Many individuals who struggle with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol are also simultaneously suffering from symptoms of other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. When an individual suffers from both mental illness and chemical dependency, this is known as dual diagnosis. Wellness Resource Center in Boca Raton, Florida is a true dual diagnosis treatment program specializing in the care of persons with co-occurring disorders.
In many instances, individuals who are struggling with the day-to-day symptoms caused by mental illness turn to mood or mind-altering substances in an attempt to self-medicate their discomfort. The resulting use of drugs or alcohol can ultimately cause individuals to experience more turmoil, such as physiological or psychological dependence, decreased coping skills, and health complications associated with prolonged substance abuse. In some instances, individuals who have a genetic predisposition for mental health concerns may cause the onset of mental illness symptoms through alcohol consumption and drug experimentation. This is sometimes the case for young adults with a family history of certain mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia.
Regardless of whether the substance abuse problem or the mental illness symptoms manifested first, the results can be devastating. Individuals who suffer from dual diagnosis will experience disturbances in most, if not all, aspects of their lives. Fortunately, there are rehab centers that can provide treatment to assist these individuals in learning how to successfully manage their symptoms, overcome their addictions, and move forwards towards living the bright, happy, and sober futures that they desire and deserve.
Co-Occurring Disorder Statistics
Substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions affect millions of individuals throughout the world today. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that out of the total number of people who are suffering from mental illness, about a third are simultaneously struggling with substance abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a more specific estimate, stating that approximately 8.9 million adults are dually diagnosed. Sadly, despite the prevalence of dual diagnoses, a significant number of people do not receive appropriate treatment. According to SAMHSA, only 7.4% of people participate in a rehab or treatment program that appropriately addresses both substance abuse and the symptoms they are experiencing as a result of mental illness. Unfortunately, an estimated 55.8% do not receive any type of rehab or treatment at all.
Signs and Symptoms of Co-Occurring Disorders
When individuals are suffering from dual diagnosis conditions, they can exhibit symptoms of both mental illness and chemical dependency. Because of the wide array of substance use disorders and mental illnesses that can co-occur, the specific types of symptoms that are exhibited by individuals suffering from dual diagnosis will vary greatly as well. The signs and symptoms will be dependent on the specific mental health condition present, as well as the particular drug that is being abused. Examples of various possible symptoms that may be displayed by someone struggling with a dual diagnosis include:
- No longer participating in activities or hobbies that one once enjoyed
- Frequent absences from work
- Engaging in behaviors that are out of character for the individual
- Engaging in self-harming behaviors
- Lying about one’s whereabouts
- Stealing or borrowing money
- Engaging in sudden, unwarranted aggressive outbursts
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Possessing drug paraphernalia
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Changes in eating patterns
- Noticeable weight gain or weight loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Sudden bursts of energy
- Presence of marks or bruising at places on the body where drugs are being injected
- Decline in personal hygiene
- Lacking the ability to use sound reasoning and judgment
- Poor concentration capabilities
- Suicidal ideation
- Sudden, drastic changes in mood
- Excessive feelings of agitation and irritability
- Increased feelings of anxiety or panic
- Unwarranted feelings of anger, aggression, or hostility
- Periods of emotional detachment
- Feelings of invincibility
- Feelings of shame or disgust with oneself
Any combination of the above symptoms can be a clear indicator of a substance use disorder, with or without a co-occurring mental health disorder. Conditions such as these often require an immediate stabilization in a facility equipped to treat dual diagnosis patients, so that the individual can be separated from alcohol or drugs for the period of time necessary to make a proper diagnosis and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.
Effects of Co-Occurring Disorders
When individuals are afflicted by dual diagnoses and do not receive treatment that adequately addresses their needs, they are vulnerable to experiencing a number of adverse consequences throughout all areas of their lives. Depending on the specific substance being abused, adverse health complications can arise and cause a great deal of distress for sufferers. Examples of such health complications can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Cardiovascular disease
- Weakened immune system
- Contraction of viruses, such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis
- Epilepsy and increased risk of seizures
In addition to negative effects on one’s physical health, other aspects of an individual’s life can be adversely impacted by the presence of untreated dual diagnosis concerns. Such effects will inevitably vary in type, severity, and duration, but may include the following:
- Decline in occupational performance, potentially resulting in job loss
- Chronic unemployment
- Disturbed relationships
- Familial discord
- Financial distress
- Onset of self-harming behaviors
- Chronic suicidal ideation
- Drug overdose, which has the potential to be fatal
The lack of an aggressive treatment approach when someone is suffering from both physical and psychosocial effects of an addiction and mental health co-morbidity means that the problems will only worsen as time goes by. It is of the utmost importance that these problems be addressed as soon as they appear, because dual diagnosis individuals are often unable to see the severity of these problems due to being impaired by addiction and mental health symptoms.
Why Consider Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Wellness Resource Center in Boca Raton, FL
Entering rehab for dual diagnosis concerns is imperative in order to interrupt the cycle of destructive behaviors and start the healing process. When individuals are addicted to drugs or alcohol and are simultaneously battling symptoms of mental illness, their ability to function on a daily basis is going to be significantly impaired. All aspects of their lives can be negatively impacted and they may feel hopeless about the future, unable to distinguish a healthy alternative to their current mental anguish.
By engaging in comprehensive care that is specifically designed to treat the dual diagnosis population, individuals who are battling chemical dependency and mental illness can learn how to successfully manage their symptoms while also putting an end to the deadly progression of addiction. By participating in rehab that is tailored to address individualized needs, sufferers are able to disengage from the stressors of their everyday lives, ultimately safeguarding them from exposure from various triggers that may cause them to relapse. In this secure inpatient environment, individuals are able to focus on themselves and their rehabilitation, taking advantage of the numerous therapeutic interventions and the caring and knowledgeable staff members at Wellness Resource Center in Boca Raton, FL. In this setting, clients also meet with psychiatrists who can help determine whether or not the use of certain medications may assist in alleviating symptomatic issue and help foster recovery.
At Wellness Resource Center, individuals can regain the confidence they need to realize a future free of substance abuse and no longer tainted by the symptoms of mental illness. We encourage anyone suffering from a dual diagnosis to learn more about our individualized care and length of stay program, or to contact one of our admissions coordinators for more information about our center.