For many people that come to Tranquility Woods for addiction recovery, it is not uncommon that they also suffer from a mental health disorder. In this case, the individual has a co-occurring disorder, also known as a dual diagnosis. This means that a substance abuse addiction occurs simultaneously with mental health issues.Our professionals ensure that each individual is properly assessed for signs of mental health disorders because treating each disorder individually, will almost certainly lead to relapse. The two problems are so intimately connected that they require very deliberate and specific care to address each of the issues simultaneously.
According to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, the mental illnesses most commonly co-occurring alongside substance abuse are:
- Mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder)
- Anxiety disorders
- Obsessive compulsive disorders
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Personality disorders
Some patients are already aware of their mental health disorder, others may not be, while others of course, may not fall into the co-occurring disorder category.
Mental health and Addiction treatment in Maryland
In order to treat dual disorders successfully, the identified disorders must be treated together. However, the mental disorder is often difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of substance abuse can mask symptoms of mental illness. For example, substance abuse can result in mood swings or angry outbursts, but these may stem from bipolar disorder. Another example is that poor performance at work or school is blamed on substance abuse, but the underlying cause is a social phobia or anxiety.On the other hand, symptoms of mental illness can appear to be symptoms of addiction. For example, symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations, delusions, and confusing thoughts can be confused with symptoms of drug use. Therefore, it is essential that every patient be thoroughly screened by a very experienced licensed mental health professional.
People who suffer from mental disorders often use alcohol or drugs as a means to make themselves feel better. None of us want to suffer and these substances offer relief, even if they also cause damage and further suffering as a result of their abuse.
Those with anxiety commonly seek something to make them feel calm. Others who feel depressed want something to make them feel alive. Still, others who feel overwhelming pain might seek out a drug to make them feel numb. Addicts often have a drug of choice, but many often use multiple substances to help them handle their mental suffering and pain.
Once addiction treatment begins and the use of drugs and/or alcohol ends, those with dual diagnosis will find that the symptoms of mental illness that they masked with addiction will become heightened and this can lead to relapse.
That’s why it’s paramount for both disorders must be treated at the same time, in the same place, by the same treatment team. At Tranquility Woods, our team of mental health professionals understands how to approach treatment for those with co-occurring disorders. It’s common that the addict and/or the family not be certain if mental illness is a factor, other times it’s known to both. Regardless, a thorough screen is part of every patient intake.