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What Is A Dual Diagnosis And How Does It Affect Your Sobriety?

Addiction can be a difficult thing to tackle on its own. When it is combined with other conditions, whether they are a result of the addiction, contributed to it, or were a separate part of the person’s life before their addiction, things can become all the more complicated. Dual diagnosis can challenge even the best recovery models.

Often, this is referred to as dual diagnosis and there are a few things that you should be aware about its role in your sobriety.

Defining Dual Diagnosis

The National Library of Medicine describes dual diagnosis as the combination of a mental disorder and a drug or alcohol addiction. It is basically two conditions that interact and can further complicate each other. Cases with dual diagnosis can actually occur quite frequently.

Sometimes, there is a mental condition that a person is diagnosed with first. It can happen with any mental condition, like depression or bipolar disorder, and the addiction usually develops as a temporary means of coping with it. Other times, the addiction can trigger mental or emotional problems, and the addiction becomes stronger as it is used as a coping mechanism.

Role In Treatment

Dual Diagnosis

The progress in treating the mental condition will likely correlate with addiction treatment outcomes.

For treatment to be successful, both conditions must be addressed and treated. Addiction affects every person differently, the NIDA states, so treatment plans are not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation. A treatment plan is usually customized to fit the needs of the patient and their addiction in order for it to be as effective as possible.

Focusing on one condition will not help the other, so treating both at the same time is the best option.

When there is a dual diagnosis, the plan for the addiction will be adjusted to work in tandem with the treatments for the mental condition. It may require multiple doctors and other medical personnel, and the progress for one may affect the progress for the other.

Everyone involved with treatments for both conditions should be aware of the dual diagnosis and will need to work together in order to prevent any other issues from arising.

Role In Recovery

In order to remain sober and drug-free, it is best to make sure that you are continuing to properly care for the mental condition during recovery. It may require more work, with continuing treatment being needed for both conditions. If medication is assigned to treat the mental condition, it does not mean that that your sobriety is in jeopardy.

Some recovery groups do not believe that it is possible to stay clean while on medication. That belief is not only wrong, but can generate serious problems. If the recovery group that you are a part of practices this believe, it is probably in your best interests to go elsewhere.

Do not stop taking your medications just because you think that it is putting your sobriety at risk. Instead, follow the instructions and communicate with your doctors and support group if you feel as if problems are arising. Stopping your medication can puts your risk of relapse at a higher level than it would be if you continued taking it.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, know that there is help available. Consider contacting us through our website or call us at 800-736-5356(Who Answers?) to speak with one of our caring specialists about your options.

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