A dual diagnosis is where both substance abuse/addiction and mental health problems are present. For some individuals, a dual diagnosis can develop in tandem. For others, either condition can influence the other.
However, no matter its formation, mental illness and substance abuse are acknowledged to go hand in hand, identified to progress into a dual diagnosis if treatment services are avoided.
With this in mind, receiving treatment for a dual diagnosis is mandatory. In some cases, primary care for the initial condition will be required, soon followed by a treatment plan for the secondary condition.
Receiving a diagnosis can be challenging, linked to the complex side effects of both mental illnesses and addiction.
Here at Asana Lodge, we ease the process of a dual diagnosis through evaluating brain activity. Through both mental illness and substance abuse, chemical imbalances are present in the brain, commonly influencing abnormal activity.
Through our evaluations, the degree of a dual diagnosis can be found, resulting in suitable treatment options.
If you believe you’re living with a dual diagnosis or you’re concerned that either your drug and alcohol addiction or mental illness will advance into a dual diagnosis, contact our team today.
We can help you understand the effect each condition can have on one another.
What is a Dual Diagnosis?
Living with a dual diagnosis can be very difficult. Where both a drug and alcohol addiction and mental health problems are present, severe disruption to an individual’s quality of life can be found.
People with a dual diagnosis are found to struggle through side effects and withdrawal symptoms greater, attempting to balance both conditions.
This is where the greatest challenges lie, by attempting to control both psychological influences.
For some individuals, a primary condition will take over, known to influence the secondary condition later down the line. Yet, for a proportion of individuals, a dual diagnosis can form from the offset, making it extremely difficult to live with.
Here, substance abuse can result in mental health issues, in tandem fuelling further drug and alcohol consumption.
Likewise, existing mental health issues can result in self-medication of substance abuse, again with the potential to worsen mental health side effects. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how the vicious circle of a dual diagnosis can advance.
No matter how severe your symptoms of dual diagnosis may be, it is important that you receive support from a mental health team.
Without this step, greater pressure will be placed on cognitive functioning, along with increased susceptibility to further behavioural or compulsive disorders.
What can cause a Dual Diagnosis?
There are a number of different causations of a dual diagnosis. These will vary from person to person therefore, it is important that underlying influences are identified before treatment begins.
Additional causations can influence a dual diagnosis. However, below are the common influential factors, contributing to a diagnosis of a drug and alcohol addiction and a mental health problem.
- Genetics: Some individuals will have existing genetics which can increase their susceptibility to a standalone drug and alcohol addiction, a mental health condition, or a dual diagnosis.
- Exposure to trauma or stress: For individuals who have experienced exposure to trauma or stress, a greater likelihood of developing a dual diagnosis is present. This will be down to the susceptibility of increased distress or anxiety, commonly leading to both substance abuse and a mental health diagnosis.
- Brain abnormalities: Individuals with brain abnormalities are at higher risk of developing brain problems, identified as dependencies on drugs and alcohol and becoming mentally ill.
- An existing substance use disorder: Individuals who are already abusing drugs and alcohol are likely to develop a dual diagnosis. The side effects of a number of drugs will result in mental health side effects, with the potential to develop into a chronic mental condition.
- An existing mental health condition: People with severe mental conditions are more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. Used as an escape, this consumption can soon develop into a substance use disorder, resulting in a dual diagnosis.
As there are many different causations, identifying a dual diagnosis as complex, it is understandable how a misdiagnosis can occur.
This can, however, result in severe consequences, advancing both conditions. For the best opportunity to receive a dual diagnosis, consider our treatment plans here at Asana Lodge.
Symptoms of a dual diagnosis
As the degree of each condition within a dual diagnosis can vary, symptoms are likely to deviate from person to person.
However, if there is a clear sign that a drug and alcohol addiction is present, where consumption cannot stop or has caused negative impacts on life, along with symptoms including depression, irritability, anxiety and extreme mood swings, it is likely that a dual diagnosis is present.
In this case, considering treatment for a dual diagnosis should be prioritised.
Treating a Dual Diagnosis
To ensure that suitable dual diagnosis treatment can be provided to treat a dual diagnosis, here at Asana Lodge, we focus on brain health and activity.
This will help to provide an accurate diagnosis of the degree of addiction and mental health condition present. From here, personalised treatment plans will be formed, helping to treat both standalone conditions.
For the likes of an addiction, traditional treatment options may be utilised, including a drug and alcohol detox programme, cognitive behavioural therapy and support groups. This will help to motivate physical and mental recovery.
To treat a mental health condition, non-traditional therapeutic therapies may be recommended, helping to heal the mind.
This effective, low-risk approach to treatment will help to improve brain functionality and receptiveness while reducing future opportunities of either condition.
By implementing individual treatment plans, there’s a great likelihood that a dual diagnosis can be worked through. By focusing on one standalone condition, such as substance abuse, it is likely that mental health issues will continue to develop under the surface, commonly influencing future relapses.
For the best possible recovery outcome, understanding the complex makeup of a dual diagnosis is vital.
Through brain activity and a number of psychological, biological, social and spiritual factors, this can be achieved.
Dual Diagnosis Clinic FAQ’s
Here is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about dual diagnosis.
How is a dual diagnosis treated?
Dual diagnosis scenarios are treated by combining alcohol treatments with the best method for treating the particular mental disorder as chosen by the doctor. The goal is to alleviate the alcohol problem so that more attention can be paid to the mental disorder.
How common is dual diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis is more common than most people know. As many as 50% of those suffering from mental health issues are prone to using drugs or alcohol.
How does dual diagnosis affect a person?
Dual diagnosis scenarios affect different people in different ways. In most cases though, the co-occurring disorders are made worse the longer they are ignored.
When does alcohol addiction mean a dual diagnosis?
Alcohol addiction can indicate a dual diagnosis when it is accompanied by symptoms of an underlying mental disorder such as depression, anxiety, etc.