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Dual diagnosis treatment programs specialize in treating co-existing disorders that are identified alongside addictions. Many people who struggle with addiction also suffer from mental health problems, so they need the support of a dual diagnosis program if they are to have hopes of attaining long-term recovery. Here are the key facts you need to know about how the dual diagnosis approach works, and what can be expected when mental health issues and addictions are treated concurrently.
There is a two-way connection between mental health and addiction. Firstly, continuous substance abuse can dramatically influence psychological well-being, with some drugs inducing paranoid delusions, mood swings, anxiety and depression (either during use or withdrawal). Secondly, there is evidence that people already experiencing mental health problems are more likely to end up abusing drugs or alcohol, often in an attempt to self-medicate and cope with the emotional upheavals characteristic of mental illness. If you find yourself using drugs or alcohol to relive other symptoms such as anger, trauma or depression, you need to seek professional help. The staff at Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers Essex can help guide you through each step of your recovery process. Call Drug Treatment Centers Essex now at (860) 207-8342.
Any mental health disorder may overlap with any addiction and require entry into a dual diagnosis program. However, there are certain common combinations. For example, those with alcohol problems often also suffer from depression, using alcohol to try and improve their mood and yet inevitably dampening it because alcohol is a depressant. Meanwhile, those with anxiety disorders, PTSD or OCD may find themselves attracted to the soothing influence of drugs like Xanax and opiate painkillers, which induce a sense of safety and security that is missing when dealing with these mental health problems.
Dual diagnosis addiction treatment will often begin with an inpatient medical detox in order to wean the addict off their drug (or drugs) or choice. A medical team will carefully supervise this process, sometimes administering medications that might help to control dangerous or particularly uncomfortable side effects. Once the detox process comes to an end, the next step will usually be to figure out whether medication for the underlying mental health problem is required.
In conjunction with this pharmacological treatment, therapy of various kinds will be offered. Group sessions can help addicts with mental health problems to connect with others who have had similar experiences, building a meaningful support network and creating accountability. Meanwhile, individual sessions may focus on understanding both the roots of the mental health issues and the ongoing addiction. Different types of therapy may be recommended, depending on the combination of mental health and addiction diagnoses. For example, those with OCD and depression often benefit from the practical approach prescribed by cognitive behavioral therapy. In addition, those dealing with anxiety problems can find that alternative treatments like music therapy, art therapy and restorative yoga help them to obtain a more peaceful mindset and cultivate more control over their negative emotions.
After mental health and addiction treatment, it’s important to make arrangements for the type of aftercare that maximizes the chances of long-term sobriety. Some people transition to sober living communities, where they can enjoy increased autonomy but still experience a greater level of safety and assistance than is generally provided in the outside world. Others move back home but return for outpatient treatment (both for addiction and mental health). Further, it’s vital to make a lifelong commitment to attending AA or NA meetings in order to guarantee continual support. With these measures in place, recovering addicts know they can immediately seek help when they encounter potential triggers that could cause relapse.
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