How a Dual Diagnosis Impacts the Patient & Their Family

Mental Health

When someone receives a dual diagnosis, it means that they have been diagnosed both with an addiction disorder and a mental health difficulty. For example, many people who are diagnosed with alcohol addiction are also diagnosed with depression. Dual diagnosis will put the patient in a difficult position to recover, and it will also affect the lives of their loved ones around them.

How Family Members Are Affected by a Dual Diagnosis

It is important to accept that the person who has received a dual diagnosis needs to be the center of attention for treating their co-occurring conditions. However, it is only fair to realize that the loved ones nearest to them can be and often are affected by the diagnosis and symptoms.

Loved ones of people with co-occurring disorders will often experience will often become the first form of “therapy” for that patient, even though that is not the healthiest option. The person who receives the dual diagnosis will often drop all of their trauma on their loved ones, even if they do not realize it. As a result, their loved ones who are not prepared to provide a heightened amount of emotional support can start to suffer emotionally as well.

Matters can be exacerbated if the person with the addiction and mental health difficulty become irritable or paranoid because of their conditions. They might begin to lash out at the people closest to them even though they never would have done such a thing before. Outbursts can become more likely and frequent if the family members attempt to stop them from using the substance to which they are addicted. Loved ones might know that those emotional attacks are not personal, but the harm that they cause is real all the same.

How are Co-Occurring Disorders Treated?

In the past, the approach to treating co-occurring disorders after a dual diagnosis was to split the treatments up. One specialist would be used to help with the addiction disorder, and another psychological specialist would be used to address the mental health difficulty, be it depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and so on.

Today, it is widely accepted that the better approach is to treat both conditions at once and with a single team of treatment specialists, which is often called “holistic” treatment. By bundling the treatments together, the patient will feel less like they are being pulled in two different directions, which can add stress to their life and worsen their addictive habits. Using one team of treatment specialists also means that there is virtually no chance of miscommunications between those team members. Rather than having to wait for updates from another doctor’s office, the treatment team can check their own notes and make adjustments to the treatment plan day-by-day.

Furthermore, treatment centers that can handle dual diagnosis patients often have housing options available. This can keep the patient feeling grounded throughout the program while also giving them a hiatus from their households, which can be extremely helpful when family members unknowingly contribute to the causes of their addiction.

Decision Point Center proudly offers dual diagnosis treatment programs to the people of Arizona. We also accept a wide range of major insurance policies to help keep our treatments affordable. If you think we could be the right fit for your recovery, then please talk to your doctor about using our facilities, or contact our intake team directly.

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