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Dual Diagnosis in Ohio


Dual diagnosis, also referred to as co-existing disorders or co-occurring disorders, is the simultaneous identification of an addiction and a mental health disorder or mental illness. It is now becoming a common practice in addiction treatment to look for a dual diagnosis, because mental health problems are frequently associated with addiction. Treating both conditions at the same time is the most effective way to ensure the addiction treatment is successful and that future relapse is prevented.


Mental Health and Addiction

Addiction often co-exists with a mental illness or disorder, and while the two components are separate entities, they can influence and affect each other. Addiction can sometimes cause mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, because the addiction can be destructive to many aspects of life and can result in loneliness, isolation, and despair. Some substances of abuse, such as alcohol, are also chemical depressants that can cause depression or make existing depression worse.

In other cases, the mental health issue can cause the addiction through self-medication, leading to drug or alcohol dependence. For example, benzodiazepines and alcohol may be taken to self-medicate for anxiety or to curb the racing thoughts associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Amphetamines or cocaine may be taken to act as “uppers” and counteract depression. In either case, the drugs or alcohol may make the person feel better for a period of time, but the after-effects produce more anxiety and/or depression, and the vicious cycle begins again.

Mental health disorders known to be associated with addiction, apart from anxiety and depression, include OCD, bipolar disorder, paranoia, post-traumatic stress, acute mania, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia, among others. Eating disorders are also common in people with addictions to substances, and many therapists now classify eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, as types of addictions themselves.


Drug Use and Mental Illness in Ohio

Drug and alcohol abuse are widespread in Ohio. According to SAMHSA, around 250,000 people in the 18-25 age group, and over half a million adults over the age of 26, used illicit drugs in Ohio in 2012-13. During this same period, an estimated 121,000 (18-25) and 309,000 (26 and up) abused prescription painkillers in the state. Over a third of young adults (18-25) reported binge drinking alcohol in the previous month.

Around 4.6 percent of people in Ohio suffer from a serious mental illness, and over half of these individuals do not receive treatment. Another study conducted by SAMHSA in 2011, suggested that up to a quarter of people suffering from a mental health disorder also have a substance abuse disorder.


Dual Diagnosis in Ohio: Treatments

A dual diagnosis drug rehab in Ohio is one that uses an integrated model of treatment to address both the addiction and the mental health issue associated with it at the same time. Many of these rehabs in Ohio are staffed by specialists in co-existing disorders, and psychiatric treatments are administered under the same roof as the addiction therapies.

An Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders KIT was released by SAMHSA in 2010 to ensure that clients with co-occurring disorders receive combined treatment for the addiction and mental health issues from the same treatment team. The key elements of this integrated treatment program include the provision of cross-trained practitioners, motivational interventions, a cognitive-behavioral approach to therapy, and integrated medication services.

Integrated treatment for dual diagnosis patients is effective and is associated with lower treatment costs overall. Treating both conditions at the same time results in improved psychiatric symptoms, reduced hospitalization, fewer arrests, better housing stability, and improved quality of life. For more information about the benefits of dual diagnosis treatment, dial an addiction specialist today.