March 23, 2022

Dual Diagnosis: 10 Symptoms and Solutions

by Psych Times Staff

Withdrawing from substance abuse isn’t a walk in the park. This is because, in some instances, drug users may also suffer mentally or psychologically. If you’re struggling with substance abuse alongside a cognitive health problem, you’re likely to suffer from a dual diagnosis. 

This article walks you through what you might want to know about dual diagnosis. You’ll learn about its symptoms and how to find the right hospital if you decide to seek medication. But, before that, it’d be a good idea to, first, understand what dual diagnosis is. Read on to get enlightened. 

Dual Diagnosis Defined

Also known as co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis is a term that refers to a person who has both a mental health problem and a drug issue. In simple terms, it means that a person has a diagnosis of both cognitive health disorder and substance abuse.  

Like any other health issue, if not corrected on time, dual diagnosis can severely affect your body. For instance, it can lead to heart disease, cancer, chronic pain, high blood pressure, or even death. Avoid this by visiting a hospital facility, like Alvarado Parkway mental health clinic and other reputable facilities, for treatment.  

Common Symptoms Of A Dual Diagnosis 

Several people around the world have a dual diagnosis. However, it’s shocking to note that most don’t know that they’re suffering from it. That’s why knowing some symptoms of a dual diagnosis is essential so that you can handle the condition properly, if you’ll be suffering from one some time in the future.  

The said symptoms include the following: 

1. You Use Drugs To Overcome Stress Or Anxiety 

Do you drink alcohol hoping that it’ll help you overcome anxiety or stress?  If yes, you might be suffering from a dual diagnosis. 

Some people start using alcohol and other drugs to avoid dealing with a difficult or stressful situation. For instance, such people find it challenging to address a large audience while in their sober minds. They must take drugs to put them at ease before standing in front of people. If you’re also going through a similar experience, you might be suffering from dual diagnosis.  

2. You Have A History Of Mental Health Problem 

If one of your relatives has previously suffered from a cognitive health disorder, you also have a high chance of developing a similar problem. Most mental health problems have genetic components. In other words, they can be passed on from one generation to the other. 

Research to find whether one of your parents or a close relative has been diagnosed with a mental disorder in the past. If so, you can visit a doctor for tests and treatment. Note that any mental health problem can play a significant role in your decision to start abusing drugs. This can lead to a dual diagnosis.  

3. You Feel Hopeless Or Suicidal When You Try To Quit Drugs

Withdrawing from drug abuse is essential to promote your overall health. This is true, especially if you’ve used drugs for a prolonged period.  

Sometimes, quitting drugs can be a difficult decision to make. Why?  Because you might feel hopeless and develop suicidal thoughts. This means that your mind isn’t functioning normally. If that is the case, you may want to find treatment for a dual diagnosis.  

4. The Use Of Drugs Makes You Feel Normal 

Do you rely on alcohol or any other drug to feel normal?  If yes, you might have an underlying mental disorder. 

When a cognitive health issue and drug use are happening simultaneously, you can be said to be suffering from a dual diagnosis. You need to find the proper medication in such a case.  

5. You Have Gone Through A Trauma In The Past

Although ignored by most people, a history of trauma can lead to a dual diagnosis. Some events that can cause trauma include losing a loved one, getting or witnessing an accident, sexual harassment, experiencing war, physical abuse, etc.  

A traumatic situation can alter your brain chemistry, leading to mental disorders, like stress and depression. Most depressed people also abuse drugs. Combining a mental health problem and excessive use of drugs leads to a dual diagnosis. 

Best Solutions For A Dual Diagnosis

You can take several steps to help deal with your mental and drug abuse problems. Some of these include:  

1. Managing Stress

As noted earlier, some people abuse drugs to manage stress and anxiety. Taking drugs can allow you to feel good. However, it might not be a long-term solution to stress. In fact, abusing drugs may add more stress to you. And, when stressed, you can start abusing drugs, leading to a dual diagnosis.

One of the best solutions to a dual diagnosis is to manage your stress to avoid abusing alcohol and other drugs.  here are several things you can do to go about it. Some of these include doing exercises, practicing relaxation techniques, eating a balanced diet to optimize your health, setting realistic goals, and reducing stress triggers.  

2. Connect With People

Some mental health problems, like stress and anxiety, may occur due to staying alone or being in isolated places. If not careful, one can start abusing drugs, leading to a dual diagnosis. This could have been avoided by connecting with others, 

Connecting with relatives, friends, or co-workers helps calm your nervous system. It allows you to share your worries and fear with people you trust. This helps minimize stress or find a solution to your problems. For that reason, you may want to set aside a few hours a day to meet and connect with people who genuinely care about and love you.  

3. Get Enough Sleep Daily

Whether young or old, sleep is essential to every human being. To small children, sleep helps enhance their memory, behavior, as well as mental and physical wellbeing.  

When it comes to adults, sleep is a powerful stress reducer. It helps restore the body and can regulate your mood. That’s why adults should sleep for about eight hours on average daily.  

Sometimes, you might find it very difficult to get enough sleep, especially when your mind is disturbed. You can overcome this by finding a good mattress and a sleep pillow to promote your comfort at night. This enables you to sleep better, thus, minimizing stress and anxiety, which could lead to drug abuse.  

4. Join Support Groups 

Another practical approach to your dual diagnosis is by joining support groups. These are organizations created to deal with people with such problems.  

There are several benefits of joining support groups. It allows you to connect and discuss your challenges with other patients. This allows you to become positive in life, thus, promoting your recovery process. 

Besides, some support group organizations provide guidance and counseling to people with dual diagnoses. This can also enhance your recovery process.  

5. Find Medical Attention 

Sometimes you can try all other remedies for a dual diagnosis, only for these things to end up in vain. You might want to find medication for your problem in such a case. 

The doctor will do a medical examination of your body to determine the root cause of your mental health issue and drug abuse. From there, they may provide the best medical remedy for your dual diagnosis.

Tips For Finding A Dual Diagnosis Center

There are several hospitals out there providing dual diagnosis services. However, not all of them can be right for you. Make sure you find the best mental health facility.  

To begin with, here’s how to find a suitable dual diagnosis center:

1. Ask For A License

Like any other firm, any mental hospital, whether private or public, must have an operating license from the government. This is a legal document showing that a particular firm has been permitted to offer medical services, in this case, for dual diagnosis. Therefore, to ensure your mental health problem is handled by a legally established hospital, ask to see whether they’ve got a working license.  

2. Find An Experienced Mental Health Facility

There are several licensed dual diagnosis hospitals out there. However, they might not be the best for you if they’re not experienced enough on the field. If you want to deal with your condition once and for all, make sure you connect with a mental health facility that’s been around for quite some time. 

One of the best strategies to understand a health facility’s experience is by determining its incorporation date. You can achieve that by visiting their website’s homepage.  

Remember that a health facility with several years of experience will have sufficient expertise to treat your dual diagnosis. 

3. Ensure Their Doctors Are Qualified And Experienced

Your recovery process may greatly depend on the doctor handling your case. When you fall into the hands of an unqualified doctor, they might find it challenging to treat your dual diagnosis.  That being said, ensure that any mental hospital you select has qualified physicians.

Any doctor dealing with your case must have the relevant mental health and substance use qualifications. Such merits can include an undergraduate or master’s degree in dual diagnosis. Apart from qualifications, make sure they have enough experience as well. They should have dealt with many other patients for a reasonable time. 

Seeking help from a qualified and experienced doctor can guarantee better or quality medical services. So, you’re likely to recover from dual diagnosis quickly.  

4. Select A Mental Hospital Near You

A dual diagnosis disorder can occur anytime during the day or night. It, therefore, makes perfect sense to select a health facility near you so that you can quickly get services when you need them.  

Besides, finding a mental hospital within your locality helps avoid many commuting hassles, especially if you have to attend several or regular appointments within a week or a month. For instance, it can allow you to save on travel expenses.  

5. Compare The Cost Of Medication Of Various Hospitals

Unlike some other health issues, which are free to treat, a dual diagnosis treatment will attract some fee. In other words, you’ll have to pay for the medical services. 

Various mental health and substance use hospitals may provide almost identical services. However, their prices may differ significantly. While some hospitals charge very high prices, others offer reasonable rates. So, you might want to make a price comparison before signing a deal with any hospital.  

If you have insufficient funds, you can consider working with a mental hospital that charges low fees for its services. However, make sure you don’t compromise the quality of services to save a few coins. It’d be inevitable that better services may require you to go deeper into your pockets. 

However, if you run out of budget entirely, you can still get quality dual diagnosis medical services by finding other means to raise additional cash. These may include applying for a medical loan, getting aid from relatives and friends, seeking financial assistance from non-government organizations, etc. Apart from that, you can choose a hospital that can allow you to utilize your medical insurance cover for dual diagnosis treatment.  

6. Check The Hospital’s Reputation 

You can connect with several mental health and drug abuse health centers online. However, not all of them can be best for you. Worse, some are there to steal money from patients.  

Also, some service providers may promise high-end services, only to deliver unsatisfactory results. That’s why checking your prospective facilities’ reputation is crucial.  

Reputation can be defined by the opinions of other patients regarding the health facility in question. You can find these opinions on the mental health and substance abuse service provider’s website and other online channels, like their official social media accounts.  

Satisfied patients are likely to leave positive comments online, praising the hospital that has served them. Such a facility is said to have a positive reputation. You might not get it wrong by visiting such a hospital for dual diagnosis treatment.  

On the other hand, any patient who gets a poor experience when dealing with a particular mental hospital will automatically leave a negative comment online. For that reason, you may avoid seeking services from a hospital with an alarming number of negative feedback. Such a facility is said to have a bad reputation.  

Takeaway

Dual diagnosis is a major health issue, experienced by many worldwide. This occurs when a person suffers from a mental health problem and substance abuse at the same time. If you’re one of them, you may consider seeking effective solutions or treatments. However, before you conclude that you’ve got a dual diagnosis, you first need to watch out for some symptoms, as discussed in this article.  


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