At La Fuente Hollywood, we understand that addiction is a complex, multifaceted problem. There is no quick fix, and simply getting the substance(s) out of the body through detox is not enough. It is quite common for substance dependency to be accompanied by mental health disorders – a condition called dual diagnosis.
If you or a loved one are struggling with dual diagnosis and need substance abuse treatment, let La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center help you today by calling 888.903.9898 or completing our online form.
What is Dual Diagnosis?
When dealing with addiction treatment, a client often presents with a substance dependency, such as alcohol or meth, and a mental health disorder, such as bipolar disorder or depression. These co-occurring disorders are known as dual diagnosis and inform our approach to treatment.
It is necessary to treat both the addiction and the mental health disorder simultaneously through targeted therapies that address the complexity of the problem. For example, a clinically depressed individual may drink heavily to cope with depression and become addicted to alcohol. Treating one without treating the other is counter-productive since these two conditions reinforce one another. Furthermore, a person with dual diagnosis may very well develop other mental health disorders and substance abuse issues, leading to a downward spiral with potentially fatal outcomes.
3 Factors in Developing a Co-Occurring Disorder
Substance abuse disorders and mental health disorders make strange bedfellows, but they work together to cause havoc in a person’s life. Anxiety leads to depression. Depression leads to drinking heavily. Drinking leads to using prescription painkillers. The cycle is endless. The following three factors help explain why co-occurring disorders are commonplace:
- Overlapping risk factors – The common risk factors for substance abuse disorders and mental health disorders frequently overlap. This happens due to genetics and some environmental factors that make it more likely a person will develop a co-occurring disorder. Exposure to trauma is another element to point to when trying to find the cause.
- Self-medicating – People turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with symptoms of mental health disorders. Then when the drug or alcohol intake increases over time, either caused or exacerbated by the substance abuse, other disorders can surface.
- Drug-induced brain changes – Substance abuse can alter how the brain functions. The areas affected correspond to those associated with mood, anxiety, impulse control, and even schizophrenia.
The Link Between Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse
There are certain mental health disorders that are more likely to occur alongside substance abuse. Research into co-occurring disorders is ongoing, but some of the prevalent mental health disorders that show a link are below:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – People with PTSD are four times as likely to meet the criteria for a substance abuse disorder.
- Mood disorders – 20% of those with a substance abuse disorder have a co-occurring mood disorder like depression or bipolar disorder.
- Anxiety disorders – 18% of the general population have a co-occurring anxiety disorder. Marijuana use has been shown to have a link with social anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder also show an increased risk with co-occurring disorders.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – ADHD has been linked to substance abuse disorder in young people, causing them to gravitate towards using drugs at an earlier age than their peers. Due to the number of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity symptoms observed in those who have ADHD, the risk of substance abuse is much higher than others in their respective age groups.
- Personality disorders – 10-15% of people have a personality disorder. Those who undergo treatment for addiction are 35-73% more likely to have one. Some of the personality disorders include borderline, antisocial, avoidant, and paranoid personality disorders.