Dual Diagnosis – Amherst (716) 217-4122

People who have an addiction problem often suffer from a secondary diagnosis that complicates matters. It often makes treatment more difficult and less effective. When someone has multiple conditions with one an addiction problem, it is referred to as a dual diagnosis.

If you are suffering from mental illness and addiction, call Drug Treatment Centers Amherst. We are available to help 24/7 at (716) 217-4122.

The Definition of Dual Diagnosis

A person who has been given a dual diagnosis suffers from a mental condition along with an addiction to a substance. The substance may be an illicit drug, alcohol or a prescription medication. The mental condition may vary as well in a dual diagnosis. Some common conditions that are linked with substance abuse and addiction include depression, panic attacks, social anxiety, and other disorders.

Treating a dual diagnosis begins with recognizing both conditions. This is not as easy as it sounds because some of the symptoms of the addiction may be the same as for a mental condition. In other cases, the addiction masks the mental condition.

For example, a person with extreme social anxiety may cover it up by taking “uppers” or medication to lift their moods or drink a few glasses of alcohol to relax. The person doesn’t show the anxiety, and all anyone else sees is the effects of the substance.

Another example is when an alcoholic becomes depressed while being sober. You may assume it is because the person needs a drink when it is a separate mental condition.

Diagnosing and Treating Multiple Disorders

Often, a professional is needed to diagnose co-existing disorders. However, you may recognize the possibility if you are aware of the condition. Addicts with a family history of mental conditions are more susceptible to developing one as well.

Treating these diagnoses is a challenging job for medical health providers. While the addiction is often easy to determine, the mental condition that accompanies it may not. Even if you see the depression, it may difficult to discover where it comes from.

People with mental illnesses are difficult to treat because they may struggle to follow through on plans. They are at a higher risk for suicide or violence.

Choosing the Right Facility

Not every addiction facility is equipped to treat mental conditions. Before deciding on a facility for addiction, find out if it also treats other conditions. Even if you are not aware of a mental illness, trained staff can discover one quicker if they are used to working with these patients.

Understand that treatment will take longer. The person may be in therapy for months and even longer when dealing with mental illness in addition to the addiction. Choose a facility that has a flexible treatment program. It should move along at the pace of the person rather than following a rigid schedule.

It is better to search for a treatment program that offers an integrated approach than trying to treat the addiction separate from the illness. Because one condition impacts the other, it is more effective to treat them in conjunction. When you try to isolate one condition, you may miss valuable information.

While the addiction may be relatively new, the mental condition could have been present for years. Medical providers will need to find the root cause of the illness to better treat it. For example, a mental illness could have developed because of a childhood trauma that no one is aware of. Because of these factors, you must understand that it could take a long time for your loved one to recover.

A strong support system is a valuable part of the treatment plan. Realize that your loved one needs help and find the best facility that is suited to treat people with both addictions and mental illnesses. Call (716) 217-4122 to get help from the addiction specialists at Drug Treatment Centers Amherst.

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