Dual Diagnosis: How to Manage My Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

April 24, 2023

Written By: Buena Vista Recovery

When people hear that they have a dual diagnosis, it can feel intimidating and hopeless. They might even feel a little crazy, but that is not true. It is normal to experience both mental health disorders and addiction separately. However, it can be especially challenging to manage both at once. If you are someone who has been told they have a dual diagnosis, it is important to find a facility that can help with both your mental health and addiction treatment. 

What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis is a phrase used when someone has a mental health condition along with substance use disorder (SUD). And unfortunately, it is all too common that those who have a dual diagnosis do not get the proper treatment for their combination of diagnoses. 

People who struggle with mental health conditions are more likely to dabble in substances, resulting in SUD, than those who don’t. At the same time, those with substance use problems are more likely to have a mental health condition than those that don’t

Why Do People Have Co-occurring Disorders?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that about half of those struggling with addiction also have a mental health condition. Additionally, only about ten percent of people without a mental health disorder have an addiction to drugs or alcohol. That means about 50% of people with untreated mental health disorders will turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. 

People who have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety may decide to try drugs as a way of self-medicating the distressing symptoms they are feeling from their mental health. Youth and young adults who are feeling depression or anxiety or have another mental health disorder are more likely to experiment with drugs because they are sad or anxious all the time. The drugs make them feel better temporarily. 

People with unpredictable behavior because of their poor mental health, like those with schizophrenia and who take medications to manage it, are actually less likely to use drugs. However, if, at any point, they stop taking the antipsychotic medications that are prescribed abruptly, it can be caused them to start experimenting with drugs to manage their symptoms. That is why patients who are trying to get off their antipsychotic medications are told to slowly reduce their dosage and wean off of them. Always follow your doctor’s instructions when it comes to mental health medications to keep you safe.

How Does a Dual Diagnosis Affect My Addiction Treatment and Recovery?

If you have found out that you have a dual diagnosis, it can be hard to figure out where to begin with getting help. You might feel overwhelmed by the options that are available to you. Or perhaps you’re unsure of what option is best fit for your needs. The first step would be to find facilities that offer services for dual-diagnosis patients. Finding a good facility could make your break your recovery and self-esteem as you go through treatment. 

Once you have found a facility that you think might be the right fit for you, it is important to reach out and contact them right away. Sitting down and talking to people right away about the best treatment plan for you is crucial. Try to start therapy as soon as you can to start assessing some of the deeper issues that may be affecting you. Not only do you have a substance use issue, but you also have a mental health disorder that will need to be treated. 

So the bottom line is that having a dual diagnosis just means you have to find the right facility and be willing to put in the work to get better. This won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

How Do I Know if I Am Ready for Addiction Treatment?

This might be one of the hardest things for you and your loved ones around you to figure out. How do you know that you are ready for treatment? The first sign to show that you are ready for treatment is that you are here reading this. And you are ready to change. 

If you aren’t ready to change, it is hard to predict if the outcome would be successful. You should be motivated to work on your recovery and willing to try and put in the work to get better. If you are willing to look at your options and make decisions about what types of treatment and therapy would be best to get you into recovery, then you are ready. 

Here at Buena Vista Recovery, we want to sit and talk with you. About your struggles and failures, and also your wins and happiness. We want to make an individualized treatment plan for you with your family by your side, cheering you on. Let us take the time to get to the bottom of your mental health and your SUD. To make sure you are receiving the best care possible. That way, we can help you through the first steps of your journey to a full life of recovery. 

Getting a dual diagnosis can be intimidating as it holds a lot of unknowns. But please don’t be scared or nervous. Many people have been in your shoes before and overcame these obstacles. We have helped thousands of people to accomplish recovery and are now living a sober life and are happy and successful. That can be the case for you when you’re ready too. If you are struggling with a substance use problem or also struggling with mental health, we can help you through this. Our beautiful facilities are comfortable and homey. They provide a physically and mentally safe place for you to get the help you need! For more information, please call (480) 741-9414.