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Dual Diagnosis

A term used to describe the condition of living with both a mental health illness or issue and a substance abuse disorder or drug addiction, dual diagnosis can sometimes also be known as having co-existing disorders.

Common Mood Disorders Found in a Dual Diagnosis

While it can refer to any number of co-occurring conditions and disorders, a dual diagnosis will most commonly see:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Major depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder

Common Addictions Found in a Dual Diagnosis

  • Prescription drug abuse
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Opiate addiction
  • Alcohol abuse

Patients dealing with a dual diagnosis are actually and actively suffering from two separate illnesses. As such, they need to seek treatment for both of these conditions in conjunction with each other; not only individually, but as a whole, as well. This is because a dual diagnosis has a notorious way of masking symptoms and causing patients to self-medicate, leading to relapses of both conditions, and making the addiction harder to treat overall.

By failing to recognize and treat both aspects of a dual diagnosis, you are severely hampering the effectiveness of any treatment attempts for either your addiction or your mood disorder. Neglecting either one only serves to put you and your therapy and care team at a disadvantage. It also leads to a much higher risk of relapse and the danger of overmedication or improper diagnosis.

Anyone living with coexisting disorders has most likely noticed symmetry and correlations between the symptoms of their mood disorder and those of their substance abuse. Most recently, studies by the Centers for Disease Control and the NIDA have actually proven that patients suffering from a mood disorder or mental illness (especially long term sufferers or those who have gone without diagnosis or proper care) have a higher likelihood of developing a drug or alcohol addiction during the course of their life, as well.

Statistics like these mean it’s absolutely essential for patients with a confirmed or suspected dual diagnosis to find a qualified treatment center or physician in the Louisiana area as soon as possible.

You can find both in and outpatient centers that focus on this kind of care in several parishes throughout Louisiana, as well as doctors, clinics, and hospital settings that cater specifically to the needs of substance abuse patients who are also dealing with the realities of living with a mood disorder.

Mood Disorders: What Are They?

Mood disorders are a specific category of mental illness or condition. Not uncommon, they currently affect roughly 18% of the US population, according to sources like Mental Health America and the National Institutes of Health. Mood disorders are a broad category of mental conditions, and include well-known terms as major depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymic disorder, persistent depressive disorder, and panic disorder.

Sometimes, patients struggling to cope with the signs and symptoms of a mood disorder will begin to self-medicate. Using drugs or alcohol, they will attempt to balance out their illness, symptoms, or constantly shifting moods and emotions. As things like anxiety, panic, depression, or mania set in, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol can mask these symptoms–for a while.

But when a physical dependence on these substances develops as well, the patient has now acquired a dual diagnosis. Their brain chemistry has changed even further–complicating the treatment of both situations.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

To find out how you can be better assisted, call your local treatment center in the Louisiana area. Find help for your struggles and live a fulfilling and extraordinary life.