavioral therapy helps patients to monitor their own thought patterns and emotional reactions so that they can intervene in their own behavior for more effective management of their symptoms.

Drug Treatment Centers offer Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Because of the high rate of co-occurring mental health problems with addiction, many drug treatment center offer dual diagnosis programs whose goal is to manage the psychological problem along with addiction treatment. Patients who receive effective treatment for mental health issues are more likely to succeed in their recovery and go on to live happy, productive lives after addiction.

The Importance of Aftercare

Aftercare is a system of preparation of patients for life after the treatment program has ended. It is particularly important for dual diagnosis patients because they require ongoing counseling and medication for their mental health conditions, as well as support for their addiction recovery efforts. Effective programs will provide referrals to community agencies to continue the patient’s mental health care and to addiction support groups that focus on dual diagnosis issues in recovery.

Contact a Treatment Center

Addiction can be a complex problem that involves mental health issues that need treatment. If you suspect anxiety or depression is contributing to your addiction problem, contact an addiction treatment center in New Mexico to learn about dual diagnosis programs that can help you.