Dual Diagnosis Treatment in South Florida

The day you decide you want to get sober is a day you’ll embark on a rewarding and challenging journey. This is something most people will need help to accomplish successfully. For some individuals, a mental health illness makes the journey to recovery even more complex.

The team at Restore Mental Health understands that being able to receive treatment for mental health illnesses in conjunction with addiction can improve the overall outcome. We’re committed to helping our residents reach the success they need to live a productive life. Coming to our program means you’ll have the support you need from the withdrawal phase through your reintegration into society.

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis, more often referred to as co-occurring conditions, means a person has at least one mental health condition occurring at the same time as addiction. Some of the conditions commonly associated with this include schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. Other conditions, such as anorexia or bulimia, might also occur with the addiction and other mental health disorders.

While some people worry about which of these coexisting conditions occurred first, that’s actually not important at all. The important factor in these cases is that the person who’s dealing with these conditions gets the help they need right away. This helps to stop the troubling cycle that makes it hard for the person to live the life they deserve.

How Prevalent Is Dual Diagnosis in Mental Health?

According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 82.5 million (32.5% of U.S. adults age 18 or over) suffered from either substance abuse disorder (SUD) or any diagnosable mental illness (AMI). Of this group, 19.4 million (7.6% of U.S. adults) had both SUD and AMI concurrently, which is approximately one-third of the 57.8 million U.S. adults who reported an AMI. Additionally, nearly half of those who had an SUD also had a mental illness. These numbers show a strong correlation between mental illness and substance abuse.

Diagnosable mental illnesses include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Psychotic illness

There’s an even stronger correlation between serious mental illness (SMI) and SUD, with nearly half, or 6.4 million (2.5% of U.S. adults), of the 14.1 million with serious mental illness also having SUD. Serious mental illness usually includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder, but can be any mental disorder that causes serious functional impairment.

Why Is It Beneficial To Treat Both at the Same Time?

Around half the people who have at least one serious mental health condition also have a substance abuse disorder. Either condition can manifest first, but being able to treat them both is critical for success. If the mental illness isn’t treated, the person may succumb to their addiction again, even if they were living a sober life. If the addiction isn’t treated, it may pull them back into the mental illness even if it was being treated.

For some people, drugs and alcohol are a way to cope with the symptoms of a mental health condition. They try to use them to feel as normal as they can, but these substances cause problems of their own. Receiving treatment for all the co-occurring conditions is the only way they can have an optimal chance of success.

Treating the coexisting conditions at the same time sometimes comes naturally, as some of the methods for treating the mental health condition may also treat the addiction. This enables the person to make great strides in their treatment, which can help keep them motivated. It also helps to address the deeper underlying problems that could trigger relapses in the future. Treating them now helps minimize that risk, which increases the chance of the person enjoying a sober life.

Which Comes First, Addiction or Mental Illness?

While it’s clear that there’s a relationship between mental illness and substance abuse, the cause and effect aspect of it is less cut and dried. In some cases, addiction comes first; in others, it’s mental illness. If you have a dual diagnosis mental health condition, one didn’t necessarily cause the other, but there are circumstances in which it could happen. This primarily has to do with the type of mental illness and the type of substance abuse.

When Substance Abuse Can Lead to Mental Illness

  • Genetic factors: If you have a family history of mental illness, your risk of developing a disorder can be increased by substance abuse. Genes alone don’t lead to mental illness, but they are involved in increasing your risk, along with environmental and other factors.
  • Drug use side effects: Some substance abuse is linked to specific symptoms. For example, methamphetamine abuse and chronic marijuana use can lead to psychotic illness and schizophrenia. It’s so prevalent in methamphetamine users that it’s called meth psychosis and affects up to 40% of users. Studies have shown that alcohol abuse causes depression that subsides within a few weeks after detoxification and is distinct from chronic depression.
  • Brain changes: Because substances affect pleasure and reward centers as well as neurons, any substance use causes brain changes. However, long-term substance abuse can change your brain in ways that make it more probable that you’ll develop a mental illness. This can especially be true if your tolerance is so high that you frequently experience withdrawals that are followed by near-overdose levels of drugs or alcohol. Heroin overdoses, for example, can lead to permanent brain damage.

When Mental Disorders Can Lead to Substance Abuse

  • Self-medication: People who have undiagnosed mental illness often turn to substances to alleviate symptoms rather than prescribed psychiatric drugs. This is especially true with chronic depression and anxiety but can happen with any mental disorder.
  • Prescription medication abuse: Some people do go to their doctor for medication but end up taking more than the prescribed amount and becoming addicted to higher doses. This can lead to the person seeing multiple doctors for more frequent refills than any one doctor would allow. It’s often seen with patients prescribed benzodiazepines to treat anxiety or stimulants to treat symptoms of ADHD.
  • Brain changes: Because neurotransmitters play a role in both mental illness and addiction, worsening mental health symptoms can create a greater susceptibility to substance abuse.

How Substance Abuse and Mental Illness Affect Each Other

Regardless of which came first, once a dual diagnosis is present, there is an interplay between your mental illness and your addiction. Your mental disorder can exacerbate your substance abuse, and your addiction can worsen your mental health symptoms. This is why the most effective treatment for individuals with addiction and a dual diagnosis is to target both conditions simultaneously.

What Types of Treatments Are Used for Dual Diagnosis?

multifaceted treatment program is necessary for a person who has a dual diagnosis. While some people might need all of the programs mentioned below, others will only need some. The important thing is that their treatment program is customized so they get the help they need as soon as possible.

The treatment program will usually start with detox and inpatient rehab. The detoxification period will last up to seven days while the substances that were being abused leave the body. At Restore Mental Health, our trained team monitors residents during this phase of treatment. We use proven methods and techniques to help our residents as they go through the withdrawal process.

During the inpatient portion of the program, you’ll be able to focus on healing yourself under the guidance of our trained staff. The supportive program at Restore Mental Health includes:

  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

Some individuals may need medications to help them overcome the mental illness. Under the watchful eye of our staff members, our doctors can ensure that each resident gets the proper medications for their conditions. Each resident is closely monitored for optimal medication management for their condition, with adjustments to the medication made as needed.

When you leave our program and go back out into society, you’ll have much more freedom than you had here. By that time, however, you should have the tools you need to remain sober while you deal with real-world issues. We’re still here to support you during that time.

Some people prefer a gradual transition to full freedom. Our sober house and outpatient therapy options provide more support and a more structured environment than going out into the world directly after treatment. These are great transition options for people who don’t have family members or a strong support system in the area.

How Untreated Dual Diagnosis Could Be Causing Relapse

While it’s possible for you to stop abusing substances on your own — and you may have in the past — untreated dual diagnosis makes you especially prone to relapse. Early recovery is the most crucial period, with nearly half of alcohol-dependent people relapsing within 3 months after detoxification. Since recovery is already a difficult process, some of the same issues that can cause a person to relapse are magnified in those who also suffer from mental disorders. Here are some examples of common relapse triggers:

  • HALT: Relapse for any individual can be triggered from being hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Various mental disorders can affect any one of those four risk factors. For example, someone suffering from depression can feel tired easily. A person with anxiety might be more likely to isolate themselves and feel lonely.
  • Wrong thinking: People with dual diagnosis are even more susceptible to wrong thinking that can lead to relapse. This includes jumping to conclusions, catastrophizing and overgeneralization.
  • Fantasizing about past drug use: Someone who’s been using substances to self-medicate to alleviate symptoms may actually prefer the way they feel while abusing substances. This can make these fantasies more frequent and intense.
  • Lack of coping skills: While anyone can relapse due to not having the coping skills to deal with the stress, anxiety and emotional pain experienced in everyday life, dual diagnosis sufferers are even more vulnerable.
  • Returning to prior behaviors: For dual diagnosis mental health sufferers, prior behaviors may have been a part of their strategy for alleviating mental illness symptoms.

Effective dual diagnosis treatment includes equipping you with the skills you need to be successful in dual diagnosis recovery. This includes addressing self-regulation, cravings, perceptions, thoughts and establishing your support network. If you’re well-prepared for the process of dual diagnosis recovery, you’re more likely to succeed.

Why Choose Restore Mental Health?

The professionals at Restore Mental Health realize there isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment for a dual diagnosis. We learn what treatments each resident needs and tailor their plan to include those. It’s one way we encourage our residents to be successful in their program.

There are instances in which heavy substance abuse can cause changes in the brain. Finding ways to help a person adjust to those can be quite challenging, but we’re up for that challenge. Some conditions, such as depression, schizophrenia and anxiety are worsened by the changes in the brain that come with prolonged or heavy substance abuse.

When you come to Restore Mental Health for treatment of a substance use disorder that’s co-occurring with a mental health condition, we start your care out with complete evaluation. Our psychologists and psychiatrists are trained to work with patients who are detoxing so they can get the treatment plan established quickly.

Once your treatment program has been created, you can focus on yourself in the comfort of our state-of-the-art facility in southern Florida. Since you don’t have to worry about what’s going on outside the program, you can truly work on meeting your goals. Our staff members are here to support you every step of the way.

Contact Restore Mental Health Today

Your journey to sobriety should include treatment for the underlying conditions that led to the addiction. The team at Restore Mental Health is here to help you go through your treatment program so you can enjoy your life. Give us a call at 844-950-1070 to discuss your needs with one of our knowledgeable team members. We accept many insurance policies, and we also have a convenient self-pay option for individuals without insurance coverage.