Substance Abuse, Mental Illness, and Dual Diagnosis Treatment in California

You might feel sad, really sad. Nothing really seems to help you, so you have a few glasses of wine to try to make yourself feel better. Maybe the wine does make you feel better, so you have a few more glasses.

The next night, you might feel sad again. So you have more wine. You repeat this pattern many times throughout the following days, drinking a little more wine each time.

If you find yourself behaving like this on a regular basis, you might be depressed and suffering from alcohol abuse, a condition known as dual diagnosis.

This condition is very common. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), around one-third of people with mental illnesses also have problems with substance abuse. Around one-half of people with more severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, also have drug or alcohol problems.

Technically, a dual diagnosis occurs when doctors diagnosis mental illnesses for people who also have drug or alcohol abuse issues. Some of the common mental illnesses associated with a dual diagnosis include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • bipolar disorder
  • schizophrenia
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The NAMI notes that using alcohol and drugs can produce the first appearance of symptoms of mental illness, even for people who have not previously shown such symptoms before. It notes that members of specific groups who also have mental illnesses also tend to abuse alcohol and drugs more than others:

  • people with other medical problems
  • veterans of the military
  • men

Dual diagnosis treatment centers in California treat these members and many others. This treatment can be complex. Both parts of a dual condition affect each other. Alcohol abuse can prompt depression; depressed people might turn to alcohol. Effective treatment treats both to minimize the effects of substance abuse, and mental illness.

What Is Dual Diagnosis? How Can Dual Diagnosis Treatment in California Treat It?

Dual diagnosis treatment in California can change the way mental illness and substance abuse interact in a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis treatment centers in California can make this change by breaking the vicious cycle between the two conditions.

This cycle might start with people who are suffering from depression. Depressed people might start drinking alcohol or using drugs to self-medicate themselves in efforts to feel better.

They might feel better temporarily, but they will probably later feel bad that they turned to alcohol and drugs to treat their depression. Or users might physically and mentally miss drugs or alcohol when they are not using the substances. This happens because drugs and alcohol and actually affect chemical processes in the brain. The brain wants these substances to feel good, or at least feel normal.

The trouble is, drug and alcohol addicts become tolerant to the substances they abuse. This means that they use substances so regularly, they get used to them. They need to use more drugs and alcohol to feel good, and can feel physical and mental pain (like depression), which leads them to use even more.

Even when people withdraw from the drugs and alcohol in their efforts to become sober, they can still become depressed and suffer from pain. The body and brain do not know if a person is trying to become sober—they just want the drugs and alcohol.

To treat this mental and physical pain, dual diagnosis treatment in California offers a variety of treatments. Professionals at dual diagnosis treatment facilities might prescribe medications or offer different kinds of psychological therapy to make this withdrawal less painful.


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Who Should Consider Visiting Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers in California?

For people with mental illness, substance abuse just makes life worse, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). People who have mental illnesses and substance abuse problems at the same time tend to:

  • be more aggressive and impulsive
  • be more prone to suffer dangerous medical complications and die earlier
  • be more likely to make suicide attempts and die from suicide attempts
  • be less likely to follow the terms of their treatment

Since they treat both substance abuse and mental illness, dual diagnosis treatment centers in California can treat such dangerous side effects and even prevent them from happening in the first place.

How to Find Dual Diagnosis Help at Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers in California

Since dual diagnosis is so common, people with the condition should not be feel ashamed. They should know that they have two complex conditions that affect both the body and the mind, conditions that interact with each other in even more complex ways.

They should, however, consider finding treatment. Mental illness and substance abuse interact with each other and can make each other worse. This complex interaction can make it difficult for people to treat on their own. The best dual diagnosis treatment centers in California have professionals with training and experience that can treat both conditions.

What will this treatment involve? It depends. Treatment at dual diagnosis treatment facilities such as Monarch Shores is tailored to treat specific individuals. People are unique, and mental illness and substance abuse experiences are unique. It makes sense, then, that dual diagnosis treatments should be unique.

The best dual diagnosis treatment centers in California might include:

  • education on dual diagnosis
  • managing medications a person might take for various conditions
  • holistic therapies such as meditation and nutritional counseling
  • individual, group, and family therapy
  • arrangements to continue education and treatment

These components make it more likely that people can treat both conditions and remain in treatment. People with dual diagnosis who only receive treatment for one condition are more likely to leave their treatments before they are complete. They are also more likely to have earlier relapses, or breaks from sobriety.

Treatment and recovery can be a tough journey. But if you have been struggling with a dual diagnosis of mental illness and addiction, you already know about tough journeys. Treatment and recovery is just another tough journey that you can overcome.

You do not have to go on those journeys on your own. Calling dual diagnosis treatment centers in California such as Monarch Shores can help put you in touch with counselors and other professionals who will help you begin these journeys.

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