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Dual Diagnosis
about drugs and alcohol

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that an estimated 4 million American adults have a dual diagnosis. If you are one of them, you should know that help is readily available in the Arkansas region.

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

The term “dual diagnosis” refers to the presence of both a substance user disorder and mental illness in a patient. These two conditions often occur simultaneously. One reason for this is that many people suffering from mental illness self-medicate with drugs or alcohol as a method of coping with their emotions. Another cause for the high rate is that mental illness can occur as a result of substance abuse. Regardless of which disorder comes first, both must be addressed during treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment centers in Arkansas are available to help patients with co-occurring disorders regain control over their mental illness and overcome addiction. Some of the most commonly co-diagnosed disorders include the following:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Schizophrenia

In some cases, certain mental illnesses have higher rates of addiction from one substance. For example, alcoholism and depression are often co-diagnosed. This is most likely because the effects of the drug produce the desired relief. Alcohol tends to promote relaxation and induce sleepiness, both of which may be desirable among individuals suffering from depression.


What Type of Treatment is Available?

Arkansas treatment centers offer a variety of different therapies that can help patients struggling with mental illness and a substance use disorder. The following therapies are the most effective in the treatment of co-occurring disorders:

  • Behavioral Therapy: Behavioral therapy is critical for dual diagnosis patients because it can reduce and even replace maladaptive behaviors associated with addiction. It can equip recovering addicts with the tools they need to stop coping with their issues through drugs and alcohol and instead, adopt healthier alternatives.
  • Psychopharmacology: Psychopharmacology incorporates medication into the treatment of mental illness and addiction. Medication is especially beneficial for individuals suffering from mental illness as it can help them better manage their symptoms. By finding the right dosage schedule, dual diagnosis patients can more easily avoid triggers and cravings caused by their old self-medicating behaviors.
  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is a broad term used to describe any therapy that focuses on communication rather than medication. Psychotherapy is often used simultaneously with psychopharmacology to achieve the best results.

All of these therapies can be sought out independently or through inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. Inpatient rehabilitation is the most research-based method of treating co-occurring disorders and is believed to produce the longest lasting results. However, some people are unable to commit to the residential requirements. In cases such as these, outpatient rehabilitation can be a good alternative, but it requires a strong support system at home to be effective. This is because it does not eliminate patients’ ability to access drugs or alcohol. As a result, the risk for relapse is higher.

How Does Aftercare Benefit Treatment?

Aftercare services are used to maintain progress following the completion of a treatment plan. Typically, most aftercare programs utilize the same therapies offered in rehabilitation facilities. However, they may also encourage participation in 12-step meetings and other alternative therapies. Aftercare plays a critical role in relapse prevention and maintaining life-long sobriety. It also allows patients to ease back into their normal duties without feeling overwhelmed or without professional support.

Living with a dual diagnosis can be a day-to-day challenge, but help in the Arkansas area is available. Contact rehabilitation centers today to get started!