Dual Diagnoses: Treating Substance Abuse and Other Disorders
Quite often, substance abuse problems and psychological disorders are intertwined. The “official” term for this is dual diagnosis. There are many substances to which people are addicted. There are numerous psychological or emotional disorders. Each may play a large part in a dual diagnosis of an addiction and another disorder. Often, the substance abuse problems and psychological illness are inseparable. At Casa Palmera’s treatment facility in San Diego, we provide effective dual diagnosis treatment for substance abuse and mood disorders such as anxiety.
It takes an experienced team to properly treat someone with a dual diagnosis. Finding the right treatment plan can be daunting. As a result, many facilities look for one “primary disorder” to treat, ignoring other concomitant illnesses. At Casa Palmera, we understand that a dual diagnosis requires treatment of all issues to achieve complete healing. Untreated emotional problems make relapse more likely, and untreated substance abuse problems often exacerbate or mask emotional problems. Treating both issues together results in a better recovery outcome.
Self-Medication and Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Three psychological/emotional illnesses often appear in people with substance abuse issues. All may make it impossible to function normally, affecting everything from relationships to work performance.
1. Mood Disorders
People with depression or bipolar disorder often turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, sometimes resulting in addiction.
2. Anxiety Disorders
Many live their lives in a state of constant worry. They are restless, and often experience nightmares. On top of that, they are prone to headaches and upset stomachs. Common anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder, marked by constant worrying and an overriding fear that comes to dominate life.
- Panic Disorders, which often include a sudden feeling of complete terror when there is no real threat. Sometimes the feelings are so strong, sufferers feel as if they could die, and many report chest tightness, dizziness, and a very fast heart rate.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) causes an obsession with troubling or disturbing thoughts, which people try to gain control of by doing certain things, or “rituals”. For instance, if someone is germ phobic and has OCD, they may need to wash their hands constantly throughout the day.
- Phobias affect one in ten people, and are unreasonable fears of certain things, which, if seen or experienced, cause intense anxiety. Even just the thought of the feared thing can caused extreme anxiety.
Damaging life events can lead to substance abuse issues and psychological problems. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often the result of a traumatic event and commonly robs the sufferer of the capacity to deal with “normal” situations.