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“What is dual diagnosis” is a common question posed by people seeking addiction and mental disorder treatment. To get a better understanding of dual diagnosis, one should know that mental illnesses and substance use disorders are not always separate problems – they are conditions often linked to each other. A person with bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may turn to alcohol or other drugs to get rid of their symptoms. A person with a drug addiction problem may develop depression or anxiety. The combination of an addiction and a mental health  condition is called dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. This presents a unique challenge to both the patient and the clinician.

As per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), around a third of people with a mental illness also suffer from substance abuse. For people living with a severe mental illness, like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, the percentage is closer to half.  The NAMI also warns that dual diagnosis is more common in men than in women. 

Dual Diagnosis in Teens

Teen years are the most vulnerable periods of life as physical, psychological and social changes takes place during this time.  At this stage, teens are caught between the thrill of exerting their independence, maintaining their parents’ expectations, managing peer pressures, and excelling in academics. Sometimes the challenges during this period pave the way to addiction and mental health issues. Most teens are stressed during this period, making them prone to developing mental disorders like anxiety and depression as well as experimenting with drug or alcohol use. Often, they are unable to cope with either, leading to the development of both, a co-occurring mental disorder and substance abuse condition.

Teenagers with a co-occurring disorder can benefit from an integrated residential treatment program at a certified dual diagnosis rehabilitation center. Treatment at dual diagnosis rehabilitation for adolescents addresses symptoms of both mental health and addiction disorders. Dual diagnosis treatment centers use the most effective health care programs, thereby, increasing a teen’s chance of maintaining long-term sobriety. ​An effective dual diagnosis rehab for teens involves long-term psychiatric care and proper medication along with therapy and educational programs about addiction in a safe and comfortable environment.

Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis

The symptoms of dual diagnosis can vary from patient to patient. However, the symptoms of substance abuse remain constant. Some of them are:

  • Clumsy behavior, a lack of coordination or slurred speech
  • Being unusually tired
  • Sudden money problems, or household valuables and money disappearing
  • Needle marks on extremities
  • Poor personal hygiene

Some of the other warning signs of dual diagnosis in teens are:

  • Sudden withdrawal from family and friends – or association with new and/or different set of friends
  • Dramatic changes in behavior, such as poor performance in school or a sudden loss of interest in activities
  • Participation in high-risk behaviors

What causes Dual Diagnosis

In dual diagnosis, there is no guarantee which problem will develop first. Anxious people may start using drugs for their temporary calming effect, or people dependent on alcohol can become steadily more depressed as their disease drives away their friends and family.

Drugs fundamentally rewire the brain to make a person believe that he or she needs the substance – be it alcohol, opioids or stimulants like methamphetamine. Over time, a person dependent on substances would need more of the addictive substance to feel the same effect – a condition known as tolerance. Additionally, when the user tries to discontinue the substances, the body realizes that it is not getting enough of the substance and it goes into withdrawal – causing painful, unpleasant and sometimes fatal effects.

In case of an existing mental disorder, addiction can quickly overwhelm a person and ruin his or her life. Both drugs and mental illness can damage a person’s ability to reason and make sound decisions, creating potentially life-ruining situations, especially for adolescents.

Dual Diagnosis Recovery

Mental health and substance use disorders are serious enough on their own – both can severely affect an adolescent’s ability to enjoy life and can render him or her incapable of functioning normally in school and/or at home. However, the comorbidity of the two problems can have far more serious consequences. However, both the conditions are treatable at dual diagnosis treatment centers, and studies have shown that both mental illness and substance use disorders respond well to treatment.

At ADEONA Healthcare of Rancho San Diego, we offer dual diagnosis rehabilitation for adolescents aged between 12 and 17 in a pleasant and summer camp-like residential environment. Our compassionate staff uses the latest, effective and research-backed modalities to help the young patients lead healthier and more positive lives.

At ADEONA Healthcare’s dual diagnosis rehab for teens, patients engage in both individual and group therapy in a safe and secure environment that is free from distraction. They also get to participate in classes on stress reduction and anger management that help them gain a higher understanding of themselves and their world. In addition to traditional therapies, the dual diagnosis rehab center for teens also offers alternative therapy such as yoga.

Why Choose ADEONA Healthcare?

ADEONA Healthcare is the leading provider of treatment for mental health problems, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. When seeking professional intervention for your child, we should be your first choice for the following reasons:

  • We continually strive to use the most effective treatment methods to ensure that our patients have the best chance at a full recovery
  • Our facility is safe and secure with friendly and compassionate professionals

For more information on our dual diagnosis treatment programs, call at our 24/7 helpline number (888) 997-3966. You can also chat online with our trained representative for further information.

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