Dual Diagnosis

: What is a Dual Diagnosis?
: Signs and Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis
What Causes Dual Diagnosis?
Integrated Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis most frequently refers to people who have a mental health diagnosis and a co-occurring substance abuse disorder. “Co-occurring” disorders like this are very common, affecting over nine million people in the U.S. alone.

In the past, it was common to treat dual diagnosis sequentially; that is, to treat the substance use disorder prior to treating the associated mental health conditions. We now know, integrating treatment of both substance use and mental health conditions supports relapse prevention, and improves mental health symptoms as well.

If you or somebody you love struggles with a dual diagnosis, it is crucial to find a team of supportive mental health professionals who are able to provide integrated care for both mental health challenges and addiction.

What Causes Dual Diagnosis?

As with most mental health issues, there is no single cause of co-occurring disorders. Although one disorder may occur first, it isn’t necessarily the cause of developing the other disorder. However, researchers believe that some contributing factors include:

  • Risk factors such as genetics, stress and trauma

  • Substance abuse over time that may change brain chemistry and cause mental health disorders

  • Using substances to self medicate symptoms of an untreated mental health disorder

Signs and Symptoms Which Indicate a Possible Dual Diagnosis

Here are just a few of the signs and symptoms which, when taken together, could indicate co-occurring disorders…

Symptoms of Mental Illness:
  • Depressed or anxious mood

  • Hallucinations or delusions

  • Significant mood swings

  • Reckless behavior

  • Feelings of worthlessness and despair

  • Isolation

  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns

  • Troubled relations with friends, family, and co-workers

Symptoms of Substance Abuse
  • Frequent tremors, bloodshot eyes, other physical signs

  • Frequent absence from work

  • Changes in sleep and eating patterns

  • Change in friends or isolation

  • Financial problems mood swings

  • Lack of self-care or personal hygiene

  • Prioritizing substance use over family, friends, and work

  • Withdrawal symptoms after a short period of abstinence

While mental health disorders and substance abuse share many of the same signs and symptoms, an experienced team of mental health professionals can accurately diagnose whether a patient suffers from co-occurring disorders.

After a comprehensive evaluation and accurate diagnosis, mental health providers can develop an integrated treatment plan.

Integrated Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

Treatment plans for patients suffering from co-occurring disorders must be individualized to each patient’s diagnosis.

There is a range of possible mental health disorders as well as substance abuse disorders. Each person is different and has unique needs. Successful treatment takes into account each patient’s history, diagnoses, social support, values, and treatment goals.

Integrated Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

At the Mental Health Collective, treatment begins with a comprehensive bio-psycho-social evaluation by a licensed psychiatrist and a board-certified psychologist. If you are presenting symptoms of a dual diagnosis, we will carefully consider your specific situation before we make a treatment referral.

We treat primarily mental health issues that do not include a substance abuse disorder.

You Are Not Alone, you do not have to struggle alone. If you think you may be suffering from a dual-diagnosis disorder, the most important next step is to contact a team of dedicated mental health providers who have experience in diagnosing and treating co-occurring disorders.

Let us help you to begin your path of recovery and healing. For more information on how we can help you, call The Mental Health Collective at 888.717.9355

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