Dual-Diagnosis Treatment: Is It For You?

If you are struggling with drug abuse and/or addiction, there’s a good chance that you are also struggling with your mental health. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with your mind, but it does mean that you may have a chemical imbalance causing depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or any other number of mental illnesses that may lead to drug abuse. And recognizing this is a good thing, because it means you actually have more treatment options!

Don’t worry — you are far from alone. In fact, addiction itself is now recognized as a mental illness, albeit one that often coincides with others. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, approximately 8 million American adults suffer from both a substance use disorder and another mental illness. In fact, they are often called “co-occurring disorders” as a result, and individuals with a mental illness have been found to be more susceptible to addiction in the first place. 

As a result, increasing focus is being placed on “dual-diagnosis treatment“, or rather, treatment that gives priority to both addiction and the mental disorders linked with it. Studies are finding that addiction and drug abuse relapse rates are lower when mental illness is treated in conjunction. While each case is different and your specific needs may vary, dual-diagnosis treatment may nevertheless be just the thing that helps you finally learn to overcome drug abuse and regain control of your life. 

What Exactly Is Dual-Diagnosis Treatment?

Any form of addiction combined with mental illness can be considered for dual-diagnosis treatment. Depression and anxiety disorder remain the most common mental illnesses that can both result in addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc.) and be worsened by ongoing abuse. 

When you enter rehab for dual-diagnosis care, your addiction will usually be addressed first. This is because many addictions can be life-threatening and/or result in serious health risks, but as can stopping drug abuse cold turkey. For your health and safety, it is therefore crucial that the initial stages of treatment (including detox depending on the substances you’re abusing) be under the supervision and guidance of experienced addiction professionals and medical staff. 

Once detox has taken place and the actual drug abuse ends (you are no longer introducing substances into your system), the mental health aspect can be treated. Treatment of depression and other kinds of disorders will primarily consist of one-on-one counseling and group therapy, but the use of medication may be included as well in more severe cases. You will also be able to participate in outings and other activities to help improve your mental health status as a whole and give you a fresh new perspective on life. 

Why Dual-Diagnosis Is Effective

Dual-diagnosis remains effective for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, the goal here is to not simply treat the addiction and get the patient through detox, but to address why the patient began their drug abuse (or other unhealthy activities) in the first place. By doing so, the patient can leave treatment more confident, more complete and better equipped to cope with future challenges. 

Overall, there are many effective reasons to consider dual-diagnosis care:

  • Go beyond just physical symptoms – Regular detox programs only focus on the physical problem, but dual-diagnosis finds the link between the physical dependency and the mental illness that is worsening it. 
  • Longer treatment – Dual-diagnosis typically spans a longer period of time than regular addiction treatment, but this also means the patient can progress at a pace more comfortable to them and will have a lower likelihood of relapse as a result. 
  • Dual-diagnosis teaches coping skills – There is much debate over whether addiction and mental illness can ever fully be cured, but with dual-diagnosis, the patient can get to the root causes of both and learn to recognize their triggers. 
  • Understanding and acceptance of self – Dual-diagnosis patients have the unique opportunity to better understand themselves and how their mind operates. This leads to greater self-acceptance and the ability to take back control of their life. 

Where to Get Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

We offer dual-diagnosis, detox, and drug rehab at Enlight Treatment Center in Moorpark, CA. Our programs are tailored to the individual in order to meet your specific addiction and mental health needs. Once detox is achieved, the focus on overall health (including mental) can begin. As with any advanced dual-diagnosis treatment, the focus here is on improving both addiction and related mental illness, as well as teaching important coping methods that can be used for both long into the future. Long-term recovery is always the ultimate goal. 

If you’re suffering from addiction and/or drug abuse, don’t wait to get in touch with us. The time to regain control of your life is now. Contact us today!

The Sleep Factor

Sleep deprivation is one of nature’s cruelest tricks. Ask an insomniac, a parent of a newborn, or someone with an addiction. It is so much more than that awful feeling of being exhausted yet not able to sleep. It is more than just waking up tired, or even sleeping through an alarm because we didn’t get enough sleep. A lack of sleep leaves us at risk for a number of physical health issues, but also mental health issues. In fact, a lack of sleep is one of the reasons some people begin using substances in the first place. A lack of sleep can also interfere with our recovery, so it is something that truly requires our attention.

Physical Health Risks

So many people have trouble sleeping. Sometimes it is temporary and related to stressors in our lives. Most people go through periods of time with positive or negative stressors which impair their ability to sleep. When it goes beyond a few nights or even up to two weeks, then it becomes more problematic. There are obvious immediate impacts such as forgetfulness or fuzzy thinking. Or there are very serious risks such as having an accident at work or on the road, which can even be fatal.

Losing sleep can lower our immune system and make us more susceptible to things like the common cold. But it can also make us more susceptible to long term and serious issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and even some forms of cancer. People with poor sleep amounts are even at higher risk of developing dementia. Sleep loss impacts our bodies now and throughout our lives.

Mental Health Risks

Everyone knows that a lack of sleep can make us irritable. But sleep loss can also lead to anxiety and depression, or even issues as serious as hallucinations or paranoid thoughts. Those are actually vicious cycles because depression and anxiety can also cause sleep deprivation, if not changes in our general sleep habits. It can feel like a never-ending cycle of poor mental health.

Insomnia is a disorder in and of itself, characterized by difficulty falling asleep at night, paired with drowsiness during the day. There are also mood disorders such as bipolar disorder that greatly impact sleep. For example, when someone is manic or even hypomanic, they sleep very little and often feel great. But then the depression hits and they sleep excessively. Suffering from insomnia can cause mental health issues, but mental health issues can cause sleep problems. It can feel like an unwinnable battle.

Addiction via Sleep Deprivation

Whether it be stress, insomnia, depression, or whatever, when there is a long-term lack of sleep, some of us turn to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to regulate sleep. Alcohol is well-known for helping us to relax or even induce sleep. It does not always work as intended, though, and then we are even more tired the following day when we need to be awake and alert.

Daytime sleepiness leads to using stimulants to stay awake. However, without a doctor’s care, our self-medication ends up keeping us up at night. And another type of vicious cycle is born, using alcohol or sedatives every night and stimulants every day. Before we know it, we are addicted to one or more substances. And the worst of it is that often, we are still not getting enough sleep.

Still worse, addiction itself can cause sleep loss. It interrupts our normal brain function which interrupts our sleep patterns. Even if sleep wasn’t a problem before, many drugs can interfere with sleep. In addition to all of the other negative side effects and behavioral problems associated with addiction, now we are anywhere from cranky to depressed to having paranoid thoughts. Sleep loss itself is powerful, but together along with addiction, they can incapacitate us.

Sleep Issues in Recovery

Recovery is a process, and as part of that process, we sometimes experience sleep loss. Our brains have been dependent on chemical substances long enough to create an addiction. In recovery, we are cleansing not only our bodies but also our brains of those substances. This causes actual physical changes in our brain, and as a part of this process, sometimes sleep is impaired.

There is also an emotional roller coaster that happens in recovery that can send our moods up and down, sometimes both within a very short period of time. Depression is a common side effect of recovery, too, because of all of the changes we are experiencing. Perhaps one of the most dangerous effects of sleep loss during recovery is the high risk of relapse associated with a lack of sleep.

If we have been active in our addictions, we could be experiencing so many symptoms and side effects. But one of the most miserable side effects is a lack of sleep. We are exhausted and just tired of being tired. Tired of going up and going down, tired of trying to self-medicate. It is time for us to head toward health and a good night’s sleep. Don’t spend another night anxiously counting sheep, call Enlight today at (805) 719-7954 to speak to one of our admissions experts.