Substance abuse does not always present by itself. Sometimes, there are other mental health conditions that present right alongside it. The problem is, when multiple conditions are obvious at the same time, the symptoms of one can mask the other, making it hard to identify the true issue. Because of this, the underlying problem may sometimes go unrecognized and untreated, with treatment focusing entirely on the symptoms rather than the root cause.
Dual diagnosis treatment provides an answer to this, and a way to ensure that all mental health issues are identified and treated. At Above It All, we are proud to provide dual diagnosis care through our network of facility partners. We invite you to learn more about some of these complex scenarios, and about how hope and healing are ultimately achievable.
What are Co-Occurring Disorders?
Co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis is when someone experiences a mental illness and substance abuse at the same time. Proper treatment requires all issues—not just addiction—to be identified, diagnosed and ultimately addressed.
List of Mental Health Disorders
The list of potential co-occurring disorders is a long one, and includes everything from depression and bipolar disorder to PTSD and anxiety. An important note is that the cause-and-effect relationship between these different conditions is often hard to identify. Sometimes, there is a shared underlying factor—like an abnormality in brain chemistry—that causes the different conditions. In other cases, the issue may be one of self-medication; for example, an individual may turn to alcohol or to drugs as a way to soothe and mitigate the symptoms of anxiety, OCD or depression. Dual diagnosis care can help bring clarity to these complicated relationships.
Above It All’s network of facility partners treats a wide range of co-occurring disorders. Here are some examples of the dual diagnosis conditions we treat:
Everyone feels sad from time to time; this is a normal and even a healthy part of being a human. Persistent or debilitating melancholy, however, may go beyond mere emotion. In fact, it may be the sign of a serious, chronic mood disorder. Depression, when left untreated, can affect all areas of life—sleeping, eating, work, relationships, and more.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health issue that is characterized by extreme shifts between mania (high energy and elevated mood) and depression (low energy and mood). While we all have our ups and downs, those with bipolar disorder may swing from extreme to extreme fairly frequently. Above It All’s partners offer diagnosis and treatment for those who are struggling with this chronic condition.
When we experience trauma, we can sometimes carry unpleasant memories with us for the rest of our lives. Those with PTSD have more than just unpleasant memories: They have intrusive, unwanted memories, flashbacks and nightmares, as well as other ongoing emotional symptoms. Diagnosis and treatment can provide relief. Those who most commonly face PTSD include soldiers, those who have lived through abuse, accident survivors, etc.
As with depression, there is a significant difference between everyday emotions (occasional worry or tension, in this case) and persistent, often debilitating symptoms, such as crippling worry or irrational fear. Those with anxiety problems may have sustainable, worsening nervousness or stress. Above It All’s facility partners can provide tools for coping with anxiety, without the need of drugs or alcohol.
This severe, ongoing mental health disorder can affect the way a person thinks, behaves and relates to others. Those who struggle with schizophrenia can even feel as though they have lost touch with reality. Sometimes, the symptoms can include hallucinations. Again, prompt diagnosis and treatment can make a major difference.
Those who struggle with OCD wrestle with obsessions and compulsions—thoughts they cannot avoid and rituals or habits they must fulfill, even when doing so makes more sense or is even harmful. OCD interferes with relationships, school and work responsibilities, but hope and healing are more than attainable with the proper care.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Above It All
Co-occurring mental health disorders are all too common among those already wrestling with addiction—but clinical intervention can bring about recovery and lifelong freedom. Learn more about dual diagnosis care, for yourself or your loved one, by contacting Above It All today.