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Dual Diagnosis
man looking for klonopin addiction treatment

It is common for people with a mental health disorder to also suffer from an addiction. When this happens, it’s referred to as a dual diagnosis or co-existing disorders. Many Delaware treatment centers specialize in treating people with this condition.

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis is a description for someone who suffers from both an addiction and a mental health condition. Either one could have come first, but in many cases, the mental health disorder was the primary diagnosis. The addictive substance was used to self-medicate until it developed into an addiction.

Mental health conditions that are part of a co-existing disorder can vary. Some of the most common diagnoses include the following:

  • Depression
  • OCD
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar disorder

Many times, the person will try to hide the symptoms of the disorder by consuming an addictive substance. For example, a person with depression may take a drug that makes them feel happy for a while. Someone with social anxiety may have a few drinks to calm their nerves at a group event.

Over time, these substances lead to addiction because the body craves more of them. When the person isn’t able to get the substance, the system goes into withdrawal. Often, the symptoms of withdrawal are the same as for the mental health condition, which makes it even worse.

Co-existing disorders are often difficult to treat because the addiction masks the symptoms of the health disorder. If friends and family see a problem, they may assume it’s the addiction. However, if the person is only treated for the addiction, the success rate for long-term recovery is low because the mental health condition is left untreated.


Treating Co-Existing Disorders

You can find addiction treatment centers in Delaware that treat both the addiction and the mental health disorder. This is the best way to help the person recover and avoid relapse. Many treatment plans are available and are designed to treat individuals with various diagnoses.

Psychotherapy is often part of the treatment program to help the person understand the mental health condition and to not try to hide it. The addict will learn why they turned to an addictive substance and what better ways of dealing with the symptoms exist.

Psychopharmacology is usually essential for the treatment of mental health disorders. Most cannot be cured but can be managed with prescription medications. They must be monitored to ensure the correct dosage and that the person follows through in taking the medication at the correct time.

Behavioral management teaches people how to deal with their symptoms in a positive way. It helps them learn to make better decisions rather than turning to drugs or alcohol.

Many patients must continue ongoing care after initial treatment has been completed. Because neither diagnosis is curable, continued treatment is important to long-term success. Addicts may join a 12-step program or continue seeing a therapist with regular meetings to monitor their progress. Numerous Delaware facilities offer these treatment options.

It can be difficult to diagnose someone with a mental health disorder, especially if they are self-treating with drugs or alcohol. If you suspect a possibility of co-existing disorders in a loved one who is abusing a substance, find a treatment center that specializes in this situation. The staff will be trained to recognize and diagnose the mental health condition as well as dealing with the addiction.


Find the Right Treatment

Finding the right treatment facility can help your loved one begin the process of recovery. It’s not easy to recover from two diagnoses, but it is possible with the right program. Get started today and start on the path to a healthy and sober life.