What Is a Dual Diagnosis and Why Should I Be Treated for It?

What Is a Dual Diagnosis and Why Should I Be Treated for It?

Dual Diagnosis treatment addresses all aspects of a person’s addiction or other mental health issues.

Addiction is a complicated physical and psychological disease that almost always involves at least one other co-occurring or underlying disorder. In most cases substance abuse is, at least in part, a means of subconsciously self-medicating one of the following emotional disorders:

  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Personality disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia

Drugs and alcohol provide short-term relief of the symptoms related to disorders such as these. Eventually an affected individual suffers from both the surface-level addiction, and the underlying disorder. This is known as a Dual Diagnosis. For instance, you might be suffering from alcoholism and an anxiety disorder.

Successfully overcoming your addiction requires that all corresponding and contributing disorders have also been addressed. This kind of Dual Diagnosis treatment has proven to be much more effective than addiction treatment alone.

Addiction, Relief and Psychological Disorders

The brain controls a wide range of functions through an intricate and fragile system of neurochemical signals and responses throughout the nervous system. The center of this activity is the brain’s prefrontal cortex. In this part of the brain the pleasure center, or reward center, acts as a sort of clearinghouse for the following functions:

  • Emergency response
  • Emotional processes
  • Memory formation and recall
  • Distress and discomfort tolerance
  • Impulse control
  • Self-esteem
  • Learning
  • Habit formation
  • Feeling pleasure or satisfaction
  • Social bonding

Even seemingly physiological responses, such as appetite, sexual response and sleep, are controlled by this same system. Tiny bursts of “feel good” substances are released into the blood stream during certain behaviors (eating, sex, pain, exercise, socializing, danger) and special chemical receptors in the brain pick up those chemical signals, causing the sensation of euphoria, relief, shock, relaxation or satisfaction. The brain then associates these feelings, and the relief that accompanies them, with the related activity. It then uses every psychological tool at its disposal to drive that behavior repeatedly.

In a healthy person this system motivates exercise and hard work by feeling the benefit of rewards. It helps a person turn repeated behaviors such as driving a car, brushing teeth or sporting activities into instincts or subconscious habits. It creates relational bonds between couples or in social settings and motivates people to wake up in the morning and tackle a new day. When this system becomes dysfunctional, however, it can compel a person to drink too much, to use drugs, to engage in risky behavior, to intentionally hurt herself or to become addicted to certain compulsive behaviors. This dysfunction may be the result of an inherited sensitivity to the naturally occurring “feel good” substances in the brain or may be the result of an injury or trauma. Regardless, unless the underlying cause of the addictive behavior is identified and addressed the addiction itself will return.

What Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Look Like?

Dual Diagnosis treatment is a holistic and comprehensive approach to physical and mental wellness. It leaves no stone unturned in its search for meaningful and integrated relief. The most successful Dual Diagnosis programs invest significant time with each client. They treat each person as a unique individual deserving customized treatment designed to meet their specific needs. While many of the treatment tools remain consistent from patient to patient, and the underlying principles of recovery apply to everyone, the way that recovery is accomplished is unique for each person going through the process.

Customized treatment regimens are developed from the following basic therapeutic toolbox:

  • Personal, private counseling of various types and styles
  • Support group meetings and peer counseling sessions
  • 12-Step programs when appropriate
  • Comprehensive family analysis and counseling when possible and appropriate
  • Introduction to healthy, new coping techniques and strategies for managing triggers
  • Spiritual and emotional support
  • Arts and creativity therapy to enhance and encourage self-awareness and mindfulness
  • Adventure therapy to encourage self-esteem and to produce healthy pleasure
  • Empowering classes designed to help you understand how your brain works
  • Comprehensive aftercare following inpatient treatment

The goal of this kind of treatment is to identify any and all co-occurring disorders and to develop a plan for bringing healing to those areas while simultaneously teaching the individual how to respond to physical and emotional pain in healthier ways. You may not think that your drug or alcohol abuse is related to emotional triggers related to abuse or tragedy you experienced as a child, for instance, but it definitely is. Dual Diagnosis treatment helps you find a level of healing that will last the rest of your life. It will also make you a better parent, spouse and friend to others.

More Information on Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If you would like more information about Dual Diagnosis treatment in California and how it can help you overcome life-limiting issues, please call our toll-free helpline right now. We are standing by 24-hours a day with free, no-strings-attached, advice and access to the most effective Dual Diagnosis programs in the world. Find the peace of mind and body you have craved for so long. Call now.