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Dual Diagnosis in Providence RI (401) 648-7636

When someone is diagnosed during addiction treatment with a co-occurring mental illness, it's known as a dual diagnosis. The addiction and the mental illness in a dual diagnosis must be treated separately, but treatment should ideally be integrated in order to provide the best outcome for recovery.

How Common is Dual Diagnosis?

It's long been known that people who have a mental illness may be prone to drug abuse and addiction, but a recent study found that this is far more common than once believed. Half of all people who have a serious mental illness are also addicted to drugs or alcohol, and a third of those with any type of mental illness also have an addiction. Similarly, half of all people who have a drug addiction and one-third of those with an addiction to alcohol also have a mental illness.

The reason for the high number of dual diagnosis patients is largely attributed to the fact that many of those with a mental illness use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, and to make matters worse, these substances almost always worsen the illness, although patients may find temporary relief by using them. Additionally, drugs and alcohol can actually cause the onset of symptoms of mental illness where one didn't previously exist. If you are seeking treatment for co-occurring disorders, call the specialists at Drug Rehab Providence RI for options at (401) 648-7636.

Types of Mental Illnesses Commonly Associated with Co-Occurring Disorders

Anxiety and depression are very common mental disorders that often accompany an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Anxiety is marked by irrational fears and feelings of agitation or panic, while depression is characterized by feelings of self-hatred, hopelessness, and guilt. Other common mental disorders that are frequently cited in co-occurring disorders include:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD), which is characterized by compulsive behaviors, such as hand washing, to combat obsessive thoughts, such as an intense fear of germs. People with OCD may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to ease the intrusive thoughts or reduce the intensity of the behaviors.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can set in weeks or years after being the victim of a traumatic event or witnessing it. PTSD causes emotional instability, nightmares, and flashbacks, which many patients try to relieve with drugs or alcohol.

Eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, which typically stem from a skewed body image and are marked by a self-destructive relationship with food and/or exercise. Those who have an eating disorder may use drugs or alcohol to suppress the appetite or relive feelings of inadequacy.

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Pharmacology, psychotherapy, and behavioral management techniques are largely successful in treating both the addiction and the mental illness present in a dual diagnosis.

  • Pharmacology is the prescribing of medications to help control symptoms of mental illness.
  • Psychotherapy is the term for various types of talk therapy, which help patients become self-aware of and work through various issues surrounding both the addiction and mental illness. Psychotherapies include cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy.
  • Behavioral management helps patients evaluate their behaviors and replace those that are harmful with those that are healthy.

Why Choose a Dual Diagnosis Center for Treatment?

Providence dual diagnosis treatment centers provide comprehensive treatment therapies for both conditions through a highly collaborative effort among the teams treating each illness. Although the addiction and the mental illness are separate conditions that require separate treatments, they have a symbiotic relationship where one feeds the other, and so treating the mental illness with the addiction in mind and vice versa, is essential for improving the outcome for each condition.

Aftercare for Co-Occurring Disorders

Drug and alcohol rehabs always ends with an aftercare plan that's individualized and set in place to help patients maintain motivation and the required skills to stay off drugs or alcohol and to continue the forward momentum enjoyed in treatment. Typical aftercare plans include ongoing therapy and participation in recovery groups. The aftercare plan for a dual diagnosis will also include ongoing evaluation and monitoring of the mental illness, because keeping symptoms in check and assessing the effectiveness of medications used to treat the illness are essential for helping prevent a relapse of the addiction.

For more information about this and other treatment options available at Drug Rehab Providence RI, call (401) 648-7636.

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