“When I started opening up with my family, I realized that my father never got the help he needed,” said Dan Blackman who grew up in a small town in northwestern Pennsylvania, where people battling mental disorders or substance use disorders (SUDs) had little or no recourse to professional support and treatment options. Everybody from Blackman’s neighborhood knew everybody, which was not good for those who wanted to seek help for addiction or mental ailments.
In such a close-knit community, asking for help was viewed as either a sign of weakness or a moral flaw. Moreover, it was considered unmanly for a man to seek help for addiction or even openly admit to mental health challenges. In such an unfriendly environment, Blackman’s father, who was addicted to alcohol, could not muster the courage to come forward and ask for the much-needed help. Ultimately, ignorance, shame and stigma, associated with mental illness and addiction led to his death.
The unfortunate experience of his father drove Blackman, along with co-founder Tyler Faux, to develop an innovative peer support app called Huddle. The aim of this video-based app is to help individuals struggling with drug addiction and mental health problems find timely help. The app functions by creating virtual support groups wherein users can interact with other like-minded people over concerns ranging from alcoholism to drug addiction, depression, anxiety and dual diagnosis, and get useful advice and information in total confidentiality. Statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reveal that around 50.5 percent of the 20.2 million adults in the U.S., who had experienced a SUD, also had a co-occurring mental illness.
People addicted to alcohol or drugs never see the addiction coming. It sneaks up on them after a while. Though recreational drinking may get some people addicted, others might get trapped by accident. Besides, those already battling mental health issues, generally self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, which further aggravates their mental health condition.
Dual diagnosis is a common malaise in America
Used to define a condition in which an individual has both an addiction to a substance and a mental disorder simultaneously, dual diagnosis is affecting more and more people in America. Research suggests that either of the two, that is, SUD or mental illness, can appear first. Chronic mental ailments can drive anyone to abuse substances as a means to escape from mental agony but in the long run drugs and alcohol only cause the existing mental disorders to deteriorate. On the other hand, drug abuse is known to affect thoughts and moods negatively and modify behavior and brain chemistry adversely.
Further, men are more vulnerable to dual diagnosis than women. Other people in the high-risk category include individuals from the lower social strata, armed forces veterans, and those with other general medical conditions. Due to a large number of differences in the symptoms, it is essential to recognize the warning signs, such as fluctuating moods, incoherent thought processes, difficulties in concentrating, keeping far from social get-togethers and friends, suicidal feelings, etc., in order to seek immediate professional help.
Integrated intervention is the most preferred method to treat people suffering from dual diagnosis, where both, the particular mental disorder and the addiction is addressed, without neglecting either.
Dual diagnosis can be treated
Dual diagnosis treatment demands routine care from qualified health care professionals and customized therapies to help individuals battling comorbidity avail the benefits of top dual diagnosis treatment centers in California. Patients can choose one-to-one and group psychotherapy, or other time-tested therapeutic solutions to break free from the clutches of co-occurring disorders.
If you or your loved one is struggling with drug addiction in addition to a mental ailment, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our trained medical representatives, to know more about our state-of-the-art dual diagnosis residential treatment centers spread across California and other states of the U.S.