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Dual Diagnosis / Co-Occurring Treatment in Washington State

Often individuals find themselves suffering from substance abuse in addition to mental illness. Treating both the addiction and the mental health disorder at the same time increases the chance for a healthy and productive life that is substance-free. Treating both illnesses is a vital part of the path of recovery. Dual diagnosis treatment is available for anyone seeking assistance in managing addiction along with a mental health disorder. If you or a loved one is struggling to manage addiction, here at Free by the Sea, we have treatment options that can make the struggle easier.

We are located in the State of Washington, serving the Nation, based in the Pacific Northwest.

What is Dual Diagnosis/Co-Occurring Treatment?

Dual diagnosis occurs when an addiction to drugs or alcohol is accompanied by a mental or emotional disorder, as some mental and emotional disorders can hinder a successful recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Thus, seeking help for the disorder is vital to the person for overcoming the addiction. 

When it comes to substance abuse, we use support groups to aid in treating co-occurring disorders. 

Here are some mental illnesses commonly found dual diagnosis struggles:

What is Dual Diagnosis

  • Attention Disorders – Those who suffer from attention disorders, such as ADD, in combination with addiction can find the hope they need here at Free by the Sea.
  • ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – There is a firm connection between chemical dependence and ADHD. There is a significant link between ADHD and teens drinking alcohol and/or abusing drugs. ADHD drugs can be detrimental to the addiction recovery process. The medicines prescribed for ADHD can be addictive. These medicines, like Adderall and Ritalin, have a high-risk factor for abuse. This dual diagnosis needs an approach that uses multiple therapies. 
  • Depression – There are some instances where giving up the substance being abused can make the depression worse. In these cases, sobriety brings out the depression to be more prevalent. Getting sober after using alcohol as a crutch can exacerbate the patient’s depression. This is when psychotherapies are needed to help the patients recover from depression and from addiction simultaneously. Doing this on your own is never possible, as anybody struggling with an addiction needs the help of a licensed professional. 
  • Anxiety – Anxiety can be debilitating. People with anxiety or panic disorders will sometimes use substance abuse as a crutch. Although to the individual it may fix the problem, it is only a temporary solution. Substance abuse is not a fix for people suffering from anxiety. Anxiety is a mental health issue disorder, but it does manifest in physical ways. Adding therapy solutions to help both anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders can help the patient recover from both. 
  • PTSD / Trauma – Post-traumatic stress disorder is when an individual experiences a traumatic episode and experiences severe anxiety from that traumatic ordeal. In order to cope, some individuals turn to substance abuse to take away the pain of a traumatic experience. People with post-traumatic stress disorder are more than 10 times likely to abuse narcotics and alcohol. People in the military or work in an ER or were sexually abused are people who would develop the disorder of post-traumatic stress. Therapy for the traumatic experience in conjunction with all the therapies for addiction can help the person on their journey to sobriety and to proper mental health.
  • Stress – Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives. Stress disorder is a little bit different; it is severe stress that is either from a traumatic experience or a compilation of events that happen within a particular amount of time. Having a therapist or counselor help individuals with life’s coping skills and alternative therapies to help stress is a way to start the recovery process. In addition, therapy for addiction can help people with their addiction and stress disorder.
  • Codependency – One-fourth of the population that have mental disorders also suffer from substance abuse. Codependency is relying on drugs and alcohol and another person in a relationship with you to keep everything together. Therapists can help break the codependency and show the individual how to have a healthy relationship. This healthy attitude and change in life skills can help in the sobriety journey.
  • Mood Disorders – Dual diagnosis of mood disorders and substance abuse is common in our present era. Emotional instability, along with substance abuse, can make recovery more difficult. An individual may need a psychologist trained in this area of specialty of psychotherapy.
  • Bipolar Disorders – The dual diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and substance abuse is difficult but not impossible to treat. The manic episodes of severe depressions, along with the extreme highs of Bipolar Disorder, need to be addressed with the therapist or counselor along with the substance abuse protocol.
  • Personality Disorders, make a person develop a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, behaving, and overall functioning. If you combine a personality disorder with substance abuse, it can exacerbate those thoughts and behaviors. Thankfully this dual diagnosis is treated here at Free by the Sea. 
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – Sadly, obsessive-compulsive disorder often co-occurs with substance abuse. Those who suffer from these co-occurring disorders should consider getting treatment through a dual diagnosis program.
  • Schizophrenia – This is a rare mental health disorder that sometimes co-occurs with drug and alcohol abuse. Those who suffer from schizophrenia and addiction should seek treatment that addresses their mental health needs in addition to their substance use disorder.

Dual Diagnosis / Co-occurring Treatment Services Offered

  • Psychological Services – Psychological services are services related to psychological therapy. Psychological therapy is another term for talk therapy. Talk therapy is a therapy that is used to help with mental health disorders and addictions. A psychologist does not get a medical degree. They receive a doctoral degree in psychology.
  • Psychiatric Services – Psychiatric services use therapy and medications to help with mental health disorders and addictions. A psychiatrist has the same medical training as any other medical physician. After the psychiatrist receives their medical doctrine, they then go another four years specializing in psychiatric mental health and specialize in a plethora of specialized fields. Another difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that a psychiatrist is authorized to prescribe medications.
  • Crisis Intervention – Crisis intervention is intervening in a crisis situation and learning to manage and prevent disruptive behavior that can be found when a person abuses drugs and/or alcohol. 
  • Medically Managed Services – Medically managed services are where the patient’s health is managed by a physician and/or medical staff. In this setting, patients are either in a hospital or in a recovery center where their health can be monitored by a medical professional. Medical staff also administered the medications needed by these patients.

Types of Therapy Used for Dual Diagnosis

  • CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a common psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. This type of therapy helps the individual become aware of negative behavior and inaccurate thinking. Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, can be used in conjunction with other types of therapies. CBT is often used in a multiple of different disorders. CBT can help the counselor quickly identify problems, and then they can teach individuals how to cope with some of life’s challenges. This type of therapy can help individuals better manage stressful situations and help to teach individuals to manage life skills more effectively.
  • DBT- Dialectical Behavior Therapy, also known as DBT, is a type of therapy where a therapist teaches new skills to cope with hurtful and traumatic emotions. The first step in dialectical behavior therapy is to have the patient mindfully focus on being in the present. The second step is to teach the individual to tolerate negative emotions instead of discarding the emotion. The next step is to regulate their emotions. The last step is to teach individuals to strengthen their relationships in a respectful and assertive way. The original diagnosis to treat a condition using DBT was for borderline personality disorder. 
  • EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, also known as EMDR, is a new type of psychotherapy. This type of therapy does not use prescriptions, nor does it use psychotherapy. This type of therapy uses eye movement in a rapid and rhythmic way. This type of therapy is thought to lessen the power of traumatic memories. These sessions usually last up to an hour and a half. This therapy is often used with patients who have post-traumatic stress disorders.

How Common is Dual Diagnosis (Co-occurring Disorders)?

Dual diagnosis treatment is relatively common. It is estimated that a little over 9 million adults in the United States have treatment for dual diagnosis. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, over 50% of people seeking treatment for drug abuse also receive treatment for an underlying mental or emotional disorder. However, nearly 40% of people with alcohol addiction suffer from an underlying disorder. Nearly 30% of people seeking treatment for a mental disorder also suffer from addiction to one or more substances.

What Symptoms do People with Co-Occurring Disorders Experience?

The symptoms present in those individuals with a dual diagnosis can vary significantly from person to person, as every persons’ body reacts differently from one another. For instance, a person with an anxiety disorder may experience panic attacks, overwhelming fear, or irritation as a result of their disorder. However, a person with depression may lack energy, lose interest in activities, and experience hopelessness.

Other common disorders treated along with drug or alcohol addiction include obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, along with some types of personality disorders and mood disorders. Using and withdrawing from drugs and alcohol can also cause behavioral changes in some individuals. For instance, a person who abuses alcohol may experience a loss of inhibition while drinking and may suffer from tremors or other symptoms when withdrawing from alcohol.

Which Develops First, Substance Abuse or Mental Illness?

Some patients develop emotional or mental disorders before using drugs and alcohol, which are often used as a result of self-medicating. Self-medicating is when a person relies on drugs or alcohol to relieve the symptoms of an underlying mental or emotional disorder. Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol can quickly lead to a physical addiction to the substance. 

Treating both the disorder and the addiction at the same time is an important aspect of the dual diagnosis treatment process. Drug or alcohol abuse can also trigger mental or emotional disorders, oftentimes making them worse than what they were before addiction began. 

Mental and emotional disorders that become evident while using drugs or alcohol are treated in the same manner as disorders that were present before the addiction. Those who begin using drugs or alcohol before adulthood are more susceptible to developing a mental disorder.  Drugs and alcohol can interfere with the normal development of the brain and hinder growth towards mental stability and emotional health.

Substance abuse can reduce the ability to develop mature emotional responses. For instance, consistent drug use can reduce the ability to control emotional responses to stress, causing feelings such as rage or depression in response to minor events.

Don’t Wait, Contact Our Team Today!

Free by the Sea, located in the State of Washington, offers dual diagnosis treatment programs that can help you overcome addiction while coping with a mental or emotional disorder.

Addiction doesn’t have to control your life. Finding the right treatment program can make a difference that leads you or your loved one to a successful recovery. You can find help for addiction by contacting Free by the Sea today. We can help you find the best-suited program and be the guiding light in you or a loved one’s life. Sobriety is in your future, made possible by us here at Free by the Sea.

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