Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Boise, ID (208) 272-9857

A dual diagnosis is made when someone who has a drug or alcohol addiction is also diagnosed with a mental illness. Each illness requires separate treatment, but the treatments should ideally be integrated, since addiction and mental illness are inextricably related in most cases.

To learn more about available facilities options that treat this disorder contact Boise Drug Treatment Centers at (208) 272-9857.

Mental Illnesses Common in Co-Occurring Disorders

Also known as a co-occurring disorder, dual diagnosis is far more common than previously believed. A recent study found that half of people who have a serious mental illness and a third of those with any type of mental illness also have a substance addiction. Conversely, half of all people with a drug addiction and a third of those with an alcohol addiction are also diagnosed with a mental illness.

Experts cite two basic reasons for the high prevalence of dual diagnosis. First, many people who have a mental illness use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. Secondly, using drugs and alcohol almost always make an existing mental illness worse and can even cause the onset of a mental illness that didn't exist before.

Anxiety and depression are the two most common mental illnesses that accompany a substance addiction. People who have an anxiety or panic disorder may use drugs or alcohol to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms, such as agitation, stress, and irrational fears. Those with depression may use drugs or alcohol to combat feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and guilt.

However, any type of mental illness can increase the risk of substance abuse.

Common Dual Diagnosis Disorders

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is characterized by obsessive thoughts that cause compulsive behaviors. People with OCD may abuse drugs or alcohol in order to quiet the mind and alleviate compulsions to engage in repetitive or ritualistic behaviors.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, results from being the witness or victim of a traumatic event. Characterized by insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, and general emotional instability, people with PTSD may use drugs or alcohol to help them sleep, prevent dreams, or "forget" the event.
  • Eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating often stem from a negative body image and low self-esteem and are characterized by a self-destructive relationship with food and/or exercise. People who have an eating disorder may abuse drugs or alcohol to suppress the appetite or relieve feelings of worthlessness.

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

The best treatment for co-occurring disorders will take place in a dual diagnosis treatment center, which specializes in treating both the addiction and the mental illness. Treatment through these specialized drug rehab programs is a meaningful collaboration across treatment teams for each illness, and each is treated with the other in mind. The treatments for co-occurring disorders are administered through a three-pronged approach.

  • Pharmacotherapy is the use of medications to help control the symptoms of mental illness and normalize chemical function in the brain.
  • Psychotherapy, or "talk therapy," helps educate patients about the addiction and the mental illness and develop ways to cope with both the mental illness and the triggers and stress that contribute to the abuse of drugs or alcohol.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a cornerstone of treatment and engages patients in the process of evaluating their thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and attitudes surrounding both the addiction and the mental illness, identifying how these affect behavior, and learning to replace destructive thoughts and behaviors with those that are healthy and productive.

Aftercare for Co-Occurring Disorders

A typical relapse prevention plan for co-occurring disorders will address both the addiction and the mental illness through ongoing individual, group, and family therapy as well as continual evaluation of the mental illness and the medications being used to treat it. The aftercare plan may also include vocational rehab to equip patients with the skills they need to find and maintain employment, or a stay in a residential sober living facility to ease the transition from treatment back home.

To learn more about how dual diagnosis treatment centers work contact Boise Drug Treatment Centers at (208) 272-9857.

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