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What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

Person asking someone, "What is a dual diagnosis?"

The prevalence of co-occurring disorders among people who struggle with a substance use disorder (SUD) makes dual diagnosis treatment a priority for most reputable addiction treatment centers. Overlapping conditions make proper treatment challenging but vitally important. Addressing addiction and another mental health disorder with a coordinated treatment plan is best practice and results in significantly better outcomes than different approaches. If you or someone you love is struggling with a SUD and either has or suspects an underlying mental health disorder, superb, evidence-based dual diagnosis treatment in Colorado is available.

Mile High Recovery Center has a dual diagnosis treatment center in Colorado that provides excellent care for anyone with co-occurring disorders. What is a dual diagnosis? Reach out for the answer to that and other queries, such as how treatment works, whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is best, and how long dual diagnosis treatment will take. Complete our easy online form to connect with one of our staff, or call us at 855.796.2102.

What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

If someone has an addiction to alcohol or drugs and a mental health disorder, this is called a dual diagnosis. Dealing with two different but inevitably linked conditions can complicate treatment unless the treatment is synchronous and coordinated.

50% or more of people with mental health disorders will develop a SUD. Addiction, in turn, exacerbates the symptoms of the mental health condition. When a mental health disorder is combined with addiction to a controlled substance, they are considered co-occurring disorders. Some of the mental health disorders that commonly co-occur with addiction are:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Major depressive disorder or generalized depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Compulsive disorders
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizoaffective disorder

Getting help at a dual diagnosis treatment center becomes a priority when there are co-occurring disorders.

Link Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse

It is not difficult to understand why people suffering from mental health challenges turn to substances to help them cope with the symptoms that threaten to derail their lives. This is known as self-medicating. Someone with runaway anxiety struggles to function in a job or have a social life. A Valium prescription helps. Doubling the prescribed dose helps more. Addiction ensues. A mother’s grief at the loss of a child turns into chronic depression, and alcohol helps dull the pain. In time, tolerance leads to dependence which leads to addiction.

Whether someone hears voices, is crippled by PTSD flashbacks, or cannot rest due to compulsive drives that are out of their control, the promised relief of drugs or alcohol may seem too tempting to resist. It helps at first, but when addiction takes root, all the original issues become amplified. Now there are two diagnoses to address to be well again.

What to Expect from a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center

When you sign up for dual diagnosis treatment in a rehab center, you will likely receive therapies similar to those you might receive in addiction treatment or mental health treatment alone. But because your treatment team of psychotherapists, doctors, and other addiction and mental health specialists is working in tandem to help you address both disorders in a coordinated approach, all your therapies will be working as dual diagnosis treatment.

Some of the therapies that work well in dual diagnosis treatment are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

These approaches can be used in individual, group, and family therapy with excellent results.

Find Treatment for Dual Diagnosis in Colorado at Mile High Recovery Center

At Mile High Recovery Center, our dual diagnosis treatment center provides evidence-based therapies and wrap-around care for anyone with co-occurring disorders involving addiction and mental health.

Learn what dual diagnosis is and how it works by reaching out today. Our staff is ready to answer your questions and help you think about the next steps for you or someone you love. Call us at 855.796.2102 or fill out this online form to connect with one of our professional staff.

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