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Medication Treatment for Dual Diagnosis Disorders

Accurately diagnosing dual diagnosis disorders is crucial for the management of both the addiction and the mental health disorder. Treatment of one condition without the other will lead to a worsening of both.

Substance Abuse Dual Diagnosis

What is a Dual Diagnosis Disorder?

When an individual struggles with addiction and an independently occurring mental health disorder, he or she suffers from what is called a dual diagnosis. The determining factor of dual diagnosis is when an individual’s mental health disorder is still present when he or she is abstinent from alcohol and drugs. Mental health symptoms are automatic and uncontrollable and their symptoms can be confusing and overwhelming. Many individuals will use drugs and alcohol as a way of self-medicating and controlling these symptoms.

Some mental health symptoms include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Poor concentration
  • Low energy
  • Isolative behaviors
  • Negative thoughts
  • Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
  • Disturbance in appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

Addicts find that drugs and alcohol temporarily relieve mental health symptoms and are an alternative to mental health medications. However, alcohol and drug abuse actually aggravate mental health symptoms. As symptoms worsen, the addict will use more substances, building tolerance in his or her body. Addicts need to attend a dual diagnosis treatment center to end the cycle of addiction and stabilize their mood.

Substance-Induced Mood Disorders

When an individual uses drugs and/or alcohol, he or she will develop mental health symptoms as a result of substance abuse. Alcohol and drug dependency has a negative impact on the addict psychologically, creating a substance-induced mood disorder. One indicator of a substance-induced disorder is that there has been no previously diagnosed mental health disorder in the addict’s medical or mental health history. Presently, there are 8 substance-induced mood disorders with transient diagnoses.

Substance-Induced Disorders:

  • Substance-Induced Delirium
  • Substance-Induced Persisting Dementia
  • Substance-Induced Amnesic Disorder
  • Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder
  • Substance-Induced Mood Disorder
  • Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder
  • Substance-Induced Sexual Dysfunction
  • Substance-Induced Sleep Disorder

Each of these substance-induced disorders will have symptoms specific to its pathology. While symptoms are present, substance-induced disorders will benefit from mental health medications. These symptoms will clear up when the addict remains abstinent from drugs and alcohol for a period of time. This period of time will be dependent on the frequency and duration of substance abuse. A dual diagnosis treatment center will be able to address substance-induced disorders because of their symptoms’ similarity to dual diagnosis symptoms.

Medication Treatment for Dual Diagnosis Disorders

Medication for dual diagnosis disorders helps to decrease symptoms and stabilize the addict’s mood. Most mental health medications will take 4-6 weeks to be fully active within the addict’s body. For optimum mental health stabilization, the addict must be consistent and committed to taking the medication. Alcohol and drugs will prevent mental health medication from working properly and may be a dangerous combination when taken with some types of medications. There are several types of medication that address symptoms of dual diagnosis and substance-induced disorders.

Types of Mental Health Medication:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Beta Blockers
  • Sedative/Hypnotics
  • Sleep Aids

Alcohol and drugs will deplete chemicals in the brain that help it remain stabilized. Initially, addicts will seem moody and irritable when not under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Because of addiction, alcohol and drugs will lose their effectiveness in masking deficits in brain chemistry. This will result in mood swings, depression and anxiety, even while the individual is under the influence.

Common Dual Diagnosis Disorders

Many addicts suffer from similar dual diagnosis disorders. The use of drugs and alcohol may also mimic mental health symptoms, causing substance-induced disorders.

The seven most common mental health disorders addicts have are:

A dual diagnosis treatment center will be able to help the addict eliminate substance abuse and stabilize his or her mood. The addict will need continued support from a facility that offers addiction treatment with a mental health track to provide the best possible results for addicts who are dually diagnosed.

Looking For Treatment?

You suffer from anxiety, depression, panic or another mental health disorder and you started drinking or drugging to help the symptoms disappear. You never counted on becoming addicted. You need special, integrated dual diagnosis treatment to manage both conditions. Recovery Connection coordinators, 866-812-8231, can help you find a quality dual diagnosis facility. You don’t have to live under the weight of an undiagnosed mental health disorder and addiction. Call now and gain control of your life.

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