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Inpatient Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

Substance addiction affects how the brain normally functions and alter the brain’s natural chemistry. It is inevitable that severe substance addiction can bring about the occurrence of what is now known as dual diagnosis.

What is a Dual Diagnosis or Co-Occurring Disorder?

By definition, a dual diagnosis is when you have a substance addiction that occurs simultaneously with another health problem. The secondary health problem can either be a mental health problem or a behavioral issue, potentially even both. Some individuals believe that mental health problems and behavioral issues almost always precede the symptoms of a full-blown substance addiction. this often leads them to believe that substance addiction is actually a product of mental health problems. However, there are also individuals who believe that it is actually the other way around; that the addiction has caused the mental health problems or behavioral issues.

substance abuseProponents of the latter theory argue that the physiological and biochemical effects of addicting substances have disrupted normal cognitive functioning. Additionally, these substances have somehow changed the way in which certain neurotransmitters in the brain behave. For example, one of the dual diagnoses associated with substance addiction is depression. Proponents of the model say that depression is largely brought about by decreased levels of dopamine or a substantial reduction in the number of dopamine receptors. Certain drugs like cocaine and crystal methamphetamines have been known to increase the levels of dopamine. However, with prolonged use of these drugs, the number of dopamine receptors is effectively reduced. So even if there is an overabundance of dopamine, the effects of dopamine are not felt since there are an insufficient number of dopaminergic receptors. This can ultimately lead to depression. Chronic alcoholism also leads to decreased levels of dopamine.

The connection between substance addiction and mental health, as well as other types of illnesses and behavior can develop unique causes and symptoms. Untreated symptoms can cause the person in treatment to lose track of being sober and clean, while untreated substance abuse issues can affect mental health treatment to be ineffective.  Sprout Health Group’s  addiction treatment centers have come up with innovative programs to address not only the addiction problem but also the mental health or behavioral issue.

How Do You Know Someone Has a Co-occurring Disorder?

Since substance addiction is closely related to the development of a mental health problem or a behavioral issue, it is imperative that family members recognize the signs of a co-occurring diagnosis or a dual diagnosis. Here are some indicators of addiction:

  • Compulsion to regularly use the addicting substance;
  • Inability to stop using the substance;
  • Ensuring availability of the substance;
  • Finding any means necessary to purchase or get hold of the substance, even if it is illegal;
  • Obsession with the perceived benefits of regularly using the substance; and
  • Displaying risky behavior such as driving while under the influence.

It is also important to understand the most common mental health problems that have been shown to be highly associated with substance addiction. These can include the following psychiatric mental health problems:

  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Other anxiety disorders

Another clue that the individual may suffer from a co-occurring diagnosis is the history of repeated relapses even after completion of addiction treatment programs. In the mind of the individual, there is no treatment program effective enough for him to stay away from addicting substances. In such cases, there is a very strong likelihood that the individual has a dual diagnosis.

How is Dual Diagnosis Managed?

Managing dual diagnosis requires a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual health. This is to determine any patterns of mental or behavioral issues that may otherwise be overlooked in typical examinations. When a dual diagnosis is suspected, the subject requires careful monitoring and closer observation of the individual. And as no two persons are exactly alike, the dual diagnosis treatment program will be highly individualized but will always start with detox treatments.

shutterstock_378029890Sprout Health Group’s dual diagnosis will mirror the management of psychiatric mental health disorders where individualized counseling through cognitive-behavioral therapies will be provided in addition to group and family therapies. The inclusion of the family in the dual diagnosis treatment is important, as they will form the fundamental support mechanism for the continuing recovery of the individual after treatment. To augment the CBT, yoga, exercise, nutritional counseling, equine therapy, music therapy, art therapy, meditation, and psychodrama can be utilized depending on the preferences of the individual.

What is certain about the management of dual diagnosis is that it takes on a more holistic approach compared to other treatment programs.


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