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Dual Diagnosis Treatment in North Carolina

The National Alliance on Mental Health has suggested that as many as a third of people who suffer from a mental disorder also have a substance addiction. This is an incredible statistic that certainly underscores what states like North Carolina are trying to address through evaluation and treatment processes that take patient’s co-existing disorders into account. Dual diagnosis treatment in North Carolina can be managed, of course, but simultaneous treatment is the key to helping people effectively manage both conditions in order to lead lives of improved health and enhanced well-being. If you believe you may have a mental illness and an addiction, dual diagnosis treatment in North Carolina can help. 


What is a Dual Diagnosis?

With almost nine million people in the US affected by concurrent disorders, treatment centers have revamped their protocol in order to successfully treat these conditions together for best results. A dual diagnosis refers to the presence of two conditions: a mental disorder and an addiction. These conditions, while separate and distinct, also influence one another and may have even been caused by the other. Addiction specialists note that sometimes addiction sufferers actually “give” themselves a mental disorder through the chronic abuse of drugs or alcohol. These substances can destroy gray and white matter and cause alterations in the brain that lead to the development of a mental health issue like depression, acute anxiety, or even psychosis. 

On the other hand, sometimes a mental disorder precedes the addiction. Addiction develops when the mental health sufferer begins to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol in order to find relief from their symptoms. Developing a pattern of substance abuse paves the way to full-blown addiction.


Types of Co-Existing Disorders

People with concurrent disorders can present with just about any combination of addiction and mental disorder; however, many of these conditions seem to walk hand in hand. Dual diagnosis treatment in North Carolina offers certain combinations present more than others. For instance, people who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often suffer from an addiction to painkillers that contain opiates. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for people with depression or anxiety to also suffer from alcoholism. Whatever the combination, though, it’s important for patients to be evaluated by certified healthcare professionals who can provide an accurate diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, optimum treatments may begin.


Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

Many drug treatment centers in North Carolina are equipped to help patients suffering from co-existing disorders. Upon entering a rehab facility or addiction treatment center, patients will be assessed and diagnosed. Then, medical caregivers can recommend a course of treatment that is tailored to the patient’s needs. Sometimes treatment begins with medication to treat the mental disorder. Then, patients will undergo the medical detox process, which addresses the physical dependency of the addiction. During detox, staff can treat the withdrawal symptoms that occur I order to make people feel as comfortable as possible. This part of treatment can take anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks 

After detox, subsequent therapies can begin. These treatments target the mental illness as well as the psychological and behavioral dependencies associated with the addiction. Evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapy often generate positive results among dual diagnosis sufferers. In some cases, family therapy or alternative forms of addiction therapy (i.e. art therapy, music therapy, or restorative yoga) may also be tried. After intensive addiction therapy is complete, aftercare programs and regular check-ins with healthcare providers for the management of the mental illness are ideal for providing the recovering individual with continued support, which may be needed, in some cases, indefinitely. 


Seek Treatment Now

Dual diagnosis is serious and should not be ignored. If you think you may be suffering with co-existing disorders, it’s imperative to seek treatment right away.