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Dual Diagnosis and Co-Occurring Disorders

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders at The Ridge

Many people who struggle with an addiction disorder to drugs or alcohol also experience a mental health disorder at the same time. These are called co-occurring disorders and when diagnosed, the individual receives a dual diagnosis. Those with co-occurring disorders often experience complications during the recovery process if not properly diagnosed and treated; therefore, it is important for everyone enrolling in addiction treatment to be assessed by a professional who can screen for things like co-occurring mental health disorders.

The Ridge is primarily a residential substance abuse treatment facility, we do not treat people presenting with primary mental health issues. However, we offer psychiatric services, in conjunction with substance abuse treatment, to our many patients who suffer from secondary mental health disorders such as depression, PTSD, Bi-polar, anxiety and other common mental health diagnoses.

The Connection between Addiction and Mental Health Disorders

Mental health disorders commonly occur along with addiction disorders. It is nearly impossible to say which disorder came first in most cases, because in reality, these types of disorders tend to develop alongside one another.

We do know that in some cases, a person can struggle with a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD, and after trying to deal with the challenges their disorder causes, the person turns to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. In their minds, drugs or alcohol help calm nerves, relieve anxiety, manage pain, and make them feel better over all. However, the truth of the matter is that once a person starts using substances to meet a need, addiction is only one step away, and then they are left with two conditions that must be treated.

Other times, drug use or alcoholism seem to cause or exasperate mental health disorders. Certain substances cause or worsen depression and anxiety, and others can lead to side effects such as hallucinations and psychosis. In these cases, experts believe the addiction disorder led to a mental health disorder.

Symptoms of a dual diagnosis include:

  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Trouble completing daily tasks and responsibilities
  • Being afraid of and avoiding social activities that the person once enjoyed
  • Disillusioned thinking or cognitive impairments
  • Changes in personal health and hygiene
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicidal behaviors
  • Impulsiveness
  • Trouble with finances
  • Poor work performance or drop in grades
  • Refusal to seek or comply with treatment

Medically Assisted Detox

Dual diagnosis cases are more common today than ever before, because of the increase in knowledge and awareness of these conditions. Many people in the past likely had co-occurring disorders but were never diagnosed and therefore were never properly treated for both conditions. This leads to a cycle of relapse and frustration because the person never truly gets to the heart of their issues.

 

Statistics of dual diagnosis:

  • In 2014, about 21.5 million Americans ages 12 and older (8.1%) were classified with a substance use disorder in the past year. Of those, 2.6 million had problems with both alcohol and drugs, 4.5 million had problems with drugs but not alcohol, and 14.4 million had problems with alcohol only. (NSDUH)
  • 45 percent of people with addiction have a co-occurring mental health disorder. (NSDUH)
  • People addicted to drugs are twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. (NIDA)
  • Nearly 8.4 million adults in the U.S. have both a mental and substance use disorder. (NSDUH)
  • People with severe mental illness are about 4 times more likely to be heavy alcohol users. (NIDA)

Challenges of Treating Someone with a Dual Diagnosis

Just as mental health disorders and addiction disorders occur together, they need to be treated simultaneously as well. Past experiences, conflict in the family, improper thought processes, and physical conditions all play a part in the development of these disorders and can be healed together. In the same way, ignoring that one condition is present prevents treatment staff from getting to the heart of who the person is and why they do what they do. Therefore, treatment for a dual diagnosis should be multi-faceted and comprehensive.

Treatment for co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders includes intensive psychotherapy, individual and group counseling sessions, and medication. Once identified, a dual diagnosis is treated much like an addiction disorder, with a more comprehensive therapy program and the use of medication if necessary.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders at The Ridge

The Ridge is a residential treatment program located in Ohio that is experienced in diagnosing and treating co-occurring disorders. Our program is customized to meet each client’s individual needs, and we conduct a full assessment of each client who enrolls in our program in order to identify complicating factors such as co-occurring disorders.

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