What is Dual Diagnosis?

When you go into rehab, it’s standard to meet with a doctor and get formally diagnosed. After you finish that meeting, it’s possible you’ll ask: What is dual diagnosis? However, to wrap your head around dual diagnosis, you’ll need some background on co-occurring disorders.

What’s a Co-Occurring Disorder?what is dual diagnosis

Generally speaking, co-occurring disorders occur when you show signs of mental illness because you already have a medical condition or another mental illness. It’s very common, for example, for people who have heart attacks to become clinically depressed. Those who enter addiction treatment programs often learn they also have a second condition.

Exactly What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Even if you suspect you’re suffering from a secondary condition, a doctor must make the formal diagnosis. They use clues, like symptoms that don’t normally appear in a given addiction, as a way to pin down the other condition. For example, people with bipolar disorder get manic, high-energy stretches of time. That elation isn’t consistent with withdrawal.

Addiction shows up as a byproduct of mental illnesses, but it’s very common with:

  • Personality disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression

Your symptoms decide how the diagnosis happens. In fact, the doctor may only need a conversation or two. Sometimes, it takes a personality test.

Self-Medication

Mental illnesses can change your mood or how much energy you have. For example, those with anxiety disorders are often tense. They use alcohol to numb that tension.

Depression sufferers often struggle to get out of bed.Therefore, stimulant abuse is a common response.

Using stimulants or depressants in response to symptoms of a mental illness is self-medication. Unfortunately, it only covers symptoms and often makes the condition worse.

The brain uses chemicals that help you maintain stability. Moreover, mental illness often stems from those chemicals being out of balance. Adding stimulants or depressants can push those brain chemicals into a worse imbalance. Therefore, the condition worsens and you abuse until you’re addicted.

Seek Appropriate Treatment

After asking, what is dual diagnosis, you’ll probably wonder about treatment. However, treating a dual diagnosis is complex. The mental illness might require medication and individual therapy. At the same time, the staff at the rehab center must help you work through the addiction.

Silver Pines Treatment Center is located in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We offer a residential treatment program and can help you if you enter with a dual diagnosis. Specifically, we believe in behavioral therapy and holistic therapies, such as:

Don’t let addiction choose your future. A quality drug rehab program can help you overcome it. Call us at 866-345-2147 and we’ll help you find your way back to sobriety.