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What does it mean to have a Dual Diagnosis?

You’re not the only one who struggles with substance dependence and abuse; millions of people experience this condition annually. When you have problems with drugs, you feel like you no longer hold control of your life. Struggling with an addiction is challenging on its own, but managing it while suffering from a mental condition seems like an impossible mission. When you have both a mental health issue and a substance addiction, you have what is named in the medical world, co-occurring disorders, or dual diagnosis. And although this seems like a situation that could overwhelm you, you can improve your health if you get the needed help. Treatment centers have developed programs to help in the rehabilitation of patients who experience the same health issues as yours. 

How do co-occurring disorders affect each other?

Recognizing the medical conditions and their symptoms is easy, but it’s challenging to determine how they interact with each other. Experts state that the connection between the conditions is complex and can be treated in multiple ways. This is why it’s best to visit Top Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center to understand how your disorders affect you. 

You may use drugs to self-medicate. When you have an undiagnosed and untreated mental health issue, you may use drugs to relieve the symptoms you experience. Sadly, drugs improve your condition for a short-limited period because you can quickly grow an addiction and damage your already poor health. 

Drugs can intensify your symptoms. When you first use them, you may think drugs relieve your symptoms, but because they interact with your brain and communication system, you’ll soon notice that they put a strain on your body. Drugs put you into a vulnerable psychological state, and you’re tempted to use more to achieve a numbness state. Also, when you try to stop using drugs because you’re not feeling well, you experience daunting withdrawal symptoms, and you end up choosing the state that triggers the least intense symptoms. 

Drugs can cause mental health conditions. Sometimes you start using drugs as a way to relieve stress, but as you use them more often and develop an addiction, you also notice you experience symptoms connected to mental health issues. Even if you haven’t suffered from a mental health condition before using drugs, you can experience one after taking them once or twice. 

How can you treat co-occurring disorders?

If you’re diagnosed with co-occurring disorders, you can choose from a list of treatment solutions

Sequential – some specialists prefer this approach to treat first the addiction or mental health issue, and then the other issue. 

Parallel – you treat both conditions simultaneously, but you work with a different therapist for each issue.

Integrated – this treatment solution implies a comprehensive approach because it addresses both conditions at the same time. You receive treatment for both disorders from qualified professionals who create a treatment to address your specific needs. 

Each of these scenarios has its pros and cons, and it’s best to consult a specialist to recommend you the best solution for your condition. 

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