People who have a mental disorder may experience horrible episodes of despair that can prove devastating both to them and to their loved ones. As a person with a mental health problem, such as general anxiety, clinical depression or bipolar disorder, goes through life, the individual experiences uncomfortable symptoms almost daily.
A fear of social settings, thoughts of hopelessness and a lack of focus can impair the person’s ability to function normally. To quell these feelings and attempt to regain control, the individual may turn to drugs or alcohol. Each time the person needs relief from the pain, he or she may self-medicate, initiating a cycle that leads to chemical dependency.
The numbing effects of the drugs or alcohol may quell the negative emotions, but the relief is only temporary. Without proper treatment, the symptoms of the mental illness will resurface repeatedly.
When people have co-morbid conditions, the coexisting issues are often related. Thus, when symptoms of one health issue present, the other disorder is aggravated. This is the relationship between mental illness and chemical addiction. People who have a mental disorder are more apt to experience significant repercussions when a chemical addiction is present.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, over 50 percent of people who abuse drugs and over 35 percent of individuals who abuse alcohol also battle a mental illness. Since the mental illness and the addiction are correlated, it is important for these individuals to receive rehabilitative treatment that addresses both conditions simultaneously. The best type of treatment for chemically addicted patients who display signs of mental illness is dual diagnosis treatment.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Dual diagnosis treatment programs are designed to treat the mental illness and the addiction, giving the patient the best chance at recovery. The treatment is often administered in special inpatient treatment centers called dual diagnosis treatment facilities.
During treatment at these centers, patients are regularly evaluated to help identify factors that may be initiating their cycle of substance abuse. As the triggers are discovered, patients are taught healthy coping mechanisms that help them regain control without the help of addictive substances.
Dual diagnosis treatment programs also help patients detox to remove any remaining traces of drugs or alcohol from their system. Non-addictive medications may be used during this segment of treatment to help minimize withdrawal symptoms.
Patients can also expect to participate in group therapy sessions and receive counseling to help them overcome past emotional traumas. As the dual diagnosis patients heal physically and mentally, they are better able to live an addiction-free life.