Dealing with addiction is tough enough but it’s even worse when an individual also has a mental health issue. This is an extremely common scenario with data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse stating that about 17.5% of people with mental health issues also have substance abuse issues.

Having a substance use disorder as well as a mental health disorder is known as having a dual diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder. This can make seeking treatment rather challenging because both disorders have to be treated at the same time for successful recovery.

The Link Between Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues

Substance abuse and mental health issues often go hand in hand. This happens when an individual experiencing mental health problems such as depression or anxiety tries to self-medicate to cope or manage the symptoms. However, instead of feeling better, they end up worsening things.

Conversely, substance use disorder can lead to or exacerbate mental health issues. For instance, using methamphetamine can cause prolonged psychotic reactions and opioid use can increase an individual’s risk for depression. Additionally, most people may experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health symptoms when they’re crashing from the high caused by addictive substances.

Finding The Right Addiction Treatment Program

Dual Diagnosis - Addressing Mental Health in Addiction Treatment

The key to addressing co-occurring mental health issues in addiction treatment is to get the correct diagnosis followed by the right treatment. It might be challenging to diagnose co-occurring disorders but treatment centers such as Evolve Indy have years of experience doing so.

Diagnosis is a crucial first step because treatment needs to begin early on for it to be effective. Once you’ve been diagnosed, our addiction treatment specialists will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that addresses both your addiction and mental health issue. This is referred to as integrated treatment and it determines long-term recovery. Recovery outcomes are often better when an individual receives treatment simultaneously for both disorders from the same treatment team.

Treatment for co-occurring disorders involves:

  • Detox – First the individual has to wean themselves off the addictive substance. Medically-supervised detox is recommended to manage withdrawal symptoms.
  • Medication – After diagnosis and examination, medication may be prescribed for one or both comorbidities. Examples of medication may be antidepressants or antipsychotics for mood disorders.
  • Behavioral therapy – The most common is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) where individuals are taught to identify and change self-defeating or negative behavior and thought patterns with healthier more positive ones.
  • Individual psychotherapy – Treatment for co-occurring disorders may be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on the severity. In some cases, a partial hospitalization program or intensive outpatient treatment may be ideal. Whatever the case, all these treatment programs employ individual or group therapy as a cornerstone of treatment.

Discovering you have a dual diagnosis may feel overwhelming but with the right help from Evolve Indy, you can chart a path to recovery and long-lasting sobriety. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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