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The Importance of Medical Care During Dual Diagnosis Treatment


Dual diagnosis is the medical term used to describe when a mental health disorder, such as depression or extreme anxiety, and addiction are both present in a patient. It is also referred to as a co-occurring disorder.

There are treatment options that combine the clinical approach with unique therapy methods to effectively treat these disorders. Medical care is extremely important for individuals who do not know how to manage the symptoms of both diseases. The compassionate clinicians at the Banyan Mental Health Programs are here to help you through your recovery journey. Medical care at our dual diagnosis treatment center allows individuals to get back on track and live a healthy lifestyle, free from addiction and pain.

Dual Diagnosis Examples

While a dual diagnosis can be administered for a variety of conditions and combinations, there are a number of disorders that are most common.

  • ADHD 
  • Anxiety 
  • Bipolar Disorder 
  • Depression 
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 
  • Panic Disorder 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
  • Schizophrenia 

Each of these conditions can be debilitating for the person living with them. Many individuals may even have more than one of those listed above alongside their addiction. This turns into a cocktail of confusing and challenging symptoms that can have a devastating effect on a patient's life if not properly addressed. This is why Banyan offers mental health care in Boca for a variety of disorders and scenarios.  

Exactly what substance a person abuses will depend on their personal preferences and addiction. The fact remains the same, though, if someone is relying on alcohol or drugs to manage their symptoms, they are at risk of obtaining a dual diagnosis. 

Dual Diagnosis Symptoms 

Being that there are so many possible combinations of dual diagnoses, symptoms will likely look different in each unique scenario. This is why many residential mental health programs will utilize drug and alcohol screening tools to better identify people who are more at risk. 

Some symptoms of substance use disorder include: 

  • Abusing substances even in unsafe environments 

  • Clear and sudden behavioral changes 

  • An inability to function without their drug of choice 

  • Consistently risky behavior 

  • A growing tolerance  

  • Severe withdrawal symptoms 

  • Creating distance from loved ones 

Although such a diagnosis can be overwhelming or difficult to process, it is imperative to understand that you are not alone.  

How a Dual Diagnosis Can Affect the Treatment Process 

It can be an extremely frustrating scenario to actively seek out mental health care, go through the motions of treatment, and still find oneself in the same destructive situations that they were subject to before. Without getting a clear picture of the entire situation, this person is much more likely to experience some kind of relapse, whether that is regarding abusing a substance or some other form of self-harm.  

Getting care for a mental illness is difficult enough in its own right. Whether the disorder was brought about by a traumatic experience or upbringing, or even if it is biological, these conditions can be extremely isolating for the person suffering from them. Considering the stigma surrounding mental health as a whole, it is understandable that many individuals are not only resistant to obtaining the care that they need but may also be hesitant to accept the fact that there is a problem at all.  

This method of denial is often a pathway to more dangerous habits and behaviors. For instance, if someone is struggling with symptoms from their mental health disorder but feels like they are not in need of actual medical intervention, they could resort to self-medicating to manage instead. This path is exceptionally slippery for those already born with addictive tendencies, which are commonly seen among family members.  

It can be difficult to determine what developed first, a mental illness or an addiction. They each greatly affect the other, making it that much harder to separate them. What is important to remember is that trying to tackle these issues on one's own will likely lead to more harm than good, even with the best intentions. 

By being able to sit with a professional and identify any co-occurring disorders that are affecting the patient, they are then able to optimally form a treatment plan that will tackle each aspect of their particular illnesses. 

Individualized Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment Program 

The first step in properly treating someone with a dual diagnosis is to perform an evaluation to determine the most effective treatment path needed for that individual. The medical professionals at Banyan Mental Health understand the importance of customized care so that each need is met during the process. Everyone has a unique path they need to take to ensure a successful recovery. For some patients, medication should be administered if it fits their treatment plan, and this can be combined with therapy methods.  

Medical care during dual diagnosis treatment is necessary because the symptoms of a mental health disorder and addiction can start to blend together. Addiction can severely hinder mental health treatment progress. A mental health treatment facility can allow individuals to focus solely on their journey without any negative influences and distractions in their way. 

While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to treating co-occurring disorders, the mix of medical care and therapy can allow individuals to get clean from drugs and alcohol while managing their mental health symptoms. Seeking professional help from a mental health treatment facility can save your life, and it’s never too late to start. 

Our team of experts is equipped to handle a wide array of issues that you could be dealing with. We will be with you every step of the way and make sure that you leave our facility with a new outlook on life. We will get you the care that you deserve and help you gain a clearer picture of who you are, where you come from, and how to hone that knowledge to build a better and brighter future.  

Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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