Profound feelings of despondency, failure in work, insomnia, insensibility to one’s surroundings and digestive disorders are some of the most common symptoms of depression, which can unleash havoc in any individual’s life. Lack of timely medical intervention could push anyone struggling with chronic depression to self-medicate their agonies. Sadly, in a bid to run away from their despicable state of mind, most victims often resort to drugs or alcohol that further exacerbates the existing misery.
Such was the case of 21-year-old Jamie (name changed) of Anaheim, who grappled with low self-worth and confidence since his early age. He was one of those introverts who never felt at home in his own skin. His doctor prescribed him Adderall for attention deficit disorder. But by the time he made it to the eighth grade, Jamie was into heavy drinking and had experimented with marijuana. As time flew, he even tried his hands on cocaine. Snorting more than a couple of lines each day would trigger a feeling that gave Jamie the much-needed energy to cope with cognitive challenges of his life.
One or two lines of cocaine might temporarily numb some symptoms of depression, while inducing feel-good sensations, but the resulting backlash when the effect of the drug wears off from the mind is bound to aggravate one’s depression woes. In the midst of progressive addiction, Jamie’s overall condition further deteriorated when his girlfriend deserted him for another man. Besides, another shocker came when he was disqualified from the university soccer championship because of his poor grades. All this pushed him to overdose on cocaine, and end up in the emergency room.
Jamie is not alone in his daily battle with chronic comorbidity. Millions of Americans are suffering from both mental health and substance use disorders. According to a 2016 report of SAMHSA, an estimated 8.2 million adults in the United States had co-occurring disorders in the past year. Sadly, a vast majority of dual diagnosis victims fail to seek any kind of treatment for either disorder due to lack of knowledge or the stigma associated with the condition.
In fact, the majority of victims afflicted with any form of mental ailments find themselves pushed toward self-medication, which may include drug and/or alcohol use. Under the effect of such substances, they experience reduced levels of anxiety and depression, but once the effect fades off, their mental woes return with full force than ever before. The outcome is devastating, leaving the victims trapped in a grim cycle of mental disorder and addiction.
Treating co-existing disorders
Nowadays, integrated intervention is the most widely accepted method to treat co-existing disorders because it emphasizes on equal care for both the mental disorder and substance abuse. Some important steps followed in treating dual diagnosis are mentioned below:
- Detoxification: Being the first important step, a patient is monitored 24/7 by trained medical staff for up to seven days, wherein tapering amounts of the drug or its medical substitute may be administered to smoothen the consequences of withdrawal.
- Inpatient rehabilitation: Patients battling chronic mental health conditions and risky patterns of drug abuse are usually admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation center for an inclusive and strictly monitored 24/7 medical care to address the underlying issues.
- Medications: Depending on the different symptoms of mental health problems manifested by patients, doctors prescribe appropriate medications to facilitate a hassle-free recovery with minimal withdrawal effects.
- Psychotherapy: It educates patients about their mental health conditions and drug addiction, and how their thought processes, beliefs and actions impact their daily lives.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): It helps people with dual diagnosis learn new coping skills to weed out destructive thinking patterns and replace them with constructive ones.
- Self-help and support groups: It is a platform for like-minded individuals to vent out their frustrations, share their experiences and successes, seek referrals for specialists and promote safe recovery.
Breaking free from clutches of dual diagnosis
More and more mentally ill people are turning to drug abuse for relief, making them vulnerable to acts of violence, including suicide. Therefore, an integrated intervention approach is considered the most effective method for dual diagnosis, wherein patients are treated for both mental illness and drug addiction.
Sovereign Health offers a variety of customized treatments for dual diagnosis in California to address the underlying causes of the ailments and prescribe tailor-made therapies based on each patient’s requirements. Additionally, patients can also opt for alternative therapeutic activities to embark on the journey to wellness. If you or your loved one is grappling with dual diagnosis, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with a representative to avail the facilities of one of our residential dual diagnosis treatment centers in California.
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