What Is Dual Diagnosis?
For many people currently struggling with addiction, the physical effects of substance abuse aren’t their only concern – they’re also dealing with an untreated mental health disorder. Many studies have shown that addiction and mental health conditions often occur together due to many different reasons. When a person has both an addiction and a mental health condition, they are considered to have a dual diagnosis, sometimes called a co-occurring disorder. Seeking dual diagnosis treatment in Georgia means getting help for both concerns, which boosts your chances of recovering from both conditions and leading a normal life once again.
The Connection Between Mental Health and Addiction
Addiction is in and of itself considered a mental health condition because of the way that it affects brain function. Abusing substances makes your brain rely on them to release dopamine, the chemical responsible for making us feel happy and relaxed. This means that normally enjoyable activities no longer make you feel good, and instead, your brain craves drugs to release dopamine. The longer you abuse substances, the more imbalanced your brain chemicals become, setting you up for additional mental health issues. If you have preexisting mental health conditions, drug abuse can make your symptoms worse over time. No matter which condition came first, or even if you aren’t sure which came first, continued drug abuse will only continue to harm your mental health.
How Common is Dual Diagnosis?
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly half of all people in the U.S. with a drug addiction also suffer from at least one mental health condition. People who are diagnosed with a mental health condition are twice as likely as the rest of the population to develop an addiction at some point in their lives. A facility that offers dual diagnosis treatment in Georgia should be well-versed in treating both addiction and mental health conditions to guarantee the best possible outcomes for their clients. Emerge Healing Center is proud to offer a specialized dual diagnosis treatment program to our clients, which offers appropriate treatments to ensure our clients have the tools that they need to overcome both conditions.
Risk Factors for Dual Diagnosis
While addiction and mental health issues may often go hand in hand, this doesn’t necessarily mean that one caused the other. There are a few different factors that influence a person’s likelihood of developing a dual diagnosis. Researchers have identified three different reasons why a person might develop this condition:
- Both addiction and mental health conditions share common risk factors
Both conditions can be influenced by your genetics, daily stress, and a history of physical or emotional trauma.
- Certain mental health disorders can lead to an addiction
This happens when someone uses substances to try and self-medicate their mental health symptoms instead of seeking professional help. Some mental health disorders also influence your brain function in a way that makes it more likely for you to get addicted to drugs, even if you aren’t using them to self-medicate.
- Substance abuse can lead to the development of a mental health disorder
Drug abuse changes the way that your brain functions, making it more likely that you will develop certain conditions like depression and anxiety.
Signs of Dual Diagnosis
If you are worried that you or a loved one is suffering from a dual diagnosis, there are some signs you can look for before seeking dual diagnosis treatment in Georgia. While signs of addiction can vary based on what substance is being abused, the most common include:
- Sudden, bizarre changes in behavior or habits
- Frequent mood swings or inappropriate outbursts of anger
- Secretive behavior
- Frequently asking for money, or stealing or lying to get money
- Signs of intravenous drug use, such as needle tracks
- Sudden and noticeable changes in weight
- Inability to hold down a job, despite previous working experience
- Erratic sleeping patterns
- Using substances as a way to cope with depression, anxiety, etc.
- A history of mental, emotional, or physical trauma
- Family history of mental illness
How is Dual Diagnosis Treated in Georgia?
The most important thing to remember about a dual diagnosis is that it is imperative to be treated for both your addiction and your mental health symptoms. Only treating one fails to address all of your symptoms, making it far more likely that you will keep abusing substances. Dual diagnosis treatment in Georgia addresses both your addiction and your mental illness, giving you a path to recovery for both. Most clients will begin treatment with detox, which helps get all of the substances out of your system so that you can focus on getting better. Next, you will undergo behavioral therapy, both individual and group sessions. This not only helps you to identify the root cause of your addiction but also gives you healthy coping mechanisms to overcome your drug use triggers. Group therapy may seem awkward for many, but it helps support recovery by giving you a place to talk about your experience and daily challenges, as well as celebrate milestones as you achieve them.
Taking the first step to recovery can be a very difficult thing for many people. Emerge Healing Center is here to help with compassionate care with our dual diagnosis treatment in Georgia. Our caring and experienced staff are here to answer any questions you may have about the treatment process, as well as help you to decide on the right treatment path for your individual needs. Contact us today to learn more, and let us help arm you with all of the tools you need to be successful in recovery.