A person who is caught in the downward spiral of an emotional disorder often tries try to fix the problem themselves. Too often, any form of “self-medication” can actually compound the original problem. For example, someone who has been diagnosed as a manic depressive might turn to alcohol to find escape from their pain. Because that underlying issue of depression is going unchecked, it can worsen and lead to increased alcohol abuse. When this occurs, the sufferer becomes compounded with a Dual Diagnosis. This is referred to in clinical terms as “co-occurring disorders” or “co-morbid disorders.” Simply put, the attempt to fix one problem has created a second problem.
Who Is at Risk for Dual Diagnosis?
How serious of an issue is this? Research from the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has found that close to 10 million Americans could be diagnosed with the double hit of a mental health problem and a substance abuse issue. In fact, surveys have found that with alcoholics, 37 percent have often developed underlying mental health issues. With drug addicts, that number goes up to 53 percent.
For people who are suffering from a disorder like Dual Diagnosis manic depression, it is not always obvious which came first — the psychiatric condition or the chemical dependency. A red flag goes up with manic depression. Those sufferers are more susceptible to developing a secondary abuse problem. This is something to watch out for even with someone who is involved in ongoing therapy.
As for the entrenched abusers; they too can develop manic depression if for no other reason than they can’t stop the drug abuse. This is a classic catch-22 situation that might appear on the surface to be hopeless. Actually, that’s far from the truth. Effective forms of treatment have been developed to strike at the core of Dual Diagnosis issues.
Manic Depression Treatment
A successful recovery plan for anyone caught up in the throes of Dual Diagnosis manic depression is to tackle both the problems head on. Dealing with just one issue at a time allows the other problem to become entrenched. That’s not going to help anyone.
The best path to recovery is through therapy. Exploring the issues with the patient during one-on-one sessions can help unlock those triggers which set off the abuse. This counseling can be combined with appropriate medications to help re-balance the brain chemistry. It might seem like an odd choice to give a drug addict more pills, but think of it more as a rewiring of the brain.
Once the initial emotional edges have been smoothed out, the recovery process can continue through supportive measures like working a 12-step program for dependency issues while engaging in group therapy for emotional issues. Call the number on this page to find out more information.