Addiction and mental illness go hand in hand and such a situation is recognized by top dual diagnosis treatment centers. There is an alternative cause and effect with dual diagnosis. Sometimes, mental illness leads to drug addiction, other times, extended drug use causes mental illness. Cause and effect aren’t relevant to treatment as a professional counselor will diagnose both conditions and treat them according to what individual circumstances determine to be best.
The Relationship of Addiction and Mental Disease
The first thing to recognize before a discussion about mental illness is that a mental disease is not what is portrayed by movies and television. Mental illness does not mean someone is a screaming lunatic in the Gotham City Asylum, nor does it mean someone is a psychopathic serial killer.
Mental illness on a regular basis is attention deficit, compulsive behavior, or the ordinary paranoia felt by someone who has social anxiety. These are normal feelings most people experience but become debilitating for some people who feel them more intensely. Because the disorder is such a mild condition, people who experience it tend to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, then become addicted.
On the other hand, overuse of social and experimental drugs can cause the mental diseases of ADD, OCD, paranoia, or in extreme cases, schizophrenia.
Detox and Withdrawal
Regardless of whether mental illness led to drug abuse or drug abuse developed a mental illness, top dual diagnosis treatment centers will treat both conditions. Treatment always starts with drug and alcohol detox, and that is painful. There are medications and treatments which can make it more comfortable, but it still hurts to go through detox and symptoms continue in the early stages of treatment while withdrawal symptoms persist.
Therapy for Mental Illness
Every case of drug addiction is different and requires a specialized plan of treatment for each patient, and every case of mental illness whether mild or aggravated needs the same personal attention. In some cases, medication may be required. With today’s technology, it is a rather simple process to balance brain chemistry which is abnormal, but it is much harder to describe appropriate behavior to somebody who has had a chemical imbalance throughout their life before being diagnosed. Therapy and counseling are an absolute must when prescribing medications, in order for the patient to learn how to use their newly found reasonable world view.
Simultaneous Addiction Treatment
Drug addiction is a far too common issue among the mentally ill simply because the very illness prevents them from maintaining a proper relationship with a doctor and street drugs solve the problem temporarily. Illicit drugs have undocumented components which in turn leads to an addiction the addict himself isn’t aware of. What is sold “on the street” may be marketed as LSD although it is methamphetamine, or what is sold as heroin is some veterinary medication or cocaine may be mixed with a less expensive drug which also causes excitement; the final realization is that there is no cure for an immediate drug addiction. There has to be ongoing treatment for the physical ailments caused by drug abuse, and there has to be mental health therapy for the addict to recover from the strain the drugs have caused.
The Delicate Ongoing Recovery
The bottom line is that extended recovery requires extended work. The addict has to work toward maintaining their sobriety, and the counselor has to work to keep pace with the addict’s needs. Sometimes a mental illness can be treated with medication, other times it needs a therapist. Ultimately, every case is different just as every person is a different human being. Dual diagnosis treatment begins with the understanding of immediate problems and progresses toward a sustainable solution.
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