Substance abuse is the addiction and dependency caused by any substance that you may take. Substances of abuse may include alcohol, drugs like some substituted amphetamines, nicotine, addictive painkillers and so on. The statistics are shocking: due to the “world drug report” by the United Nations, about 5% of people, which is 230 million, used an illicit substance in 2010. The number is growing over time.
Why Substance Abuse Is Dangerous
Most can agree that any addiction is “a bad thing.” However, how many of you can explain why it is so bad except the reasons of social character? By saying “reasons of social character,” I mean taking judgmental stance towards other people who have become addicted who have exuded consequences from the police, made decisions based on their current lifestyle, and many other potential consequences connected with dependency.
One of the most dangerous things which may come to develop after you become addicted is a mental disorder. Mental disorder (or mental illness) is either behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. The features of complications may be different: persistent relapsing, and remitting, or occur as a single episode. Sometimes it might be challenging to distinguish a mental disorder from some deviant behavior caused by other factors. There is a particular doctor who can establish an accurate diagnosis. These are called psychiatrists.
Some time ago, scientists claimed that a high percentage of people who were suffering from substance abuse, were also diagnosed with co-occurring disorders. For people who are not connected to the spheres of abuse treatment or mental disorder studies, this term might be incomprehensible and challenging to realize.
What Is A Co-Occurring Disorder?
A co-occurring disorder is a condition when a person’s body suffers from both co-morbid substance abuse problem and a mental disease. The very first example, being both nicotine abuse and feeling deep depression. Though, there exist many dual diagnosis facilities to treat of co-occurring disorders, the main problem that usually occurs is that often it is tough to establish an accurate diagnosis, as some symptoms of addiction and the symptoms of the mental disease may be the same.
Problems That May Arise
The most common problem is that the process of recovery from substance abuse and the process of recovery from mental health problems have different ‘culture’. This brings the question of how to merge therapies of two completely different illnesses into one effective recovery program. The good news is that there are many inpatient dual diagnosis treatment facilities, which provide the best techniques to treat both simultaneously. Experts note that it is vital to integrate services of help with this ‘battle’ with co-occurring disorders on every level of daily care.
Symptoms That May Lead To A Dual Diagnosis
As far as a large number of combinations of dual diagnosis exist, the range of symptoms’ is wide. To get a full assessment of symptoms we highly suggest getting in touch with a dual diagnosis treatment facility. Firstly, they would use special screening tools to identify the severity of your substance use. The most common symptoms of possible substance abuse might be:
- Loss of control
- Withdrawal from the usual social circle
- Developing a high tolerance
- Unexpected behavioral changes
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Being engaged in risky activities
- Feeling unable to act without taking a drug
Secondly, they would use other methods to identify the possible symptoms of mental disorder. Because of the variety of possible symptoms, we cannot circle out the top symptoms, though we can try to name the most common symptoms, which might be observed along with most disorders:
- Withdrawing from usual social circles
- Mood swings
- Difficulties in attention focusing
- Possible hallucinations or delusions
- Possible thoughts of suicide
Setting this diagnosis requires some time as one of the primary methods for diagnosis is observation. Luckily, there is plenty of long term dual-diagnosis treatment centers which make both the diagnostic and then treat a patient. Since the problem is actually not new, we can make an approximate list of mental illnesses that a person can develop when he or she is substance abused.
Most Common Disorders
Bipolar disorder – Aspiration for goal-directed activities; the diminished need for sleep; distractibility; inflated self-esteem or grandiosity; self-defeating pleasurable activities; talkativeness or more pressured speech.
Dysthymia – Being physically drained; constant self-criticism; easily balked; insomnia or oversleeping; longstanding feelings of sadness, pessimism, hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness; problems with concentrating; skepticism, indecisiveness, mistrust; severe fatigue, etc.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) – Deviations in energy, appetite, and sleeping activity; either sad, or irritable mood; feelings of worthlessness, emptiness, guilt, or hopelessness; persistent headaches, or digestive disorders; problems with concentrating, focusing, and remembering; recurrent thoughts of death or suicide; slowness in movements or agitation.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – Behaving in specific ritualistic way; concerns about contamination or harm; feeling doubt, fear, disgust; recurring thoughts, or impulses, which you cannot control; repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person feels driven to perform; the need for symmetry or exactness, or forbidden sexual or religious thoughts.
Panic disorder – Chest pain; constant sweating; difficulties in controlling oneself; difficulties with breath; faintness; feeling of being detached from oneself; hot flashes; pounding heart; slight trembling or sometimes severe shaking.
Schizoaffective disorder – Being uninterested in any activity; constant feelings of guilt, hopelessness, worthlessness; feeling restless, irritated or sluggish; insomnia or oversleeping; problems with concentrating, focusing, and remembering; recurrent thoughts of death or suicide; weight loss or sudden overweight.
Social anxiety – Blushing; diarrhea; fear of being scrutinized or negatively judged by others (so-called “spotlight effect”); intense anxiety in all types of social situations, which may result in avoidance of social situations; sweating; tension; trembling.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
As mentioned before, the process of dual diagnosis treatment is rather complicated and involves many stages. They include:
Detoxification – This is the first and crucial stage for every person who has a dual diagnosis. Experts say that inpatient dual diagnosis treatment facilities work better at this stage. That is because the patient is always under the guidance of medical staff.
Inpatient Rehabilitation – Again the main tip is that the patients receive health care and support around the clock. This kind of therapy also helps with the underlying causes of substance abuse.
Supportive Housing – The thing is similar to “group homes” or “sober houses”. The main task is to prevent relapse.
Psychotherapy – That is usually one of the most significant parts of the therapy. The methods might be various but this stage is obligatory in all dual diagnosis treatment facilities.
Medications usage – It is more useful for treating mental diseases; however, some substances are used to ease the symptoms of withdrawal.
Self-Help and Support Groups – As we know, while having a dual diagnosis, a patient may feel sad and isolated and have difficulties in socializing. In support groups, people feel support and understanding of shared feelings.
Substance abuse alongside mental disorders (so-called dual diagnosis) is a complicated medical issue which requires the help of experts. Do not delay visiting a doctor if you observe some of the symptoms above.