A dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder can profoundly impact mental and physical health. Also, dual diagnosis with more severe symptoms can complicate the recovery process for individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) “people with SUDs are more likely than those without SUDs to have co-occurring mental disorders”. For this reason, facilities like Twilight Recovery Center have programs designed to treat multiple co-occurring conditions and provide essential support.
What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?
If someone has two or more disorders active at the same time, they have what is considered a dual diagnosis. Basically, co-occurring disorders can have multiple overlapping symptoms and side effects. This makes dual diagnoses difficult to identify in some instances.
The most common co-occurring disorders people experience alongside SUD include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
Rehabilitation programs that address all current and underlying disorders provide the best outcome. They ensure individuals have the tools, skills, and resources they need to cope with symptoms and make progress in treatment. At the same time, many people benefit from integrative treatment that involves combining various aspects of psychotherapy, prescription medication, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and other treatments.
How Dual Diagnosis Affects Recovery
Long-term recovery requires focus, dedication to change, and the ability to cope with daily stressors. After all, treatment programs capable of accommodating co-occurring conditions can give you access to a range of useful therapeutic tools, including:
- Holistic alternative treatments
- Trauma therapy
- Essential skill development
- Peer support
- Experiential therapy
Some people attend multiple types of therapy sessions throughout the week to address independent disorders. Nevertheless, other people may be given treatment plans that include integrative techniques addressing all active conditions in a single session. The clinicians at Twilight Recovery Center collaborate with clients to determine how best to incorporate treatment for co-occurring disorders.
Risk Factors for Dual Diagnosis
Anyone can have a dual diagnosis. However, certain factors increase the risk of substance use or mental health disorders. You are more likely to experience mental and emotional issues if you meet some or all of the following criteria:
- Have a family history of SUD or severe mental illness
- Experience chronic stress
- Socially isolate from others
- Live with toxic family dynamics
- Have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event
- Live with chronic illness or pain
Risk factors do not indicate that someone will be diagnosed with a mental health disorder or SUD. However, the likelihood does increase substantially. In other words, individuals with close family members who have been diagnosed with SUD or other issues have an even higher likelihood of developing co-occurring issues.
Signs of Dual Diagnosis
Without a doubt, it is essential that people with SUD know how to recognize changes in their mood, behavior, and physical health. Certainly, any unexpected or unusual changes could indicate an undiagnosed co-occurring disorder. Some of the signs of possible dual diagnosis include:
- Memory issues and difficulty focusing
- Unexplained changes to sleep or eating patterns
- Unusual isolation and withdrawal from social groups
- Out-of-character risk-taking behaviors
- Mood changes, including unusual aggression
- Anger or physical violence out of proportion to the situation
- Extreme anxiety, depression, or worry
- Suicidal ideation
- Difficulty keeping up with professional and personal responsibilities
- Unexplained changes to energy levels
- Extreme mood shifts over a short period of time
- Changes in personal hygiene
Some people have no outward indications of mental health disorders until they reach a critical point. Knowing what to look for and how to get support in a crisis can make it easier to cope with undiagnosed co-occurring conditions.
Treatment Options for Co-Occurring Disorders
Many treatment options exist for dual diagnoses. However, most people end up using multiple therapeutic techniques and modalities. They work to find the right combination to help them avoid, eliminate, or cope with the symptoms and side effects of mental health disorders. With this in mind, treatments offered at Twilight Recovery Center include:
- Adventure therapy
- Activity therapy
- Anger management
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Art therapy
- Equine therapy
- Play therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)
- Motivational interviewing (MI)
- Exposure and response prevention
- Massage therapy
- Energy healing
- Music therapy
- Crystal therapy
Personalized Treatment Plan
During dual diagnosis treatment, the Twilight Recovery Center clinical team will create a personalized treatment plan. Above all, we respect the personal, cultural, and religious preferences of our guests. We give them as individualized a treatment plan as possible. Dual diagnosis can significantly affect long-term recovery if the symptoms are left untreated. We help our clients build a toolbox of essential coping skills during rehabilitation. They can use this skills when they transition out of residential treatment.