How Dual Diagnosis Can Worsen If Left Untreated

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Living life with a dual diagnosis, which is when someone is struggling with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, can be tremendously challenging. It’s vital to identify both conditions as soon as possible because if they are left untreated, the symptoms of both will get worse over time. Undiagnosed disorders can and will affect various aspects of life, from relationships to emotional stability and physical health – creating ripple effects that impact nearly all areas of someone’s life.

What Is A Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis is the co-occurring diagnosis of both a mental health and substance use disorder. Meaning, that individuals who are dealing with this type of dual condition are dealing with two separate conditions at the exact same time. Thus, it is important to know that each of these conditions requires its own specialized and specific treatment plan. Mental health disorders can range from anxiety to PTSD to eating disorders, while substance use refers to the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol.

When a dual diagnosis is left untreated, the signs and symptoms of both disorders normally worsen with time. This is due to the fact that substance abuse can help disguise the underlying mental health disorder and vice versa. Furthermore, self medicating with alcohol and drugs can lead to individuals becoming even more emotionally and physically distressed.


How Dual Diagnosis Can Worsen If Left Untreated

An untreated dual diagnosis can have lasting effects on an individual’s life. It could lead to difficulties in relationships, trouble maintaining a job or school, legal issues due to drugs and alcohol, or engaging in risky and self-harm behaviors. An untreated dual diagnosis could also lead to a decline in physical health from the combination of both the mental health disorder and substance abuse.

Furthermore, an untreated dual diagnosis can also increase the risk of self-harm or suicidal ideation. It can also lead to negative health effects such as memory loss, weight gain or loss, sleeping issues, trouble concentrating, and chronic fatigue. Untreated dual diagnoses, overtime, will result in serious physical medical complications. Thus, it is imperative to seek treatment for a dual diagnosis as soon as possible.


How A Dual Diagnosis Is Treated

Thankfully, a dual diagnosis can be effectively and properly treated through a comprehensive treatment plan from mental health professionals. Treatment plans normally include dual-focused therapy and individualized care plans that focus on both mental health and substance abuse treatments. Individuals also benefit from support group attendance and holistic practices such as yoga and meditation. When the right help and support is sought, a dual diagnosis can be managed over time.

Diagnosing and treating a dual diagnosis as soon as possible makes it possible to manage both the symptoms of the mental health disorder and the substance use disorder simultaneously. It also ensures that the symptoms do not worsen over time. Through the use of healthy resources, people with a dual diagnosis can lead healthy and happy lives despite these chronic conditions.

What Kind of Treatments Are Available For Dual Diagnosis?

Treatment for dual diagnosis can vary depending on the type and severity of the conditions. Normally, dual diagnosis treatment plans should include medication management, support groups, therapy, holistic practices, and group therapy. Trauma therapy should also be considered when putting together a dual diagnosis treatment plan. Treatments for a dual diagnosis include:

  • Therapy – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) are all common types of therapy used to treat both addiction and mental health disorders concurrently. 
  • Medication Management – Medications won’t cure either diagnosis, but they can make the symptoms of both the addiction and mental health disorder easier to manage and therefore ensure that recovery is a smoother process.
  • Lifestyle Changes – Lifestyle changes are extremely important when treating a dual diagnosis. Everything from the food someone is eating to the relationships they have can impact the severity of their disorders’ symptoms.
  • Support Groups – Support groups and group therapy allow individuals to connect with their peers. Their peers understand exactly what they are going through and can offer advice and encouragement.

Dual diagnosis treatment should always take an individualized approach. This type of treatment allows individuals to become educated about their disorders and they can develop new coping skills that will help them manage both of the disorders in a healthy way. Furthermore, support from loved ones is a beneficial way to help individuals stay on track with their aftercare plan.


Finding Treatment and Support For A Dual Diagnosis

If you or someone you love is struggling with a dual diagnosis, then there are steps that can be taken to get the help needed to recover. It is important that a medical professional is contacted in regards to a dual diagnosis. They will be able to provide as much information and guidance as possible. It is also important to reach out to family and other supports for encouragement and assistance.

Proactively seeking treatment for dual diagnosis ensures it is possible to improve outcomes and reduce risk of emotional and physical damage over time. With the correct type of help and resources, individuals can work towards achieving a healthy lifestyle despite the co-occurring conditions.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment in New Jersey

Mental health issues that are combined with addiction can be difficult to manage. It is extremely important to find a dual diagnosis treatment facility that offers experienced professionals who understand dual diagnosis and the challenges the conditions bring. 

The Healing Center provides dual diagnosis treatment in New Jersey and aftercare support following your stay. Our team of addiction and mental health experts provides top quality and evidence-based treatments that are tailored to meet your individual needs. Additionally, we provide a safe, supportive, and healing environment so that our clients can comfortably build the foundation for long-term recovery.  

If you or someone you love is struggling with a dual diagnosis in New Jersey then contact our admissions team today to learn more about our dual diagnosis NJ program. We have both the resources and experience that is necessary to develop a personalized treatment plan that will help you achieve peace, healing, and happiness.