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Dual Diagnosis: Treatment In Florida For Co-Occurring Disorders
Are You or a Loved One Struggling with Addiction and Mental Illness Simultaneously?
When someone has both a substance abuse problem and a mental health disorder such as anxiety, bipolar disorder or depression, it is called a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. People who struggle with addiction and suffer from poor mental health experience unique symptoms that can often get in the way of handling daily life and/or relationships.
When the mental health issue does not get treated, the substance abuse tends to worsen.
People dealing with anxiety and depression will turn to substances as a form of self-medication, which can lead to alcohol dependency and/or drug abuse and, ultimately, the need for addiction rehabilitation. Unfortunately, these forms of substance abuse almost always have the opposite effect of what the user intends; rather than numbing the mental anguish they’re experiencing, drug and alcohol abuse very often exacerbate a person’s mental health issues. So begins the cycle of addiction; a constant effort to feel better, yet always feeling worse.
Whether the mental health issues came first, or the addiction, recovery depends on treating both disorders.
To address both substance abuse and mental health disorders, you can turn to the dual diagnosis treatment center at Florida’s Tranquil Shores. Contact our office to learn more about the safe, nurturing environment we’ve created for patients being treated for co-occurring disorders. We can be reached at (727) 888-6623 or by submitting an online form here.
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What Is Dual Diagnosis?
Addiction can be closely associated with other mental illnesses. Sometimes a mental illness becomes the basis for developing an addiction. In other cases, addiction leads to other mental illnesses.
A dual diagnosis is a diagnosis that identifies at least two mental illnesses co-existing. Addiction is often one of the co-occurring mental illnesses.
The following indicators are commonly found among people who suffer from co-occurring mental illnesses. If you are currently struggling with addiction and any of the following apply to your life, it’s time to consider treatment:
- Your Family has a History of Mental Illness and/or Addiction
With a family history of mental illness, you have a higher risk of developing a mental illness yourself. Although there are factors other than genetics, addiction and other mental illnesses tend to run in families.
- You Can’t Remember Your Life Without Drugs or Alcohol
You can’t remember the last time you were happy with your life or you can’t remember a time before you used drugs or alcohol. These are signs that you may be dealing with more than addiction.
- You’ve Experienced Trauma During Your Lifetime, Recently or in the Past
You’ve experienced a trauma in your life. Being part of, or a witness to, a trauma makes you more likely to develop a mental illness. Sometimes addiction is used as an attempt to deal with the trauma and related illness.
- You Relieve Stress or Anxiety with Drugs or Alcohol
You’ve started using drugs or alcohol to relieve symptoms like anxiety or stress. The overwhelming anxiety might have been a symptom of a pre-existing mental illness you did not know about and covered up with addiction.
Your mental health should only be diagnosed by a qualified professional. If you’re struggling with addiction and suspect you also have another mental illness, contact Tranquil Shores. The professionals at our dual diagnosis treatment center in Tampa can help you take action to reclaim your life, starting today.
How Common Is Dual Diagnosis?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 38% of those who experience substance dependence also have mental illness, and about 18% of people with mental illness will develop a disorder with illicit or legal substances. In addition, about 60% of teens receiving treatment for substance abuse also have a mental illness. Sadly, more than 52% of people with co-occurring conditions never receive the care they need. More than half of those with co-occurring disorders who did not receive mental health care cited the cost as the main barrier to treatment, while 38.4% of those with co-occurring substance abuse cited an unwillingness to stop using as the biggest reason for not receiving treatment.
Having both a mental illness and a substance abuse challenge is known as comorbidity. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has found that about 9.5 million Americans in 2019 had both a diagnosed mental illness and a substance abuse disorder. The numbers may be higher when factoring in undiagnosed mental health disorders. More than half of adults with comorbidity are men.
The rates of co-morbidity are even higher for those with serious mental illness, or conditions where a mental disorder is serious enough that it affects a person’s ability to live their life. About one in four people who have this type of mental illness also have a condition involving substance abuse.
The rates of illness and substance abuse can vary. Studies have shown that 43% of people undergoing substance abuse treatment for prescription pain medication abuse also have a mental health disorder, most commonly anxiety or depression.
Co-Occurring Disorders Treated at Tranquil Shores
- Anxiety: Personalized, private, successful treatment for anxiety & addiction.
- Bi-polar disorder: Holistic treatment for bi-polar disorder and substance abuse.
- Depression: Lasting recovery treatment for depression and addiction.
- PTSD: Helping individuals heal from substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Self-injury: Personalized treatment for individuals with thoughts of self-injury and substance abuse.
- Trauma: Holistic treatment for trauma and substance abuse recovery.
Our 3:1 client to counselor ratio ensures every client gets compassionate and attentive care, while our range of therapies allows our team to tailor treatment to suit the client. Our goal is to treat the client, not the addiction, so we use an evidence-based, holistic approach designed to help support each client.
Why Dual Diagnosis Treatment May Be Necessary
Treating addiction and an underlying mental health issue can be complex because the relationship between the two issues may not be fully understood. Addiction becomes intertwined with other mental health issues and they can easily feed off of one another.
For example, if you started drinking to self-medicate so you would not feel the anxiety of PTSD, it would be difficult to stop drinking so long as you suffered from PTSD. You feel like you cannot deal with the PTSD without the alcohol. When you stop drinking, the PTSD seems worse, but when you’re drinking, the alcoholism is intensifying.
Co-occurring mental illnesses are best treated simultaneously to ensure that progress on one does not interfere with treatment of the other. In many cases, however, the underlying mental illness is not immediately evident. Addiction can mask the signs of other mental illnesses or mimic their symptoms.
Co-occurring disorders are often missed and treated as just an addiction. The relapse rate among people with untreated underlying mental health issues is typically much higher than that of people receiving the proper treatment for their conditions.
After several days of detox and careful observation with our expert staff at Tranquil Shores, a dual diagnosis can emerge.
Personalized Treatment for a Dual Diagnosis in Florida
Our personalized treatment programs for co-occurring disorders are designed so that mental health issues don’t go untreated. This includes individual time with qualified professionals who can address both a client’s substance abuse and the underlying mental illness. To ensure our clients get personal treatment, we limit our client-to-counselor ratio. With a case load of only three clients to each counselor, the counselor is able to better understand you as a person.
Each treatment plan is tailored to address your individual concerns and will include:
- Two sessions per week with a counselor
- Visits with psychiatrist and medical staff
- Family therapy to educate family members about the recovery process
- Pharmacogenetics testing
A helpful tool we incorporate into our dual diagnosis treatment is the non-invasive pharmacogenetics test. Also known as drug-gene testing, this procedure helps us discover how your body may respond to certain medications. The genes we inherit from our parents determine many of our physical characteristics, including how our body processes medication.
The pharmacogenetics test provides our team with an idea of which medications will be best suited for that specific client’s DNA makeup and which may cause unwanted side effects. When medications create adverse side effects, this may deter a patient from taking it when needed. Using the results of the pharmacogenetics test, we can better treat any underlying mental illness with the appropriate medication and dosage.
Working Toward a Healthy Discharge Plan
Throughout your time in treatment, you will be meeting with a case manager working on a discharge plan. This is an essential aspect of your treatment as it will help position you for success after you leave the dual diagnosis treatment program.
The discharge plan will include setting up initial visits with an outside therapist or psychiatrist. This will ensure you have a continuum of care after your time at Tranquil Shores.
Once your program is complete, there are free group therapy sessions available to all alumni of Tranquil Shores. Contact us today for more information about our commitment to lasting recovery and post-care treatment: (727) 888-6623.
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Determining if Dual Diagnosis Treatment Is Right for You
Recovery from addiction and other associated mental illnesses is possible with our caring, professional staff at Tranquil Shores. However, before dual diagnosis treatment begins, we need to determine if this is the most effective option. When you arrive, our psychiatrist will perform a thorough initial evaluation. They’ll also conduct follow-up visits as needed. One advantage of choosing Tranquil Shores for your dual diagnosis rehab is the level of involvement from our psychiatrists.
Our psychiatrists at Tranquil Shores do more than oversee medication management. They are actively involved throughout the treatment process. In fact, the communication between our psychiatrists and the rest of the clinical team is a vital piece of our client’s success. Working in tandem, they can determine if there is an underlying mental health diagnosis that needs to be addressed. The next step is working out an individualized treatment plan.
About Accelerated Resolution Therapy
It is not uncommon for people with drug and alcohol addiction to suffer from a secondary diagnosis such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, thoughts of self-harm and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“We see a lot of clients come to us with co-occurring issues and various forms of trauma causing them a great deal of emotional pain and discomfort,” says Dr. Valerie Andersen , Clinical Director and ART therapist, at Tranquil Shores. “We are having great success with these particular clients using Accelerated Resolution Therapy or ART.”
ART is a form of psychotherapy that can be highly successful in 1 to 5 sessions. These sessions use relaxed eye movements and a method called Voluntary Memory/Image Replacement. The goal of the therapy is to change the way bad memories and images are saved in the brain.
“It’s been my experience that many of my clients are free from the triggers of strong emotional or physical reactions of past traumas after only a few sessions,” says Johnson.
Clients at Tranquil Shores have shared their experience with ART, expressing positive and life-altering results. “I’m a skeptic and I was uncertain about ART,” says one Tranquil Shores client. “But I found it to be life-changing. I let go of a lot of old stuff here, old, old stuff. I had felt helpless, but the therapy was empowering!”
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