You struggle with a substance abuse problem. But there’s more going on. You suspect that there are also underlying conditions. What is dual diagnosis?
How Mental Health and Addiction Intertwine
A dual diagnosis definition suggests that you suffer from addiction as well as mental illness. This may refer to depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Other mental health concerns include schizophrenia or borderline personality disorders. They frequently encourage substance abuse.
Case in point is feeling anxious. You try to calm yourself down. Abusing alcohol works well in the short run so you have a few drinks and relax.
Eventually, your body develops a tolerance. What is dual diagnosis in this case? Therapists would say that you have an underlying anxiety disorder as well as a substance abuse problem. By the way, your drug doesn’t have to be alcohol.
You might self-medicate with stimulants or prescription drugs. Some people mix drugs, too. This results in a polysubstance abuse problem that still falls within the dual diagnosis definition. No matter what drug you use or what condition you deal with, you need help.
What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment Like?
You should consider evidence-based modalities at a dual diagnosis treatment center in New Hampshire. These centers will treat both conditions at the same time. In the past, therapists would focus on the addiction but leave the mental health component alone. Doing so resulted in relapse.
The same’s true when you approach the condition the other way around. It’s not enough to focus on the mental health aspect but not touch on the substance abuse. Clients experience the best treatment results when therapists employ a two-pronged approach. It means that you receive treatment for the mental illness as well as addiction.
- Trauma therapy that gives you the tools you need to process negative situations from the past
- Behavioral counseling, which lets you develop unique coping skills you can use for trigger situations
- Group counseling for cognitive behavioral therapy as well as addiction education
- Experiential treatments that encourage you to implement what you’re learning in treatment
- Aftercare as a tool for learning how to live sober while managing your mental health
Group therapy is a powerful modality in this setting. Because you’re learning from peers who’re also in recovery, you receive unique input and immediate feedback. Many peers also struggle with underlying conditions. You learn from them and find out how to avoid pitfalls.
The group is an excellent way of practicing how to engage with others. Because so many people don’t know how to express themselves, it’s an important healing modality. In the same way, it empowers you to learn social skills. You set boundaries and practice interacting without being under the influence of a substance.
Why You Can’t Just Go It Alone
It’s tempting to keep hiding your suffering. You don’t want to deal with people telling you what to do. Besides that, you don’t feel like sitting in a group and talking about problems. However, that’s what it’ll take to heal from substance abuse.
Most importantly, you need the help of therapists to deal with the underlying mental health issue. This isn’t something you can accomplish on your own. However, you can receive the care you need at a facility that specializes in dual diagnosis care.