Dual diagnosis: A condition ravaging America’s white collar workers - Sovereign Health Group
Articles / Blog
05-10-17 Category: Dual Diagnosis

The very word “addicts” conjures up images of homeless people who have hit rock bottom and are largely without jobs and money. But, in today’s world of cutthroat competition, the reality is very different. Workplace stress and job pressures often push people to the verge of a mental breakdown or exacerbate an existing psychiatric condition. This often results in the victim attempting to self-medicate or cope with the stress using drugs or alcohol.

In fact, the truth is that co-existing disorders are increasingly affecting people across all sections of society, including those in the white collar sector. Studies show that it is not unusual for people battling dual disorders to continue being functional for a quite some time and effectively camouflaging their addiction until it’s too late. Since the vast majority of mental health problems at the workplace generally go unreported due to the associated stigma and the likelihood of discrimination, the odds of white collar workers struggling with a mental health disorder as well as substance use disorder are sky-high.

It’s half past three in the morning. Tony (name changed), a 29-year-old product manager in Santa Clara, turns back and forth in a vain attempt to get some sleep. Stressed about the forthcoming week, anxious thoughts weigh heavily on his mind. It was an unusually hectic week with a packed schedule and threatening deadlines. An argument with his clients left him irritated and upset. Moreover, due to the unclosed deal, his manager showed no empathy. Adding to his woes, the unexpected quarrel with his girlfriend acted as the last nail in his coffin. He gulps down a few shots of whiskey and pops a Xanax, a tranquilizer, and his eyelids close. He manages to catch some sleep but at a cost. In no time, he ends up getting addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol to combat anxiety.

“It’s been a tough week selling the company’s new product,” says Jonathan (name changed), a 27-year-old sales professional at a San Francisco-based manufacturing firm, taking a large hit of weed as he attempts to blow out a single ring of smoke in his friend’s apartment. “I don’t call myself a medicinal marijuana patient, rather, I believe I’m a white-collar recreational drug user,” he says heaving a sigh of relief. “That’s how I unwind or else I can’t take it”. Over time, prolonged pressure from his superiors to achieve targets stir fear and agitation in his mind resulting in lengthy periods of feeling more than blue. In a bid to live up to their expectations, his occasional stints with marijuana finally lead him to other hard drugs as a coping mechanism.

“It helps me calm the tempest within,” claims Petula (name changed), a 23-year-old model based in Cupertino who occasionally snorts cocaine to deal with the pressures of the ruthless glamor industry. “It’s great to feel lighthearted, especially when your head spins with heaviness waiting to be picked from an assemblage of girls moving their bodies in provocative and enlivened ways,” she exclaims, speaking of the challenges in her life. In no time, cocaine became her way of life, the only means to cope with the constant objectification, high levels of scrutiny and negative commentary, pushing her to full-blown addiction.

Tony, Jonathan and Petula are three of the innumerable number of Americans who spend the bulk of their waking lives at work, increasing the need for a healthy work environment which protects and promotes mental health for the benefit of the individual, organization and community at large. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 10.2 million or more than 50 percent had a co-occurring mental illness.

Is dual diagnosis a common occurrence?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), indicates that those who suffer from mental disorders may attempt to self-medicate their symptoms via drug use. Although, drugs may lessen their anxiety, depression or neuroses temporarily, later the effects wear off and the symptoms of their mental health issue return stronger than they were before.

Men are particularly more vulnerable to develop a coexisting disorder than women. Also, people who face a significantly high risk include individuals from lower social and economic groups, veterans from the armed forces and those with more general medical illnesses. Experts in psychology and mental health are painstakingly studying the different ways in which substance abuse and mental disorders may share common risk factors that encourage such an undesirable coexisting condition.

There is no doubt that genes and other hereditary factors may put individuals at risk of addiction and mental health-related problems, besides there is a great possibility that some of these genetic factors may overlap. Nevertheless, overlapping susceptibilities might indicate that some people are more prone to developing multiple disorders.

Additionally, brain function could also make someone liable to dual disorders, in case their reward and stress functions, which are strongly linked to addiction, suffers any impairment. It is a proven fact that those suffering from schizophrenia, and those who are addicted to drugs have impaired reward pathways with intensified dopamine activity. The pleasures surrounding daily activities in life are far less impactful as compared to the addictive reward of drugs. Finally, a combination of an individual’s environmental and developmental factors such as trauma, other stress-causing elements, past history of drug use or any mental health issues also play a vital role in heightening the risk of developing multiple problems.

Thankfully, dual diagnosis is a treatable condition

Today, a white collar stressed-out American drug user, who also battles mood disorders, no longer fits into racial stereotypes. While some individuals may openly admit their drug use to douse the inexplicable tensions and unreasonable pressures of work life, most adult drug users opt to borrowing a well-known term, popularized by former U.S. President Richard Nixon in one of his speeches, the “silent majority.”

Mental health and substance abuse often bump into each other at a very complex juncture because people are unaware that they are abusing substances to escape from the worrisome reality looming over their heads. On the surface, they might appear very distinct but in reality they feed on each other and often victims find themselves sucked into the whirlpool of dual diagnosis without any clue of what is happening. A careful assessment is needed to establish the existence of both disorders. The need of the hour is regular care from trained physicians and customized therapies to help a comorbid patient avail the benefits of top dual diagnosis treatment centers in California.

Sovereign Health offers a variety of customized dual diagnosis treatment options at its residential treatment centers to treat the person holistically. These programs are specifically designed to help addicts recover from the dual conditions through integrated interventions after a rigorous examination of the underlying health conditions. Patients can opt for individual and group psychotherapy, or alternative therapeutic activities to regain control of their lives.

If you or your loved one is suffering from dual diagnosis, it is imperative to take the necessary medical help before matters go out of control. For more information on dual diagnosis or the best dual diagnosis treatment options closest to the Los Angeles area, get in touch with us. Call at our 24/7 helpline or chat online to know about the causes of dual diagnosis and most effective dual diagnosis treatment programs in the vicinity of Los Angeles. We have facilities in all major places in the country. Our dual diagnosis residential treatment centers in California are among the best in the nation.

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