When it comes to addiction and addictive behaviors, there is no single profile. Just as the more than 40 million Americans who suffer from substance abuse come from all age groups, socio-economic classes, and ethnicities, so are there countless diagnoses and treatments. At Tampa Recovery Centers, we have been working particularly closely on what is called a “dual-diagnosis” program.
When someone receives a dual diagnosis, it simply means that they have two conditions affecting them simultaneously. In the case of patients with substance abuse disorders, a dual diagnosis involves identifying a mental issue that coexists with the addiction. In many cases, the underlying psychiatric condition is previously undiagnosed and is a crucial trigger for the addiction. For example, a person suffering from an anxiety disorder may use cocaine to ease the unease they feel before a public appearance. A man who has post-traumatic stress disorder may turn to heroin to find peace. A woman who suffers from depression might drink alcohol to escape her dark mood.
Historically, dual diagnosis has often gone unrecognized. Often health professionals thought patients only suffered from addiction or a mental issue. In fact, it can be difficult to tell which component of the dual diagnosis is the cause and which is the symptom. Appropriately diagnosing the sufferer’s condition is the essential thing.
What Are the Symptoms of a Dual Diagnosis?
There are many indications that there is a mental issue underlying a person’s addiction issues. These include the following:
- The drugs you are using make you feel normal. If you are not using drugs as an escape, but as a way to feel more like yourself, you may have an underlying mental issue that requires treatment.
- You have a history of mental illness in your family. The relationship between mental illness and genetics is complicated. But it is clear that the children of mentally ill parents, for example, are more likely to be vulnerable to conditions like depression and anxiety and to suffer from trauma and PTSD.
- You suffer from extreme changes in mental state, especially when you try to cut down on the substances you are using. When someone with a dual diagnosis tries to cut back, it can lead to a worsening of their mental condition. This symptom can be a visible sign that a dual diagnosis is in order.
- You have trouble handling responsibilities that everyone else seems to have no problem with. Keeping a job, participating in a healthy family and social life, and even taking care of yourself can seem daunting.
The list goes on. But if you or someone you know is exhibiting these symptoms, it is worth reaching out to a healthcare professional.
There are numerous demonstrated treatments for people suffering at the hands of a condition that requires a dual diagnosis. Individual, group, and family therapies yield positive results. Also, our cognitive behavioral therapy and a limited course of prescription medication help clients.
But the first step is getting a diagnosis. If you are worried you or a loved one suffers from a mental issue fueled by substance abuse, act now. Take the first step on the road to recovery, and call Tampa Recovery Centers at 866.327.0883. If you need help or want more information about dual diagnosis, we are here for you.