5 Common Dual Diagnoses

Dual diagnosis treatment is a coordinated approach to treating co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. The Colorado dual diagnosis treatment center at Mile High Recovery Center in Denver provides a wide range of evidence-based dual diagnosis treatments in inpatient or outpatient format. Call today to learn more about Mile High Recovery Center’s programs for dual diagnosis treatment and to find out about common types of dual diagnoses.

5 Common Types of Dual Diagnosis Cases

Understanding the most common types of dual diagnoses—the mental health disorders associated with addiction—will help you understand the interplay between mental health and substance abuse. The five most common co-occurring mental health disorders are:

1. Personality Disorders

If you have a disorder in this class of mental health diagnoses, you are at a significantly increased risk of addiction. The lifetime risk of addiction for those with a personality disorder approaches 75%. Personality disorders distort how people see the world and can create rigidly entrenched beliefs and behaviors. There are numerous types of personality disorders, including:

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Paranoid personality disorder

People with one of the types of personality disorders may seek alcohol and drugs to mask feelings of inadequacy, escape negative thoughts, or feel better about themselves. Antisocial personality disorder has the highest risk of addiction, though this group is the least likely to seek treatment. Borderline personality disorder is second on the list of high-risk mental health conditions.

2. Major Depression

Depression is common in the U.S. and the world, and is the leading cause of disability. About seven out of ten adults suffer from major depression, and the adolescent rate is higher. Depression often goes undiagnosed and very commonly co-occurs with addiction. People with a depressive disorder will turn to substances to:

  • Dull their psychological pain, for example, with alcohol or opioids
  • Make it possible to function, for example, with stimulants
  • Help them sleep
  • Escape from awareness and dark thoughts

Suicide is in the country’s top ten causes of death, and someone struggling with depression and addiction is at an even greater risk of this kind of tragic outcome.

3. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme swings in mood, including energized highs referred to as mania or hypomania and deep depressive lows. Although classified as a depressive condition, bipolar disorder is its own diagnosis and a considerable risk factor for co-occurring addiction. People with bipolar disorder risk using counterbalancing substances to manage their highs and lows. It is common for someone to use a sedative to stabilize a manic episode and uppers to lift them from depression. The fact that bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed can complicate treatment, a point that is only amplified when it co-occurs with addiction.

4. Anxiety Disorders

There are numerous disorders under the umbrella of anxiety. They include:

  • General anxiety
  • Social anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

People with anxiety frequently turn to substances to help them mitigate what can become crippling symptoms that prevent them from living full lives. For example, the use of alcohol or drugs as a social lubricant for those with social anxiety—the most common of the anxiety disorders—can lead quickly to frequent use, abuse, tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Addiction is a high risk for people with this diagnosis, and nearly one in five people with a substance use disorder have an anxiety disorder.

5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Because PTSD usually involves sleep disturbance, nightmares, and flashbacks, all of which re-traumatize a trauma victim repeatedly, sufferers are in a constant state of fight or flight, so their systems are flooded with cortisol and adrenaline. The desire to counteract the physical and psychological sensations of being constantly on the alert and reliving trauma leads many with this diagnosis to seek drugs, alcohol, or both. Nearly 50% of people who seek addiction treatment struggle with PTSD.

Learn More About Dual Diagnoses in Colorado at Mile High Recovery Center

Let Mile High Recovery Center support you by providing treatment for cases of dual diagnosis in Colorado at our dual diagnosis center. Our evidence-based therapies are provided by professionals who coordinate care to best treat your substance use disorder and other mental health disorders. Call today at 303-268-2144 or use our online form. Don’t wait. Get the help you deserve.

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