What is Dual Diagnosis?

what is dual diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is a combination of treatable illnesses that can affect anyone. It’s also common, with some studies showing that more than half of individuals with depression or bipolar disorder also use drugs and/or alcohol. However, there’s a way to overcome a dual diagnosis. 7 Summit Pathways uses an individualized method of addiction treatment with medically based methods to achieve long-term change.

What Does “Dual Diagnosis” Mean?

Dual diagnosis is also known as co-occurring disorders, where a person has a mental illness and addiction at the same time. It includes any combination of mental illness — from anxiety disorder to depression to other issues — and addiction, whether it’s alcohol, drugs, gambling or something else.

It’s often difficult to pinpoint which issue started first since each diagnosis can interact with the other in various ways:

  • Addiction can turn into a form of self-medication for an untreated or under-treated mental health condition.
  • Addiction can intensify and worsen the symptoms of a mental health condition.
  • Addiction could lead to the start of a mental health condition.

Because there are multiple combinations of dual diagnosis, symptoms can vary from patient to patient. Some of the common symptoms of addiction include the following:

  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Development of a high tolerance and withdrawal symptoms
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and others

The symptoms of a mental health condition may also be present, such as:

  • Extreme mood changes
  • Confused thoughts
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Thoughts of suicide

What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

If you suffer from two ailments that make up a dual diagnosis, you’ll be relieved to know that there’s an effective treatment called integrated intervention. For this treatment plan, you’ll receive care for your diagnosed mental illness and substance use disorder. 7 Summit Pathways will first work to understand how each condition impacts the other to determine an individualized approach that works best for you.

The most common treatment plans for dual diagnosis follow these steps:

  • Detoxification: Either residential or outpatient detoxification is the first step to treating dual diagnosis. Residential detoxification is usually more effective, and our trained medical staff will monitor you. We’ll use the substance itself or its medical alternative to help wean you off the drug and lessen your withdrawal symptoms.
  • Residential therapy: Next, you’ll enter our residential center, where we can give you medical and mental health care. We offer a multidimensional and personal approach with evidence-based therapies that are tailored to meet your specific needs.
  • Medications: We use medication to treat our patients, especially those who are experiencing addiction withdrawal symptoms and a mental health condition.

How 7 Summit Pathways Can Help

At 7 Summit Pathways, we base our philosophy on seven dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, environmental, occupational and intellectual. Even when you’re feeling hopeless and scared, we can help with your dual diagnosis just like we have for thousands before you. If you still have questions about dual diagnosis and treatment, contact us today or schedule an appointment.

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