Dual-Diagnosis Treatment for Mood Disorders

Addiction is a very serious, potentially deadly disease that develops due to a number of factors. For some, a peer group can lead to the development of a substance use disorder. Others become addicted due to factors of the environment. Research has also suggested biological or genetic contributors since substance abuse and addiction often runs in families. However, no matter how it develops, addiction robs individuals of their physical health, financial stability, many relationships, career and education opportunities, and their freedom. In effect, the development of an addiction triggers a powerful, total transformation.

As a disease, addiction is quite unique in its complexity. Whereas a disease like diabetes is physical in its effects, the disease of addiction has both physical and psychological components, prompting comparisons to many mental and emotional disorders. In fact, individuals who suffer from addiction often exhibit symptoms that overlap with a number of common psychological conditions. Research has even found that those who are chemically dependent often suffer from comorbid, or co-occurring, mood disorders, which requires a very specific kind of treatment call dual diagnosis addiction treatment.

The Relationship Between Addiction & Mood Disorders

man with dual diagnosis'

When an individual develops an addiction, substance abuse becomes the central motivator in his or her life, causing the individual to act against his or her best interests. In short, addiction triggers behavior that opposes one’s survival and self-preservation instincts, indicating a major shift in cognition. While this cognitive shift by itself would suggest a strong psychological basis underlying the disease of addiction, there are other symptoms as well. Individuals who develop addictions are often emotionally detached and withdrawn, dishonest, anxious, depressed, and experience very unpredictable shifts in mood and demeanor. Moreover, these symptoms that are characteristic of addiction are also characteristic of other mood and emotional disorders.

On the other hand, substance abuse is a very common symptom of a number of mood and emotional disorders. With addiction having such a high rate of comorbidity with mood disorders—one-third of alcoholics and half of all drug addicts also suffer from a mental or emotional disorder—one could question whether there’s some sort of causal relationship between addiction and mood disorders. In particular, could it be that addiction causes mood disorders, that substance abuse is a symptom of a mood disorder before it develops into an addiction, or that addiction and mood disorders have a number of overlapping environmental and genetic triggers. Research suggests that the all three can be true as each individual develops addiction and/or mood disorders due to his or her own particular circumstances and factors. Additionally, there’s evidence that the comorbidity is so high because there is involvement of similar or the same areas of the brain for the disease of addiction and mood disorders.

What Exactly is Dual-Diagnosis Treatment?

When an individual suffers from a substance use disorder and a comorbid mood disorder like depression or bipolar disorder, he or she is referred to as a dual-diagnosis patient. This label is used merely to indicate the very particular needs of such a patient whose two co-occurring illnesses are likely to be related in some capacity, making it necessary to treat both conditions simultaneously. In other words, since it’s difficult to determine if a mood disorder caused substance abuse, if the substance abuse caused the mood disorder, or if the diagnoses developed independently, an addiction treatment program must address the symptoms of both conditions, especially since a specific symptom could be an effect of either or both diagnoses.

Dual diagnosis treatment for mood disorders is a form of programming intended for individuals in recovery from addiction who also suffer from a mood disorder. These programs address the characteristic symptoms of individuals who suffer from addiction and comorbid mood disorders, including social withdrawal, an abrupt and dramatic behavioral shift, engaging in especially risky behaviors, confused thinking or trouble concentrating, unpredictable and unprovoked shifts in mood, and suicidal ideations and possible suicide attempts.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment for Addiction & Comorbid Mood Disorders

Like other addiction treatment programs, dual-diagnosis patients will often begin with a detoxification period, allowing them to overcome physical dependency before beginning more intensive recovery treatment. However, if the presence of a mood disorder is known, steps may be taken to begin stabilizing symptoms during the detox stage. After detoxing, individuals will begin an inpatient or outpatient program with a foundation of counseling and psychotherapy; however, the counseling will incorporate the emphasis on alleviating symptoms of the mood disorder by helping the individual to overcome them, often by using cognitive behavioral therapy in combination with other helpful approaches. Oftentimes treatment facilities will offer dual-diagnosis groups and other services that are highly beneficial for individuals who suffer from a comorbid mood disorder. In effect, the goal of dual-diagnosis treatment is to help individuals overcome addiction while stabilizing the co-occurring mood disorder using counseling, medication, and other treatment techniques.

Shed the Chains of Addiction — Call Recovery Hub Today

Each individual’s recovery journey is a very personal experience that differs from the journeys of others. Since every addict has their own recovery needs, rehabilitation involves finding those treatments and therapies that optimize one’s chance of experiencing lasting success in recovery. If you or someone you love would benefit from learning more about dual-diagnosis treatment or other recovery options, call Recovery Hub today at 1-888-220-4352. With a free consultation and assessment with one of our intake coordinators, you or your loved one can find the right treatments and find freedom from the chains of addiction.

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