What Does Dual Diagnosis Mean?

What Does Dual Diagnosis Mean?

You’ve probably come across the term dual-diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder when it comes to addiction treatment. But you might be unfamiliar with what it actually signifies.

So what does dual diagnosis mean in mental health? And how can we treat it? Let’s examine it!

What Does Dual Diagnosis Mean in Mental Health?

The terms dual diagnosis and co-occurring disorders are almost interchangeable. But what does dual diagnosis mean in mental health?

A dual diagnosis refers to the coexistence of a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder affecting a patient simultaneously. When a dual diagnosis is present, both disorders exacerbate each other making it difficult for patients to heal.

For example, an addict suffering from depression might take drugs to feel better. The drugs in turn depress the addict requiring them to take more of the drug to feel well again.

This vicious circle can turn out to be the reason why many addicts are not able to properly treat their condition.  Co-occurring disorders tend to be treated in parallel as healing one without the other will likely end up in the patient suffering from the heal disorder again.

If the rehab center they attend does not offer holistic treatment that treats both conditions, then it’s unlikely that the addict will be able to remain sober for long.

Studies have shown that individuals with a dual diagnosis are more likely to experience certain challenges compared to those who only have one disorder such as:

  • Have severe symptoms of depression
  • Relapse over and over again
  • Have a lower quality of life
  • Attempting to take their own life

A study showed that attempted suicide rates for addicts with depression were:

  • These rates are twice as high as those for addicts who develop alcoholism before depression
  • The rates are three times higher than for people with depression alone
  • Nine times higher than those who only developed alcohol use disorders

The risk of suicide is the most troubling risk of co-occurring disorders and one that must not be ignored.

What’s a Substance Use Disorder 

A substance abuse disorder (SUD) is a mental health disorder caused by the abuse of drugs or alcohol. To put it simply, it’s the medical term for an addiction.

The disorder could be caused by both substance abuse and substance dependence. Two conditions that are similar but not exactly the same.

When a patient is said to abuse a substance he or she might be experiencing a milder form of dependence, which is mostly psychological. The dependence is characterized by an obsession with drugs or alcohol that has not developed into a physical form of dependence.

On the other hand, a patient suffering from substance abuse dependence will be physically dependent on the substance. That means that their bodies have gotten used to having the substance in their system and will react negatively when the system releases the toxin. These symptoms are called withdrawals and they could be deadly if not treated adequately. 

Substances that are often misused and cause SUD may include:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Opioids
  • Cocaine
  • Stimulants
  • Marijuana
  • Hallucinogens
  • Prescription drugs

What are Mental Health Disorders 

The other side of the dual diagnosis equation is a mental health disorder. There are numerous mental health disorders that can cause a dual diagnosis, and although the term dual refers to two conditions, there is no limit to how many disorders a patient can suffer from.

In fact, many patients can experience a number of disorders at the same time, a complex situation that requires extensive therapy.

Some of the most common mental health disorders that an addict can experience include:

  • Major depression
  • Dysthymia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

The United States has a high rate of mental health disorders. According to a study conducted in 2020, nearly 9% of Americans suffer from psychological illnesses. Almost nine million Americans suffer from mental illness.

Integrated Treatment 

Mental disorders and substance abuse were often treated separately. Nevertheless, most recovery programs now treat both disorders in parallel as a result of new advancements and a better understanding of their relationship.

Now that you know what dual diagnosis means in mental health, you are ready to take the next step!

If you or someone you love is suffering from a dual diagnosis then it’s critical to seek professional help.

Veritas Detox offers dual-diagnosis treatment options and co-occurring disorder testing to all of our patients.  Our holistic approach to addiction helps addicts get well regardless of their condition.

Contact Veritas Detox today and ask us about our dual-diagnosis treatment today!

Are There Different Types of Bipolar Disorder?

Are There Different Types of Bipolar Disorder?

Throughout the past decade, the term bipolar disorder has been popularized, causing many people to misinterpret and misunderstand this serious condition.

Contrary to popular belief, bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that can last for months at a time.

But is that all there is to bipolar disorders? And are there different types of bipolar disorder? 

Let’s have a look!

What Are Bipolar Disorders

An individual with bipolar disorder experiences extreme mood swings as well as lows and highs emotionally.

The extremes are associated with manic episodes of high energy and low episodes of depression.

Manic and Depressive episodes

The best way to understand bipolar disorders is by familiarizing yourself with both ends of the episodic extremes. Symptoms of mania and depression are on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. 

Maniac symptoms are characterized by excessive energy and excitement, while depressive symptoms are characterized by low energy and sadness.

Symptoms of Manic Episodes 

Different types of bipolar manic symptoms include:

  • Abnormal levels of wired and upbeat energy
  • Agitation and the need for increased activity
  • An exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence
  • Restlessness and lack of sleep
  • Racing thoughts and being easily distracted

Symptoms of Depressive Episodes

Different types of bipolar depression symptoms include:

  • Being sad, hopeless, and joyless
  • Loss of interest on things
  • Emotional numbness
  • Drastic changes in weight and appetite
  • Sleep imbalances
  • Loss of energy
  • Inability to think or focus
  • Suicidal thoughts

Types of Bipolar Disorder

The four main types of bipolar disorder are as follows:

  • Bipolar I disorder: It is the most common of the different types of bipolar disorder. Patients fall into this category when they’ve had at least one or more manic episodes that last for at least one week. In addition, the episodes that the patient experiences are so severe that hospital care is needed.
  • Bipolar II disorder: The second category involves different types of bipolar depression symptoms as well as hypomanic episodes. However, the episodes tend to be less severe than the maniac episodes of those in the first category.
  • Cyclothymic disorder: Like the others, this category is also defined by different types of bipolar depression and hypomanic symptoms; unlike the others, the symptoms are not intense or persistent long enough to be considered episodes.
  • Other types of disorders: This category includes any bipolar disorder that doesn’t fit within the previous three categories but still involves unusual maniac moods such as those related to alcohol and drug use.

Dual Diagnosis

A dual diagnosis occurs when a patient is suffering from addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Co-occurring disorders tend to exacerbate each other making it difficult for the patient to get well without treating both conditions at the same time.

Bipolar disorders can co-occur with addiction. In fact, both conditions are closely related.

study carried out shows that 61% of bipolar type I disorder patients had a lifetime use of drugs or an alcohol disorder. Addiction can aggravate different types of bipolar depression placing the life of the patient at risk.

How To Get Help

If you or someone you love is suffering from both addiction and bipolar disorder then it’s critical to seek professional help.

Bipolar disorders and addiction can exacerbate each other making it extremely challenging for an addict to get well on their own.

Veritas Detox offers dual-diagnosis treatments to all of our patients.  We treat addiction and mental health disorders at their core with holistic treatments that can help you or your loved ones get better.

Contact Veritas Detox today and ask one of our admission experts how to get the help you and your loved ones deserve.

How Does Depression Affect Drug Use?

The link between substance abuse and depression has long been documented. But which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

In this article, we will examine the relationship between depression and addiction and explore how they affect each other.

What is depression?

Before jumping to conclusions, we need to first get clear on what is the definition of depression.

Depression is a mood disorder that affects how people feel, think, and react to things. Low moods and a lack of motivation are common symptoms of the disorder. 

In the worst of instances, depression is characterized by a lack of a will to live.

Life has its ups and downs, and it’s normal to feel a bit on the extreme of each side from time to time. But those suffering from depression tend to stay on the extremely lower end of the emotional spectrum for extended periods of time.

It is possible to develop depression in many different circumstances, ranging from life events to brain chemical imbalances caused by substance abuse.

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent sad or anxious mood
  • Hopelessness and pessimism
  • Irritability, frustration, and/or restlessness
  • Loss of interest, pleasure, and willfulness
  • Lower energy levels
  • Troubled sleeping patterns
  • Changes in appetite
  • Pains, headaches, and cramps that are not eased with treatment
  • Thoughts and attempts to take one’s own life

Can Depression Lead to Substance Abuse?

Depression and addiction are more deeply intertwined than most imagine. Addicts suffering from substance abuse tend to get depressed, mainly due to the physical depletion of dopamine in the brain and the damaging of other brain functions.

But what you might not know is that the opposite is also possible and that depression causes drug use.

The use of drugs such as ketamine, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol could be used by people that are depressed and want to self-medicate in order to feel better. 

Data also shows that people with depression are twice as likely to self-medicate with alcohol than drugs.

These behaviors can ultimately lead to addiction. 

What’s worse is that both conditions can exuberate each other and turn into a degrading cycle. 

The depressed take drugs or alcohol to soothe their emotions, then drugs and alcohol worsen their condition—rinse and repeat.

People might choose to self-medicate for a number of reasons including:

  • Lack of trust in conventional medicine
  • Lack of access to medical care
  • Fear of approaching a doctor
  • Misguided beliefs

Data shows that the most prevalent reason for self-medication tends to be a lack of access to mental healthcare.

Risks of Dual Diagnosis

Recovering from a dual diagnosis can be challenging even with professional help. 

Each condition exuberates the other which means both disorders need to be treated in parallel to ensure the patient is able to recuperate. 

Symptoms can also be more challenging to manage since depression causes drug use. 

Compared to addicts without a co-occurring disorder, those with a dual diagnosis are more likely to:

  • Have severe symptoms of depression
  • Relapse over and over again
  • Have a lower quality of life
  • Attempt to take their own life

A study showed that attempted suicide rates for addicts with depression were:

  • Twice as high as they were for addicts who developed alcoholism before depression
  • Three times as high as they are for people who only developed depression
  • Nine times as high as those who only developed an alcohol use disorder

The risk of suicide is the most troubling risk of the co-occurrence and one that can’t go ignored.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

It’s pointless to try to cure depression and addiction separately. Doing so risks that one of the conditions will cause the other again since depression causes drug use and the opposite is also true.

In order for patients to get better both co-occurring disorders like substance abuse and depression must be treated in parallel.

If you believe you or your loved one needs dual-diagnosis treatment then you must seek professional help. A dual diagnosis can be challenging for the addict and require professional expertise.

Veritas Detox offers dual-diagnosis therapy and other holistic treatments that can help addicts with mental illnesses fight the underlying causes of their problems and heal in a healthy way.

Contact Veritas Detox today and ask to speak to one of our admission professionals today!