People start using drugs or alcohol for many different reasons. For a specific portion of those who seek help for an addiction, they may wonder, “Do I need dual diagnosis treatment?” This question can only be answered after a thorough psychological evaluation and mental health history, including the mental health histories of parents and grandparents.
What is Dual Diagnosis?
Experts have estimated that 45 percent of those in recovery deal with a dual diagnosis. In order to answer “Do I need dual diagnosis treatment?” it is crucial to understand what this term means. Many think it means a person is addicted to more than one substance, but that is not the case. A dual diagnosis is when a person has both a substance use disorder and a mental health diagnosis. Often, doctors don’t provide mental health diagnoses until the person has entered a recovery program. It is during the initial evaluation and early days of therapy that doctors may discover an underlying mental health disorder.
Why Do I Need Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
You may ask, “Why do I need dual diagnosis treatment?” because you think treating the addiction will make everything better, and life will be easier to deal with from here on out. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Often, when you were trying to cope with the symptoms of an undiagnosed mental health disorder that you first started to use. They may have begun using to cover flashbacks from PTSD, lighten the mood of depression, or feel more confident in social situations that caused anxiety. Once the effects of the drugs or alcohol wear off, these problems will resurface. Without treatment, you will not have the tools necessary to cope with the symptoms positively. Then, you may find yourself returning to your old coping habits of using drugs or alcohol. By treating the underlying disorder, you eliminate what may be your most prominent reason for imbibing in addictive substances.
Depression, Anxiety, and Mood Disorders
The three most common underlying mental health disorders in those facing addiction are depression, an anxiety disorder such as PTSD or social anxiety, or a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder. Other conditions can lead to addictive behavior, but these are the most common. In the case of depression, it and addiction are intrinsically linked. As a result, it can be challenging to determine if one creates the other, and if so, which starts the circle?
Social anxiety is one example of how addiction and mental health disorders work together. A person finds themselves unable to feel comfortable when dealing with a group, even a small one. They may take a drink or two to calm their nerves enough to handle the situation. Unfortunately, there will always be another situation, and the anxiety will return. The alcohol helped the first time, so the person uses alcohol again. Now the mind starts needing more alcohol to help the individual reach that same functioning state. Therefore, they increase the amount they drink before going into a social situation. In time, the individual can’t function at all because an alcohol addiction has taken hold.
Red Oak Recovery and Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Do I need dual diagnosis treatment? At Red Oak Recovery, we believe the answer might be yes if there is an underlying mental health disorder fueling your addiction. Contacting us at 866.457.7590 will start the process of evaluation to help us help you. It may well be your addiction is not related to mental illness, and your treatment can be more straight-forward. You will never know until you take the chance and grab hold of the hand that waits to help you.