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Dual Diagnosis

Many people in Mississippi and across the country suffer from substance abuse problems. However, these problems may be compounded by the presence of mental or emotional disorders in the addict. These co-existing disorders present a serious challenge to recovery from drug and alcohol dependency.

Fortunately, rehab centers in Mississippi are staffed with professionals who understand the challenges of dual diagnosis and who are prepared to help patients who have co-existing disorders through the implementation of dual diagnosis recovery programs.


What is Dual Diagnosis?

When a person suffers from an addiction to drugs or alcohol and has a mental or emotional disorder that interacts with his or her addiction, the disorder is known as a co-existing disorder. In some patients, a co-existing disorder can cause or contribute to a drug or alcohol addiction. In others, the addiction itself can aggravate a dormant mental or emotional disorder or create a new disorder within the patient. However, in many cases, the cause-and-effect relationship between the disorder and the addiction is more complex, and the two reinforce each other.

Relationships between Substance Abuse and Mental Disorders

Many mental and emotional disorders affect and are affected by drug and alcohol addiction. It is estimated that around four million Americans suffer from both a substance abuse problem and a mental or emotional condition. The following co-existing disorders are commonly found in rehab patients.

Depression: Patients with depression commonly drink alcohol or abuse drugs in order to escape the emotional pain caused by their condition. Alcoholism is especially prevalent among people with chronic depression.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD causes traumatic flashbacks in its victims and drives many of its sufferers to seek temporary relief through alcohol or drug abuse.

Anxiety: Chronic anxiety causes frequent panic attacks in millions of Americans, and some anxiety sufferers seek relief from the stress of these attacks through drug and alcohol abuse.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD is a condition that causes repetitive and irrational behavior in its sufferers. These behaviors can become very disruptive to the lives of OCD sufferers. If the patient has a severe form of OCD, he may abuse opiates, which temporarily relieve the symptoms of the disease.

Eating disorders: Some eating disorders have complex relationships with drug and alcohol addiction. Anorexia, for example, encourages the abuse of diet pills in order to promote an unhealthy level of weight loss in its sufferers. People with body dysmorphia, or a distorted body self-image, may also resort to drug or alcohol abuse as a way to deal with the chronic depression that often accompanies this mental condition.

Treatment for co-existing disorders

If a patient has a mental or emotional condition that reinforces his addiction, the condition must be treated in order to successfully cure him of his substance abuse habit. The following forms of dual diagnosis therapy are commonly applied in Mississippi rehab centers:

Psychotherapy: This form of one-on-one therapy is designed to identify mental and emotional disorders in the patient and may help rehab staff design a more effective program of drug addiction treatment for the patient with a co-existing disorder.

Psychopharmacology: Specific medications may be prescribed by rehab staff to help the patient control the symptoms of his mental disorder and to facilitate the process of recovery from his addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Behavioral management: Dual diagnosis patients may also benefit from traditional cognitive- behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions, which are designed to help the patient identify the factors in his life that contribute to or cause his drug abuse problem and that can help him learn healthier and more productive ways of coping with those factors.


The Aftercare Process

Once rehab is complete, the patient may be advised to attend aftercare programs in order to avoid a relapse into drug or alcohol abuse. Aftercare programs that are effective and popular include 12-step programs such as Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous and alternative therapy programs such as yoga and music therapy. By continuing his treatment, the patient can successfully maintain his sobriety and live a healthy and productive life.


Find Help for Dual Diagnosis Treatment Today

If you or a loved one are suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, contact a Mississippi drug treatment center to learn more about traditional and dual diagnosis treatment options.