The Forge Recovery Center

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

What happens when we’re in pain? For most people, we seek comfort and relief. Let’s say you sprain an ankle: you elevate it, put ice on it, and maybe take ibuprofen. For someone with an undiagnosed mental disorder, it’s often tempting to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to bring comfort from the painful symptoms.

Substance abuse brings the pain of its own. It isolates; someone who is caught up in the spiral of addictive behaviors can find themselves without family, friends, or even work associates as their substance abuse intensifies. As their relationships, health, and finances begin to fail, they experience extreme depression, anxiety, and the continuing self-destructive cycle.

These two situations turn into what’s called a dual diagnosis, a combination of a mental health disorder with a substance use disorder. In 2020, 17 million Americans dealt with co-occurring mental and substance disorders, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

The Forge Recovery Center

How Is Dual Diagnosis Treated?

A dual diagnosis can be common, but somewhat hard to detect. Since the effects of substance abuse tend to resemble the symptoms of mental disorders, it’s not easy to tell what came first.

Addressing dual diagnosis is key to achieving long-term recovery, however. The staff at The Forge Recovery Center knows how addiction and mental disorders play off each other, and our licensed staff can tell the difference between addiction symptoms and those of mental disorders. This allows us to create a truly holistic plan for treatment that addresses both issues simultaneously.

One of the main focuses of dual diagnosis treatment is education. By learning how substance use and mental health are connected, we’re able to develop better coping mechanisms instead of using substances. It also teaches us how there’s more to recovery than just stopping substance abuse.

This is why social connections are so valued at The Forge Recovery Center. We learn how to repair our damaged relationships, craft positive relationships, and rely on social support. It’s the best way to find our way to lasting recovery.

CTA background

We’re here to help you find your way

We are available for support 24/7

The Forge Recovery Center

Why the Forge Recovery Center Treats Dual Diagnosis With a Holistic Approach

People are more than just symptoms. We focus on the entire person: physically, mentally, socially, and even spiritually. This helps the people under our care craft lives worth living when at The Forge Recovery Center.

Here are a few of the ways we do that:

Sober Community Bonds

Developing a new social network of friends and other supporters is key to achieving sustained recovery. Avoiding triggering situations and drug cravings is easier with people who share the goal of freeing themselves from addiction. At The Forge Recovery Center, we help create new relationships focused on recovery as well as repairing relationships damaged by addiction.

Family Matters

Bonds between family members are often severely damaged by addictive behaviors. The family member who struggles with addiction feels isolating guilt and shame; other family members struggle with their guilt over their relative’s behavior. Rebuilding family bonds is critical in recovery. Strong family relationships help the addicted member maintain connection in recovery; family members also offer hope, encouragement, and valuable insights.

Creating a Sense of Joy Without Substances

People engage in substance abuse because it makes them feel better. We use fun activities like outdoor adventures, day trips, and other outings to show life can be truly enjoyed without addictive substances.

Who Is at Risk of Dual Diagnosis?

That’s not easy to answer. It’s unclear if mental disorders cause addiction, or if addiction creates mental disorders. NAMI, the National Association of Mental Illness reports around half of the people with severe mental disorders develop substance use disorders. Meanwhile, around one-third of people with milder mental disorders develop addictive behaviors.

NAMI also states over half of people with substance abuse disorders and a third of people who abuse alcohol have a co-occurring mental disorder. Men are more likely to develop a dual diagnosis, says NAMI, and the condition is often more common in lower-income brackets.

CTA background

Have we answered all your questions?

If not, just ask! We are available for support 24/7