So you’ve gone through rehab and you’re ready to begin a new life free from addiction. That’s wonderful! You’ve gone through a difficult period in your life, one that you deserve to never have to experience again. Gaining sobriety is a great moment in anyone’s life.
However, there’s one word that keeps running through your mind every night, giving you nightmares: relapse. This problem plagues many people who are trying to recover from addiction and it is often heavily influenced by underlying mental health disorders.
Thankfully, it’s possible to avoid relapse by turning to dual diagnosis treatment. This incredible treatment option helps address your addictive impulses as well as any mental health problems that may be derailing your life. You deserve to know everything you can about this vital and effective treatment.
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What Is Dual Diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis is a relatively easy process to understand. Basically, it is the simultaneous treatment of mental health disorders and drug addiction. The treatments for these conditions will vary depending on the severity and condition of each. For example, cocaine addiction won’t require the opioid withdrawal treatments necessary for heroin addiction. Likewise, different mental health problems will require specific and fine-tuned treatments. People who suffer from severe depression receive no benefits from medications designed to treat psychotic mentalities. That’s why it’s important to diagnose your mental health disorder as soon as possible.
Typical mental health problems that contribute to addiction include depression, social anxiety, borderline personality disorder, anti-social disorder, and more.
Diagnosing your condition should be relatively easy. For example, if you have trouble getting out of bed, cry a lot, have suicidal thoughts, or use drugs to feel better about life, you likely suffer from depression. However, if you have high levels of energy, an unfocused mind, and an inability to form long-lasting personal relationships, you might have a borderline personality disorder.
The difference is crucial. People with depression usually use drugs to feel better about life, while people with borderline personality disorder are compulsive and often use just to try something new. Depression can be treated with medication, while borderline personality disorder must be treated with behavioral adjustments.
How Does It Help Avoid Relapse?
When you relapse, you are typically responding to addiction triggers that forced you to use in the past. Many of these triggers will be associated with the mental health disorder that is impacting your life. Self-medication is a sad reality and the vast majority of people who use are simply trying to make themselves feel better about their lives.
Now, imagine the impact untreated depression symptoms will have on your desire to use. The withdrawal pain of quitting drugs combined with the negative mental impact will leave you desperate for relief. As a result, you may quickly turn back to drugs in order to feel a sense of stability. Even though you know it’s not healthy, it’s at least some type of life structure.
Dual diagnosis helps avoid this problem by treating your mental health problem and removing it as an influence on your addiction. It also helps adjust your behaviors to steer you away from falling back into patterns of abuse. Remember, our minds crave structure and will fall back into a routine easily without correction, even if it is negative.
Essentially, dual diagnosis gives you the personal strength that you need to begin a healthy and happy life. You won’t feel the pain of depression or the compulsiveness of borderline personality disorder. Instead, you’ll feel a sense of calm purpose and joy. The idea of using drugs again will go against this happy structure, keeping you safe from relapsing.
What Treatments Are Utilized?
The dual diagnosis uses a variety of techniques to help treat addiction. This diversity of approach helps ensure that people with multiple problems can get the help they need. It also fine-tunes therapy to find the treatment type that works for you. Typically, a dual diagnosis will include multiple instances of these and other treatments:
- Withdrawal therapy – weans you off of your substance in a healthy manner and uses replacement medicines to minimize dangerous reactions
- Dietary and medical treatments – helps treat health problems, like malnutrition, that may be plaguing your life and helps teach you how to take better care of your body and mind
- Personal, group, or family therapy – get to the roots of your mental health problems and traces how they influence your addiction
- Talk therapy – helps you to learn how to cope with symptoms of depression and mania
Cognitive-behavioral therapy – teaches you new coping mechanisms for mastering your mental health problems and beating back cravings
- Dialectical behavioral therapy – specifically designed for people with a borderline personality disorder
12-Step programs – gives you a structured and thoughtful guide for regaining your sobriety
- Holistic treatments – alternative treatments, such as meditation, acupuncture, yoga, and spiritual discussions help treat you as a whole person, including your body, mind, and spirit
- Aftercare – drug education classes, job placement, and halfway houses are designed to get you back on your feet and to teach you how to live a new life outside of rehab that is free of the pressures of drug use
You and your addiction specialist will work together to find the treatment that will fully address your addiction and mental health problems. There’s nothing quite like taking your care into your own hands and working to regain a life that is happy and far from of the influence of drugs.
A growing number of drug rehab centers are turning to dual diagnosis treatment as a means of treating addiction and ensuring that sobriety lasts the rest of your life. At Vertava Health MS, we help people work through their mental health symptoms during treatment to give patients their greatest chance of finding lasting recovery.