According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over half of drug addicts and alcoholics also suffer from a mental illness. Known as co-occurring disorders, the combination of both substance abuse and a mental illness can create a painful situation. Dual diagnosis centers are treatment facilities that specialize in the treatment of co-occurring disorders.
The Danger of Co-Occurring Disorders
Sometimes an individual will suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, or an anxiety disorder long before they experiment with drugs or alcohol. When they begin using drugs, it is often found that they are relieved of their emotional pain. As drug use progresses, the individual finds temporary escape from their problems and begin using more and more. Inevitably, drug and alcohol abuse do not cure emotional pain, they simply numb it. Upon coming off of the substance, the person feels worse than they did before they took it, and requires more in order to hide from those feelings. In this way, drug abuse encourages mental illness, and mental illness encourages the drug abuse, creating a vicious cycle that can be life-threatening.
Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
Dual diagnosis centers offer a program of treatment especially designed to treat co-occurring disorders. Doctors on staff may assess an illness and prescribe medications. Highly individualized, dual diagnosis treatment centers recognize the issue of what an addict faces while also suffering from a psychological disorder. The person is treated thoroughly on every aspect of their life. Without the treatment of both the mental illness and the substance abuse, the chances of relapse are far higher.