Having a mental health disorder, such as depression, is a serious condition. When these conditions are combined with a substance abuse disorder, such as drugs or alcohol abuse, achieving sobriety and quality of life are even more difficult.
Dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders refers to a person that suffers from both a mental illness and a substance abuse disorder. Dual diagnosis is unfortunately common. Greater than half of drug abusers also reported having a mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Drug Treatment Centers Chapel Hill provides help looking for dual diagnosis treatment programs based on the needs of each individual person. For more information, call (919) 928-5400.
According to NAMI, an estimated 335,000 adults in North Carolina live with a serious mental illness. This number is nearly four percent of the state’s total population. However, only 34 percent of adults in North Carolina with a mental illness seek treatment for their condition or conditions. Those at higher risk for dual diagnosis include men, military veterans, poor- or working-class individuals or those with multiple medical illnesses.
Without treatment for mental disorders and addiction, a person is more likely to suffer from homelessness, illnesses, suicide and incarceration. Those with a dual diagnosis also typically have a shorter lifespan.
Mental health disorders can range from mild to severe. However each disorder can severely impact a person’s quality of life. Examples of conditions associated with addiction include eating disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety.
A person may use drugs or alcohol as a means to escape painful flashbacks or memories of past events. This is true for those suffering from PTSD, who have experienced a traumatic event, such as being in a war zone, natural disaster or the subject of abuse.
Drugs, including stimulants, may also serve as an appetite suppressant for those suffering from eating disorders. One example is anorexia, where a person has a distorted body image and believes he or she is “too fat” or much larger.
Some people may use drugs or alcohol to overcome great feelings of sadness or stress. This is true for those who experience depression and anxiety. Doing drugs or drinking can provide a temporary escape from these fixations. Unfortunately, the feelings often come back or can be worse than before after a person withdraws from a particular substance.
Those with OCD may also use drugs or alcohol to relieve the intense anxiety and turmoil that being fixated on certain thoughts and behaviors can cause.
Drug treatment centers focus on helping patients and their families understand how a dual diagnosis affects a person as a whole.Treatments for both substance abuse and mental health disorders are known as integrated health. The drug rehabilitation process often begins with detoxification or withdrawing from a substance so a person’s body is no longer physically dependent.
Psychotherapy involves engaging in discussions with a mental health professional to determine how a person’s behaviors and actions have brought him or her to this point in life. Psychotherapy is often followed by behavioral treatments that help a person identify negative or ineffective ways of thinking that could lead to relapse.
After a person completes a rehabilitation program, it’s important to stay active in preventing relapse through after care services. Examples of after care services include counseling, family therapy and self-help groups, including SMART Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.