What is a Co-Diagnosis?

Co-Occurring Disorders and Treatment

Co-occurring disorders entails those people suffering from a mental illness as well as a substance use disorder.

Dual diagnosis is common; when people experience mental illness, they are more likely to have a substance use disorder.

This process works both ways. Dual diagnosis is a challenging thing to deal with for patients and those who care about them.

It is treatable, and recovery from both issues is possible, but this does not happen in all cases.

Though the news of dual diagnosis is discouraging for anyone to receive, it is essential to remember that dual diagnosis is well-studied and treatable.

Dual diagnosis exists with the co-existence of any mental illness and any issue with substance abuse.

The most common mental diseases experienced in the United States are anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and others.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the NAMI, around 21% of adults in the United States have a mental illness.

This statistic equates to 1 in 5. Though it is not a majority, this is a staggering portion of the population.

The NAMI also states that of the millions of adults who have a mental illness in America, 60% of them received no treatment.

It is challenging to recover from a mental health issue without treatment; when patients have a dual diagnosis, their odds are even lower.

Treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues; dual diagnosis becomes essential for creating proper psychological and physical health among the United States citizens.

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Understanding Dual Diagnosis Meeting

To understand the dual diagnosis meaning, it is essential that you receive education about mental illness and substance use issues individually and together. Mental health issues occur in a whole host of different forms stated above. With each form of mental illness comes unique symptoms, signs, and effects. Effects of mental illness are physical, emotional, and behavioral. Different people often experience the same mental illnesses differently.

Though it looks different in every person depending on the illness and who they are, there are some prominent signs to watch out for when it comes to mental health issues, according to the NAMI:

  • Feelings of sadness or withdrawal from life for more than two weeks
  • Trying to end their life or making plans to try
  • Severe and risky behavior that causes the risk to themselves or others
  • Sudden and overwhelming fear for no reason
  • Significant changes in weight
  • Seeing, hearing, or believing thoughts or things that are not real
  • Excessive use of drugs or alcohol
  • Drastic changes in personality, shifts in mood, or changes in sleeping patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating or sitting still
  • Intense fears or worries can get in the way of daily activities

Though many people experience different mental health issues specific to certain disorders, and mental health problems do not feel the same for every individual, it is vital that you seek help if you or someone you love are experiencing the above issues.

There are also vital signs to look out for when it comes to substance use disorders. These include, according to MedlinePlus:

  • Confusion
  • Continuing to use drugs even when it harms themselves or the people they love
  • Feelings of anger when confronted about drug use
  • Episodes of violent behavior
  • Lack of control over drug use or alcohol consumption
  • Making excuses to do drugs or drink alcohol
  • Missing work, school, or significant events
  • Decreased performance in career or education
  • Need for daily drug use or alcohol consumption to function
  • Not practicing self-care or caring about what they look like
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Acting secretive about hiding substance use.

Just as with a mental illness, these signs vary based on the person, how long they have been using the substance, and how dependent they are. However, it is imperative to watch out for these symptoms in people at risk for a substance use disorder.

If you notice that you or someone you love exhibits multiple symptoms of a mental health issue and a substance use disorder, it is crucial to receive dual diagnosis treatment for these issues. With treatment, dual diagnosis issues often improve. Without it, they are very harmful.

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Effects and Abuse of Substances

Substance use disorders often change every aspect of a person’s life: their relationships, their performance in work or school, and their behavior. Substance use disorders occur when a person becomes dependent on drug use or alcohol consumption. These issues can change how the brain works; brain pathways change as they develop a need for the substance to function correctly.

Substance use issues also cause their host of physical health problems. These depend on which substance the person uses and how often the use occurs, but they are detrimental to health and even end lives. These issues include increased risk of cancer, heart, lung, or liver disease, increased risk of sexually transmitted infection, and more.

This can also worsen your co-occurring disorders.

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Treatment for Dual Diagnosis Meaning

Mental health problems in the United States are widespread, damaging, and difficult to overcome for many people. Substance use issues are overpowering, causing compulsive urges for substance use and withdrawal symptoms when the substance stops. When combined, these disorders exacerbate each other. Dual diagnosis treatment for both of these issues is essential when it comes to recovery.

With co-occurring disorders treatment, recuperation is possible, and patients often go on to live happy, drug and alcohol-free lives. Treatment approaches vary depending on the situation of the patient and what works best for them.

Usually, co-occurring disorders treatment involves detoxification at a third-party facility and then attending therapy at an inpatient facility. Physicians and staff members use medication, individual therapy, and support groups to establish recovery plans and relapse prevention techniques with patients. At inpatient centers, patients live with their peers who have similar experiences. Inpatient centers and support groups often help to establish a sense of camaraderie.

Medications lessen withdrawal symptoms during detoxification and help with the unpleasant compulsive urges and symptoms of whatever mental illness a patient struggles with. Different forms of therapy, such as talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and exposure therapy, help patients confront their mental illness and substance use disorder. They learn more about it, what led to it, and how to recover.

Individuals in residential rehab for co-occurring disorders are offering support to one another.

Payment for Treatment

Payment for dual diagnosis treatment is another complicated part of the process of recovery for many patients.

Though treatment is beneficial in achieving recovery, it is expensive.

Patients recovering from dual diagnosis often benefit from insurance verification programs like ours.

These programs allow patients to find out immediately whether their insurance covers their dual diagnosis treatment.

We aim to make treatment as most accessible as possible for patients who need it.

When mental health issues and substance use disorders combine to form a dual diagnosis, it affects a person’s life in every way.

Though these issues are challenging, they are also treatable.

Co-occurring disorders treatment allows patients to take control of their own lives and overcome their dual diagnosis.

Though recovery is not a guarantee, therapy almost always helps patients in some way and gets them on track to a new life.

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