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Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Dallas, TX

Dual Diagnosis: Facts, Studies, and Other Essentials

Dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders and co-morbidity, is when an individual is experiencing both a substance use disorder and a mental health condition. A crippling state, considering that interactions between the two diseases can aggravate each other’s situation, people with dual diagnoses often find it hard to seek a viable and efficient treatment.

The link between the two disorders may often lead to hazy prevention and treatment methods. As such, dual diagnosis is considered a constantly evolving disorder type that needs further implementation of focused strategies.

History of Dual Diagnosis

The connection between mental illness and substance use disorder was established in the 1980s. As documented by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), federal health agencies and various health experts have slowly pieced together the connection between mental illness and exposure to chemical abuse. Citing that individuals diagnosed with a combination of said disorders are more likely to stay longer in hospitals.

The prolonged hospital stays by these individuals pushed the health industry and policymakers to focus on how to address this problem in an organized manner. Two areas on tackling the issue emerged: how to conceptually help these individuals and practically use resources to fix the problem.

Additionally, it has been noted that the term “dual diagnosis” may be a misnomer. There have been cases of different co-occurring disorders. Other possible combinations can be developmental disabilities and mental health disorders. Another would be psychological disadvantages and substance abuse.

Still, the dual diagnosis was used to define the said state quickly. By 1989, the dual diagnosis had been included in the Hospital and Community Psychiatry subject index. Considering the growth of individual disorders, studies on dual diagnosis continue to evolve today.

Dual Diagnosis Statistics

Dual Diagnosis Symptoms

It may be challenging to pinpoint a dual diagnosis due to the various symptoms attached to a single disorder. However, general warning signs can point out the possibility of dual diagnosis. Here are some of them:

  • apparent neglect of one’s health and personal hygiene.
  • Loss of focus in managing everyday tasks.
  • A sudden shift in conventional behavior.
  • Cases of cognitive impairment.
  • Loss of drive in school or the workplace.
  • Problems managing finances.
  • Refusal to seek help.
  • Suicidal behaviors.

Why Dual Diagnosis Needs to Be Approached Differently

The overlapping disorders must be identified to properly create and implement effective treatment strategies. Here are some factors that need to be seen to avoid any potential aggravation of either disease:

Genetic Factor

An individual’s genetic predisposition may be linked to substance abuse or mental health disorder.

Environmental Triggers

Stress from the workplace or school may cause mental illnesses or addiction to various substances.

Chemical Triggers

Abusing substances may directly create mental imbalances. A good example is psychosis, which may result from various drug cases of abuse.

Social Stigma

The negative stigma that the public views on both mental illnesses and substance addiction can be overpowering. Social isolation may result from these opposing views, in which the afflicted individual may not be able to seek the proper treatment plan.

Improper Medication

Solely focusing on the treatment of a single disorder may result in aggravating the other. The unwanted interactions between prescribed medication and chemical abuse may result in side effects that further damage one’s physical and mental state.

Mental Health Link

On the flip side, mental health disorders can influence substance abuse. Depression, for example, may result in experimentation with drug or alcohol consumption.

Exposure to Harmful Substances

Individuals exposed to drugs or a culture promoting substance abuse are more likely to suffer from a similar condition.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

A specialized treatment plan needs to be in place that would address both psychiatric and substance abuse issues. Integrated care, as noted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will help treat both conditions in co-occurring disorders and help prevent suicide attempts as well. Here are some important reasons why integrated care is the best way to address dual diagnosis:

  • Integrated care involves group therapy. This proves to be an effective tool for dealing with addiction and mental health disorders. This is because group therapy creates a strong support group for individuals suffering from dual diagnoses.
  • Identifying and treating mental illnesses and substance abuse simultaneously will help individuals correctly associate their unique relapses and the best ways to counter them.
  • It has been noted that medication is more effective when the created pharmacological plan addresses both substance abuse and mental health conditions.
  • Integrated care also involves support from licensed individuals who identify and balance both issues from a psychiatric and substance abuse standpoint.

Integrated care also needs to highly take into consideration the age of the individuals with dual diagnoses. Some factors to note down are:

Medication Plans

As noted above, integrated care has plans that directly address substance abuse and mental health disorders. Antidepressant drugs in combination with anti-addiction medication may be prescribed in tandem to help treat dual diagnosis.

Individual Therapy Approach

Taking a page out of psychiatry, a deep focus on individual care helps self-development to address mental health and substance abuse disorders. A non-confrontational and collaborative approach toward a patient is being promoted by integrated care to confront dual diagnosis issues better.

Residential Treatment Strategies

Individuals suffering from dual diagnosis may also seek help from rehabilitation centers. Using the available resources in these centers, integrated care advocates can focus on adequately treating afflicted individuals.

Outpatient Integrated Care Treatment Solutions

Some individuals may also seek help in an outpatient format. This approach helps afflicted individuals by maintaining a work/study and life routine, with the benefit of setting aside time for proper treatment for dual diagnosis issues.

Holistic Approach

Since dual diagnosis is an evolving field, holistic approaches to treating mental illnesses and substance abuse are accepted and appreciated. Some holistic treatments included in some integrated care plans are hypnotherapy, acupuncture, yoga, and specialized massages.

Education and Advocacy

Integrated care also spreads the correct information, especially to an afflicted individual’s family and loved ones. Proper maintenance can only be done if the issues are identified and addressed.

Support Network Creation

Integrated care helps in creating a reliable support network for afflicted individuals. This approach helps assure individuals suffering from dual diagnosis a long-term treatment plan, with experts and like-minded peers ready to help when the time arises. Prioritizing ongoing support (even after the rehabilitation period for patients in residential treatment setups), relapse is further prevented.

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