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Dual Diagnosis

People with drug and alcohol problems often have co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. The coexistence of a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder is known as a dual diagnosis, with this broad classification applied to a wide range of different conditions. Interactions between mental health and substance abuse take many forms, from linear and causal relationships to bidirectional and complex interactions. Common dual diagnosis interactions include depression and alcoholism, generalized anxiety disorder and prescription sedative abuse, and eating disorders and stimulant abuse. Professional treatment is often needed to deal with these complex problems, including medical detox, rehabilitation and aftercare support programs. If you know anyone who is struggling with a dual diagnosis in Oklahoma, it’s important to find professional help as soon as possible.

Dual Diagnosis Challenges

People living with a dual diagnosis face a number of complex challenges. For example, people with co-occurring conditions suffer higher rates of homelessness, unemployment, and hospitalization than the general population. There is also a lot of social stigma attached to dual diagnosis conditions, with people facing problems fitting in with society and accessing appropriate treatment. Before getting the help they need, dual diagnosis patients need to receive an accurate diagnosis and connect with an appropriate treatment facility. This can be a lot harder than you might think, with mental health clinics and drug treatment centers historically separated and difficult to integrate. While some rehab centers in Oklahoma specialize in dual diagnosis cases, some patients may need to access more than one facility. The complex relationship between disorders can also be a challenge for clinicians, with clear causal links not always apparent between disorders.

Why Do Addiction and Mental Illness Go Together?

Drug addiction and mental illness interact in numerous way. For example, methamphetamine induced psychosis is one example of a causal relationship, with extensive meth use leading to symptoms that cause or resemble mental illness. The relationship between depression and alcoholism is a lot harder to define, with problem drinkers often developing depression as a result of their alcoholism and depressed people also more likely to develop drinking problems. Before starting any kind of treatment regimen, clinicians will attempt to define a primary disorder and instigate an appropriate treatment plan. Many of the symptoms of drug addiction can also mimic mental illness without causing it, so clinicians need to be very careful when making their initial diagnosis.

Depression and Addiction

Clinical depression is a serious problem in Oklahoma and throughout American society. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 percent of Americans suffer from this condition. People with depression often turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to treat their condition, even though this is ill-advised and often leads to additional complications. Because people with depression are often unable to feel a sense of fun or excitement, psychoactive substances can provide a temporary sense of relief. Extensive exposure to drugs or alcohol is only likely to exasperate existing problems, however, since it makes depression worse and can cause an addiction to develop over time. This relationship can also go the other way, with problem drinkers becoming depressed as a result of their addiction.

Anxiety Disorders and Addiction

A number of anxiety disorders have been linked with drug and alcohol addiction, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. While alcohol and drugs can provide temporarily relief from panic and anxiety, continual use often leads to dependence and addiction over time. People with anxiety disorders are often prescribed benzodiazepine drugs such as Valium and Librium, with people sometimes becoming dependent on these drugs. A gradual dose reduction of these medications is generally applied over a period of weeks or months, combined with behavioral therapy and aftercare support programs.

Don’t let addiction take over your life. Contact an Oklahoma treatment facility today to start down the path to a healthier life.