A person is dual diagnosed when they suffer simultaneously from a drug or alcohol addiction and a mental health disorder. When drug addictions and mental health disorders occur at the same time, it is hard to draw conclusions about which condition came first or even which caused the other.
The relationships between drug and alcohol addictions and mental health disorders are complex. Patients who receive a dual diagnosis often require special treatment. For dual diagnosis recovery help, call Drug Treatment Centers Bloomfield at (973) 842-0725.
There are some mental health disorders that co-occur with alcohol and drug addictions more often than others. This is due in large part to the specific effects certain mental health disorders have on the brain as well as the effects that drugs or alcohol also have on the functioning of the brain and nervous system.
Eating disorders are a group of mental health disorders that are characterized by a problematic body image (body dysmorphic disorder), compulsive behaviors regarding food and exercise, anxiety, and depression. Examples of eating disorders include bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorder.
Many eating disorder sufferers also develop addictions to drugs that they think may help to relieve their anxiety about body weight and image. Because most people with eating disorders are obsessed with weight loss and thinness, they turn to stimulant drugs such as cocaine, Adderall, or even meth.
This is due to the energy burst that such drugs can provide as well as the fact that a side effect of using and abusing such drugs is a loss of appetite. However, stimulants can also be highly addictive and do serious damage to the mind and body and can actually worsen the anxiety and paranoia eating disorder sufferers often already feel.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that is characterized as an anxiety disorder. OCD sufferers have fixations and obsessive thoughts that bring about constant worry, edginess, and anxiety. They also exhibit compulsive patterns of behaviors that stem from those obsessive and fixated thoughts. The behaviors come about to satisfy the obsessive thoughts, though in reality the compulsions are another source of anxiety for the sufferer.
Because of the constant edginess and worry of OCD, many people who have this disorder become addicted to opiates. Opiates (also known as narcotics) are drugs that have a powerful and potent calming effect on the body and nervous system as well as block perceptions of pain. Examples of such drugs include morphine, Demerol, and heroin. OCD sufferers may turn to opiates for anxiety relief but soon become addicted as the body begins to rely on the drugs to suppress the nervous system.
Psychotherapy is a treatment technique that helps to get a person to realize the causes of both their mental health disorder and addiction. In group and individual therapy sessions, they are allowed to openly discuss their disorders, the emotions, feelings, traumas, and thoughts that precipitate drug abuse and/or the development of mental health disordered behaviors and episodes to both heal the mind and to develop healthy ways of coping with those issues that do not involve substance abuse.
Behavioral management focuses more on actions than emotions and thoughts. It helps to uncover the behaviors and actions a person engages in leading up to mental health episodes and drug abuse (as well as during those times). When a person becomes aware of problematic behavior patterns, they are able to stop those behaviors and engage in alternative behaviors that do not lead to future problems.