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Dual Diagnosis – Buffalo

Dual diagnosis is a condition where an individual has both a drug or alcohol addiction and a mental health disorder.  Several mental health disorders are particularly common in cases of dual diagnosis, including schizophrenia, anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder.  Having a dual diagnosis is not uncommon; in fact, a study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness reveals that about one-third to one-half of people diagnosed with a mental illness also suffers from alcohol or drug addiction.  When studied from the opposite perspective, the statistics remain consistent. Between 30 and 50 percent of people with a substance abuse problem also display the clinical symptoms of mental illness. In these circumstances, Drug Treatment Centers Buffalo is here to help. Call us today at 716-262-3083 and get the support necessary to break free from these constraints.

Why Is Dual Diagnosis So Common?

It’s not hard to see why diagnoses of substance addiction and mental illness often go hand in hand.  In some cases, the mental disorder occurs first, which can lead individuals to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.  While using these substances may help mask their symptoms and make them feel better for a short time, it also can result in a damaging addiction.  In other situations, the drug or alcohol abuse may occur first.  The difficulty of dealing with a substance addiction can cause emotional and psychological damage over time.

Substance abuse is particularly common among individuals who are battling depression.  A person with depression is likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their emotional pain or improve their spirits. However, alcohol acts as a depressant to the central nervous system, and using this substance can actually make the mental problem worse.

Treatment Options

The treatment of a dual diagnosis is a complex matter. A traditional rehab program will not provide the proper care to treat both a psychiatric problem as well as a substance addiction.  Some specialized drug treatment centers offer integrated programs that provide addicts with multiple treatments such as psychotherapy, psychopharmacological treatment and behavior management.

When co-occurring disorders exist in an individual, treating both conditions at the same time is essential.  For example, treatment with medication is significantly more effective when a patient’s pharmacological therapy addresses their mental health problem as well their addiction; a patient may be prescribed an anti-psychotic or anti-depressant drug as well as a standard anti-addiction medication.  Peer support groups can help combat the extreme feelings of isolation that accompany both addiction and mental illness. Treating both disorders simultaneously can also help recovering addicts handle the unique triggers that might push them toward relapse, such as panic attacks or mood swings.  An integrative treatment plan reduces the rate of relapse among addicts, lowers the rate of suicide attempts and helps individuals stay on the path toward long-term recovery.

Aftercare Management

While the successful completion of a rehab program is the first step in an individual’s journey to recovery, there’s still plenty of work to be done.  The weeks and months following rehab are critical ones, where a person in recovery is still at serious risk for a relapse. When addiction is coupled with a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety, the temptation to use substances to mask symptoms is even greater. A good aftercare program can help reduce this risk and keep a recovering individual on the road to a drug-free, healthy life.

Relapse prevention involves teaching an individual in recovery how to identify triggers and learn how to deal with cravings and stressors.  Minor lapses may happen, and it’s important for individuals to learn how to keep these slips from turning into a serious relapse.  Support groups are another key component of a dual diagnosis aftercare program.  In these groups, members can share their experiences with some of the typical challenges faced during recovery and provide advice to help each other through these issues. Drug Treatment Centers Buffalo can benefit you or a loved one in more ways than you know. Call us now at 716-262-3083 and explore the vast amount of recovery options.

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