What is a Dual Diagnosis?
A dual diagnosis is defined as experiencing both a mental health condition and a substance use disorder at the same time. Dual Diagnosis is a condition that Ambrosia Treatment Center specializes in at our West Palm Beach and Jupiter, Florida locations. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that 45% of Americans have a dual diagnosis. This means that nearly half of the population is experiencing this specific condition. Those who have a dual diagnosis can present with a number of symptoms. These symptoms can negatively impact their lives and the lives of those around them. Thankfully, a dual diagnosis treatment is available and can be effectively treated.
Traits of a Dual Diagnosis
A dual diagnosis is not as predictable as other mental health conditions are. This is because there are a number of variables to them. The most prominent variable is that a dual diagnosis can include any type of mental illness and any type of substance use. Therefore, someone who has a dual diagnosis that includes bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorder and someone who is experiencing panic disorder and meth addiction are likely going to exhibit different symptoms. However, there are a number of baseline traits of a dual diagnosis that can help better define if someone is experiencing this type of condition or not. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
Signs of a Dual Diagnosis
- Social withdrawal
- No longer participating in previously enjoyed activities
- Irritable, aggressive, or angry behavior
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in weight
- Changes in personal appearance
- Constant worry
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Mood swings
- Problems maintaining employment and relationships
- Swift changes in energy levels
- Neglecting everyday responsibilities
Again, each individual person with a dual diagnosis is going to have their own set of traits that are in line with this condition. But, generally speaking, these are some of the most widely experienced symptoms of a dual diagnosis. This is true, regardless of what mental illness/substance use disorder is occurring.
How is a Dual Diagnosis Diagnosed?
As with all other mental health conditions, a dual diagnosis can be diagnosed by referring to the criteria within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). A trained professional, such as a therapist, psychiatrist, or addiction specialist can offer this diagnosis upon hearing a client’s symptoms and discussing their history. Other testing services can also help in the diagnostic process, including questionnaires, interviews, quizzes, and so on.
The most effective way to receive a diagnosis is to reach out to a mental health professional who can assess your individual situation and recommend treatment.
How is Dual Diagnosis Treated?
In the past, those presenting with a dual diagnosis were advised to stop their substance abuse before reaching out for help. Luckily, this old-fashioned way of approaching a dual diagnosis is no longer. Studies have proven that treating both conditions simultaneously is most effective.
So, how exactly does a condition as seemingly complex as a dual diagnosis get treated? There are a number of techniques that can be applied to help alleviate symptoms of both conditions and begin to build a strong foundation for recovery.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Structure
- Detox – The most important step to take when treating a dual diagnosis is to ensure that all addictive, mind-altering substances are cleared from one’s system. This can be done through professional detox services. At this time, staff will ensure that the individual is stabilized enough to begin therapeutic care to address their mental health status.
- Therapy – Therapy serves as the core of treatment for both mental health conditions and substance use disorders. When it comes to treating a dual diagnosis with therapy, the ones that are most commonly utilized include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), individual psychotherapy, and group counseling.
- Medications – Each individual has their own needs when being treated for a dual diagnosis. These needs might demand prescription medication for either or both the substance use disorder and the mental health condition. There are specific medications designed to help with withdrawal symptoms and cravings for those addicted to certain substances. In addition, medications to help treat mental health conditions. When prescribed one or both, individuals who can benefit from their use can begin healing.
- Aftercare – Following up with good self-care after receiving treatment for a dual diagnosis is vital. This can include attending support groups for the specific type of mental illness one is experiencing. Another option is traditional 12-Step groups to address addiction and/or alcoholism.
Living with a dual diagnosis can be extremely challenging. It is not necessary to continue to live this way without getting help from dual diagnosis treatment centers in Florida.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers in West Palm Beach, FL
At our dual diagnosis treatment centers in West Palm Beach and Jupiter, FL, we provide top-level dual diagnosis treatment for all who come through our doors. Our team of trained and certified professionals go above and beyond to ensure that all clients with a dual diagnosis begin developing a life that is free from the confines of this particular condition.
If you are struggling, visit our admissions page and begin the process right now. We can help.