Alcohol And Dual Diagnosis – Alcohol Addiction Nevada
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Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and mental health conditions are among the most common health issues facing adults in the United States. According to recent estimates, 14.1 million Americans suffer from AUD, while 51.5 million suffer from a mental health condition. A dual diagnosis refers to the presence of both of these issues at the same time. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted in 2019 found that co-occurring disorders affected 9.5 million people in the United States.1
The treatment of both mental health and addiction must be done simultaneously to ensure a successful recovery. By addressing addiction and underlying mental illnesses simultaneously, a person is able to overcome their addiction, improve their coping skills, gain self-awareness, and decrease their risk of relapse. Dual diagnosis treatment can also help individuals understand the interaction between their substance use disorder and mental health disorder, how these disorders affect their thoughts and behaviors, and how to manage them.2
In this article, we will delve into the complexities of alcohol and dual diagnosis, examining the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available for those struggling with both AUD and a mental health condition.
What Is Dual Diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders, refers to the simultaneous presence of a substance use disorder (such as alcohol use disorder) and a mental health condition. This can include conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among others.3
It is estimated that around half of individuals with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental health condition and vice versa. This is not a coincidence, as research has shown that there is a strong relationship between substance use disorders and mental health conditions.1
The exact causes of dual diagnosis are complex and multifactorial, but it is thought to be a result of a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. For example, individuals with a family history of addiction and mental health conditions may be more susceptible to developing a dual diagnosis. Additionally, individuals who have experienced traumatic life events, such as abuse or neglect, may turn to substance use as a means of coping, which can lead to the development of a co-occurring disorder.3
Symptoms of dual diagnosis can vary, but they may include changes in mood and behavior, decreased functioning in daily life, and difficulty with relationships. It’s important to note that the symptoms of a substance use disorder and a mental health condition can overlap and exacerbate each other, making it difficult to accurately diagnose and treat both conditions.3
Effective treatment for dual diagnosis requires addressing both the substance use disorder and the mental health condition. This can include a combination of therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and medication-assisted treatment.3
It’s important to understand that dual diagnosis can be a complex and challenging condition. But with the right treatment, individuals can recover and lead fulfilling lives. Individuals and their loved ones are advised to seek help and support from qualified professionals in dual diagnosis treatment centers to ensure that the best possible treatment plan is developed.3
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis?
The signs and symptoms of dual diagnosis can vary widely, depending on the specific substance use disorder and mental health condition involved. However, some common symptoms that may indicate the presence of a dual diagnosis include:3,4
- Changes in mood or behavior: This can include symptoms such as depression, anxiety, irritability, or impulsivity.
- Difficulty functioning in daily life: This can include issues with work, school, or relationships.
- Substance use becoming a primary coping mechanism: Individuals with a dual diagnosis may turn to substance use as a means of coping with symptoms of their mental health condition.
- Difficulty controlling substance use: Individuals with a dual diagnosis may have trouble controlling their substance use, despite wanting to stop or decrease their consumption.
- Physical symptoms: Individuals with a dual diagnosis may experience physical symptoms such as fatigue, changes in appetite, or difficulty sleeping.
- Changes in appearance and hygiene: Individuals with a dual diagnosis may neglect their appearance and hygiene.
- Legal or financial problems: Individuals with a dual diagnosis may experience legal or financial problems as a result of their substance use.
If a person is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help from a qualified addiction recovery clinic or mental health provider.3
What are the Common Dual Diagnosis Conditions with Alcohol?
Mental health and alcohol abuse are interconnected. Long-term abuse of alcohol can lead to dual diagnosis and mental health conditions, or it can serve as a self-medicating tool and help cope with difficult emotions. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and others are more likely to affect people who misuse alcohol.3
A dual diagnosis can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life and make recovery more challenging. Some of the most common dual diagnoses include:
- Depression: Depression is commonly accompanied by low energy levels, reduced activity levels, and low moods, and people often turn to alcohol to cope with these symptoms. Mood disorders affect about 40% of people, and addiction is more common among those with mood disorders.3
- Bipolar disorder: There is a high prevalence of alcoholism and drug abuse among individuals with bipolar disorder due to extreme mood swings and energy levels, as well as episodes of mania and depression. Adults suffering from bipolar disorder are at least 40% more likely to be addicted to alcohol and drugs.5
- Schizophrenia: Psychological disorders like schizophrenia are often associated with substance abuse and alcoholism. In addition, those diagnosed with schizophrenia smoke three times as much as the average American.6
- Anxiety: According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 20% of people with anxiety struggle with dual diagnosis and addiction. Anxiety can cause people to drink alcohol to alleviate their symptoms.7
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Dual diagnosis of PTSD and addiction can occur after a trauma or life-threatening event, as individuals may self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. VA data shows one in three of all substance abuse patients also has PTSD, with 20% also struggling with drug abuse.8
- ADHD: ADHD affects children and adults and is characterized by impulsiveness, difficulty concentrating, disorganized thinking, and restlessness. Addiction is three times more prevalent among ADHD adults than the general population.9
How Does Dual Diagnosis Impact Treatment?
Dual diagnosis can impact treatment in several ways. When an individual has both a substance use disorder and a mental health condition, the treatment approach must address both issues simultaneously.10
First, treating only one of the conditions is unlikely to be successful. For example, if an individual with a dual diagnosis of alcohol use disorder and depression receives treatment only for their alcohol use disorder, their depression may continue to worsen, increasing the likelihood of relapse.10
However, treating both conditions simultaneously can be challenging. Different treatment approaches may be required for each condition, and they may need to be coordinated and integrated in a way that addresses the unique needs of the individual.10
Individuals with dual diagnosis may require specialized treatment services. For example, they may need to be treated in specialized programs equipped to handle both substance use disorders and mental health conditions. Additionally, medications used to treat one condition may interact with medications used to treat the other, so proper assessment, care, and monitoring by a qualified professional are necessary.10
In conclusion, dual diagnosis rehab and recovery can be a challenge for both healthcare professionals and patients. A comprehensive and coordinated approach that addresses substance use disorder and mental health conditions are necessary for successful recovery.10
What Causes Dual Diagnosis?
The causes of dual diagnosis, or the simultaneous presence of a substance use disorder and a mental health condition, are complex and multifactorial. Research suggests that there is a strong relationship between substance use disorders and mental health conditions, with various factors contributing to their development. Some of the most commonly cited causes of dual diagnosis include:3
- Genetics: Individuals with a family history of addiction and mental health conditions may be more susceptible to developing a dual diagnosis. Studies have shown that certain genetic variations can increase the risk of developing substance use disorders and mental health conditions.
- Environmental Factors: Traumatic life events, such as abuse, neglect, or exposure to violence, can increase the risk of developing both substance use disorders and mental health conditions. Individuals who have experienced such events may turn to substance use as a means of coping.
- Psychological Factors: Individuals with certain personality traits or coping mechanisms may be more susceptible to developing a dual diagnosis. For example, individuals with low self-esteem or high impulsivity may be more likely to develop a substance use disorder.
- Brain chemistry: Substance use can change the brain’s chemistry, leading to the development of mental health conditions or worsening existing ones. Additionally, mental health conditions can also cause changes in brain chemistry, leading to an increased risk of substance use disorder.
- Social factors: Social determinants of health, such as poverty, lack of education, and lack of access to health care, can increase the risk of developing dual diagnosis. Individuals living in these conditions may have limited access to resources and support, leading to increased stress and a greater likelihood of turning to substance use as a means of coping.
- Self-medication: Individuals with undiagnosed or untreated mental health conditions may use substances to alleviate their symptoms. For example, an individual with depression may turn to alcohol as a means of coping with their symptoms, which can lead to the development of AUD.
What are the Risks Factors of Dual Diagnosis?
The risk factors of dual diagnosis, or the simultaneous presence of a substance use disorder and a mental health condition, can vary depending on the individual and their specific conditions. However, some commonly cited risk factors include:3
- Family history: Individuals with a family history of addiction and/or mental health conditions are at a higher risk of developing a dual diagnosis.
- Trauma: Exposure to traumatic life events, such as abuse, neglect, or exposure to violence, can increase the risk of developing both substance use disorders and mental health conditions.
- Stressful life events: Chronic stress, such as financial difficulties, job loss, or relationship problems, can increase the risk of developing a dual diagnosis.
- Mental health conditions: Individuals with certain mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or bipolar disorder, are at a higher risk of developing a substance use disorder.
- Age of onset of substance use: Individuals who start using substances at a younger age are at a higher risk of developing a dual diagnosis.
- Social environment: Exposure to a social environment that promotes substance use, such as peer pressure or easy access to substances, can increase the risk of developing a dual diagnosis.
- Access to resources and support: Lack of access to resources and support, such as healthcare and mental health services, can increase the risk of developing a dual diagnosis.
- Suicidal thoughts: People who have suicidal thoughts or ideations are at a higher risk of developing a dual diagnosis as they might use substances as a way to cope.
- Social isolation: People who are socially isolated or have less social support are more prone to develop a dual diagnosis as they might use substances to cope with the feeling of loneliness.
It is important to note that these risk factors are not mutually exclusive, and multiple factors may contribute to the development of dual diagnosis in an individual. A comprehensive assessment by a qualified professional is necessary to understand the specific risk factors and develop an appropriate treatment plan.3
How to Treat Dual Diagnosis in Nevada Treatment Centers?
Treatment for dual diagnosis typically involves a combination of approaches that address both conditions concurrently. These may include:10
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): This involves using medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine, to help individuals manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with substance use disorders.
- Behavioral therapy: This includes evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which can help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with substance use disorders and mental health conditions.
- Support groups: Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can provide individuals with a sense of community and support as they work towards recovery.
American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of substance abuse treatment and has facilities across the United States. AAC’s facilities provide comprehensive care for individuals with dual diagnosis, including medication-assisted treatment, medical detox from alcohol and other substances, behavioral therapy, support groups, and holistic therapies. AAC’s professional team of addiction specialists works with each individual client to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses their specific needs.
AAC also offers a helpline available 24/7 and staffed by experienced addiction professionals. They can provide information about treatment options, insurance coverage, and other resources. AAC accepts most major insurance providers and has also had alternative payment options, such as financing plans, to make treatment as accessible as possible.
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