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What Is the Most Common Dual Diagnosis?

female therapist explaining to distressed young man what is the most common dual diagnosis

Getting timely and effective help for a dual diagnosis of drug abuse and mental illness is essential. Left untreated, these two conditions can feed into one another, creating a vicious cycle. Fortunately, effective co-occurring disorder treatment is available. Thanks to decades of research, providers have significant insight into the links between substance use disorders and mental illness. To learn more about common dual diagnosis needs, contact the friendly team at Ray Recovery. We’re available at 888.598.6299 and offer an evidence-based dual diagnosis treatment program in Hudson, Ohio.

What Is the Most Common Dual Diagnosis?

While it’s difficult to say which dual diagnosis is the most common across the board, there are several strong contenders. The following co-occurring disorders show up time and again in the treatment landscape:

  • PTSD and alcohol abuse – This dual diagnosis is especially common among traumatized military veterans. Alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder can be an extremely challenging but still treatable diagnosis.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder and benzodiazepines – People living with untreated generalized anxiety disorders commonly abuse benzos like Xanax. These “downers” may provide temporary relief from racing thoughts or fear-based emotions.
  • Eating disorders and stimulants – Diet pills and nicotine are common among people living with anorexia, bulimia, or body dysmorphic disorder. This is because stimulants can function as appetite suppressants.
  • ADHD and stimulants – Stimulants like caffeine and amphetamines often create attention-deficit hyperactivity-like symptoms in neurotypical individuals. For those with clinical ADHD, however, they often have the opposite effect, making them feel calmer. This gives stimulants a high abuse potential among those with undiagnosed ADHD.
  • Bipolar disorder and alcoholism – People who have untreated bipolar disorder experience intense, long-term mood disturbances. The disorder brings about extended periods of very elevated energy and mood called mania and very low energy and mood called depression. During depression, they may drink to temporarily feel better, even though alcohol ultimately feeds the condition. During mania, they may drink to either prolong pleasurable aspects or curb hyperactive tendencies.

It should be noted that while correlations like the above certainly exist, many novel combinations exist as well. It’s key that doctors provide tailored behavioral and neurological healthcare.

What Happens in Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

In dual diagnosis treatment, a client receives simultaneous care for their mental health concern and substance abuse behaviors. This care comes from a unified treatment team, facilitating sensitivity, comprehension, and continuity within the team. For clients, too, receiving care through a single physical and/or online treatment program can strongly streamline their experience. This makes it easier to commit to recovery.

All dual-diagnosis treatment begins with evaluation. Getting a sense of each individual client’s needs and specific challenges is essential for generating an effective care plan. Following this initial intake and assessment, clients undergo detox from any substances to which they’re currently actively addicted. This short phase may take place in a separate detox facility or onsite. While sometimes uncomfortable, detox is necessary for ongoing treatment since it provides an initial basis of sobriety on which to build.

After detox, clients start individual therapy to help them learn cognitive reframing and explore the causes of their substance abuse. They also discuss factors like family and environment, which may play into their mental health concerns. During this period, any needed medication, such as antidepressants, or specialized treatment, such as EMDR, can also begin.

Finally, sober living can provide a vital bridge for clients in co-occurring disorder treatment. A stable home environment and accountability make a world of difference as clients reintegrate into everyday life following rehab. Frequently, the first several months are chock-full of triggers to revert to drug abuse or mental illness. Giving clients the best possible odds of lasting success thus depends strongly on their environment in this crucial phase.

Learn More About Dual Diagnosis for Substance Abuse and Mental Illness at Ray Recovery

Begin getting support for yourself or the person you care about by seeking dual diagnosis care. The qualified team at Ray Recovery in Hudson, Ohio, is excited to speak with you about our treatment options. Call us today at 888.598.6299 or contact Ray Recovery online to begin accessing information and services.