Many people don’t realize just how common co-occurring disorders of addiction and mental health actually are. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “7.7 million adults have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders…. Of the 20.3 million adults with substance use disorders, 37.9% also had mental illnesses.” The NIDA also states, “Among the 42.1 million adults with mental illness, 18.2% also had substance use disorders.” However, while significant, these statistics don’t represent the whole picture, as many people never receive a proper diagnosis. This also makes managing your dual diagnosis much more difficult.
What Exactly Is a Dual Diagnosis?
Now, dual diagnosis is slightly different than merely having co-occurring disorders of mental illness and addiction. A dual diagnosis is when those co-occurring disorders are brought to light (hence, “diagnosis”).
This is more difficult than one might realize because certain disorders often have similar symptoms and side effects, which results in one disorder masking the other. For example, someone struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and an anxiety disorder may not receive a proper dual diagnosis because people with AUD often exhibit significant anxiety symptoms.
The issue with being “under-diagnosed” is that it delays managing your dual diagnosis. This is why getting the right diagnosis right away can be so crucial.
Getting the Right Diagnosis Right Away
Receiving the right dual diagnosis early is vital because it ensures that both issues can be addressed as soon as possible. This is important because if both disorders are not treated at the same time, there is a good chance that neither disorder will truly be resolved.
Referencing back to the example of someone with AUD and an anxiety disorder: If one of the disorders is not detected, then there is a good chance that that undiagnosed disorder will trigger the treated one. For example, if the individual is only being treated for their AUD, their untreated anxiety disorder may become overwhelming and lead them to self-medicate as a “solution.” The same is true with someone who is not diagnosed with AUD. One’s AUD can easily trigger more serious symptoms of anxiety. Also, drinking can be even more dangerous if anti-anxiety medications are involved.
Managing Your Dual Diagnosis
The good news is that when a proper dual diagnosis is made, managing your dual diagnosis does not need to be that complicated. Many of the therapies used for one disorder are also used for others. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be used as a way to treat both addiction disorders and issues of mental illness.
Managing your dual diagnosis is also much easier when you know what you are dealing with. If you know that you have two disorders that exacerbate each other, it becomes more straightforward what to do about each. For example, you may need to go to community recovery meetings for one disorder and group therapy for another. In doing so, you now know that you are keeping both comorbidities in check rather than fearing a mental health or addiction relapse.
Managing Your Dual Diagnosis in Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is an ideal place to recover. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, overlooking the Colorado River, it is a perfect place to reconnect with nature while also reconnecting with one’s true self.
Glenwood Springs also has a vibrant and well-established recovery community that is perfect for connecting with other people who have had shared experiences of active addiction and successful treatment. It also has some of the best specialists in the country who can help with issues regarding mental illness and dual diagnosis. This makes Glenwood Springs not just an ideal place for treatment, but also a great place to settle down for long-term recovery.
The Importance of Comprehensive Care at The Redpoint Center
Here at The Redpoint Center, we understand the importance of getting the right diagnosis right away. This makes managing your dual diagnosis that much easier both in the short term and down the road. We also know that treating a dual diagnosis takes more than just one form of treatment. It takes individualized and comprehensive addiction and mental health care.
The iconic American author and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” That is our goal here at The Redpoint Center – to help you find the true person you are that addiction and/or mental illness tried to stifle for so long. You have everything you need right inside of you. All you have to do is reach out your hand for help. When you do, ours will be waiting to grab it. You can do this. We can help.
Getting a dual diagnosis can be overwhelming at first, but there are many ways to manage the symptoms of comorbidities. However, this can only happen with a proper diagnosis of co-occurring disorders, which, quite frankly, are often missed. Getting the right diagnosis right away is pivotal. If you feel like you or someone you love is struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or co-occurring disorders, we can help get you on the right road to recovery. For more information about the benefits of therapy for dual diagnosis, as well as why it is important to treat all co-occurring disorders as soon as possible, and concurrently, please reach out to The Redpoint Center today at (303) 710-8496.