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Dual Diagnosis in Summit NJ (908) 329-2283

Approximately one-third of people who suffer from alcoholism also suffer from a mental disorder. One-half of people with an addiction to drugs have a mental illness. These statistics are according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. People who have an addiction and a mental disorder are said to have a dual diagnosis. Call Drug Treatment Centers Summit today at (908) 329-2283

Understanding the Dual Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with two conditions complicates treatment. If only one condition is treated in the dual diagnosis, the hope for success is slight. Both conditions must be treated because to increase the chance of recovery. This complex disease can work in multiple ways. In some cases, the mental condition led to the addiction; whereas in others, the addiction led to the mental condition. Some examples of dual diagnosis include:

  • Someone suffering from PTSD abuses substances to dull the memories
  • A person who suffers from anxiety engages in substance abuse to relax
  • Someone who has severe depression self-medicates by abusing substances
  • A person develops a mental disorder from a severe substance abuse problem

Many times, these drugs actually cause the very behaviors that the person is trying to get away from. Alcoholism often leads to depression and many drugs lead to compulsive behaviors, or paranoia, when the person is suffering withdrawal or “coming down” from a high.

The Challenges of Multiple Conditions

One of the primary challenges is being able to diagnose the condition. It is too easy to blame the excessive drinking on social anxiety or believe the depression is the result of the alcoholism. The person then goes for treatment of the one condition, but it is not long before he or she reverts back to the old patterns. Without an accurate diagnosis of both conditions, it is difficult to have successful outcomes. Family members cannot be too quick to dismiss behaviors, but must look for indications of a secondary problem.

While you can use two separate treatment programs for the co-existing disorders, treatment is more effective when it happens simultaneously at one facility. You may have more than one therapist, but they will work together and communicate to ensure progress is being made with both conditions.

Treatment for Co-Existing Disorders

The same treatment for sole addictions is also needed for multiple conditions. The addict must still go through detoxification and therapy for the addiction. However, he or she will also need additional therapy for the mental condition. The person may also require medications to treat the disorder. In these cases, alternative therapies are often beneficial. People who cannot make progress with traditional therapies may find that treatments such as art therapy or yoga help them move along in the program. Pet therapy or equine therapy is often useful in these cases when the person cannot relate to other people.

People with a dual diagnosis will most likely benefit from multiple therapies. They may begin with a residential treatment program where they can be monitored closely. As they transition to an outpatient program, they will continue to need support. This often comes in the form of group therapy and individual counseling. Medication therapy may be ongoing for the mental condition if it is not curable. Long-term programs such as a 12-step may be an important option to consider for long-term sobriety as the person battles with mental health concerns and the addiction.

While it is not easy having a second condition besides the addiction, treatment is available. The person and his or her family must find a facility that offers dual diagnosis treatment for the best outcome. With the right program at Drug Treatment Centers Summit, the person can overcome both the addiction and the mental condition that plagues him or her. Call (908) 329-2283 now.

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