Dual diagnosis is the medical term used to describe the presence of a mood condition such as depression or bipolar disorder together with a substance abuse problem in patients. An individual who is confirmed with dual diagnosis has two separate conditions and each one of these needs its own treatment plan.
Facts about Mood and Substance Abuse Disorders
- They are both treatable conditions.
- They are not characterized as character flaws or moral weaknesses.
- The conditions can affect any person regardless of age, race, or financial background.
- More than half of the individuals who are diagnosed with depression or bipolar mood disorders also use alcohol and/or drugs.
Mood Disorder Symptoms
Knowing the symptoms of a mood disorder can help one decide when to seek help for such a problem. Major depression can present with the following issues:
- Excessive worrying.
- Feeling sad and being overly emotional.
- Loss of energy or feeling constantly exhausted.
- Excessive anger.
- Unable to concentrate properly.
- Lack of focus.
- Not being able to enjoy activities that were once pleasurable.
- Lack of drive.
- Not wanting to socialize with friends and family members anymore.
- Having recurring thoughts of death or wanting to commit suicide.
Bipolar mood disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by one’s mood switching between depression and mania. Manic symptoms include:
- Having grandiose thoughts.
- Increased irritability.
- Increased mental and physical energy and activity.
- Eliciting aggressive behavior.
- Racing speech as well as having racing thoughts.
- Being extremely optimistic and self-confident.
- Being impulsive and making poor judgment calls.
- Behaving recklessly by going on spending sprees, making major business decisions without consulting with others, sexual promiscuity, and driving dangerously.
- Patients with severe cases of bipolar mood disorder may even become delusional and experience hallucinations.
The Impact of Substance Use in Patients with Mental Health Conditions
At times, individuals who struggle with mood disorders may use drugs and/or alcohol in order to mask the symptoms of the mental health conditions.
A racing mind may be ‘calmed’ with an alcoholic drink or feelings of sadness can be alleviated with a stimulant drug. These substances may seem to help but, actually, make the situation worse for the patient. When the temporary effects of the substances wear off, the symptoms are often worse than before.
This causes the patient to use more of the substance which may eventually lead to dependence and addiction.
The Importance of Managing Mood Disorders and Substance Use
When neither of these issues is managed then one will make the other worse. If only one condition is addressed, then treatment will likely be less effective.
Therefore, it is very important for both illnesses to be managed effectively enough since this increases the chances for a complete and lasting recovery, which makes it easier for the affected individual to return to a full and productive life.
Pacific Bay Recovery Centers in California are equipped to manage patients who are suspected to have dual diagnosis. The rehabilitation facilities employ healthcare professionals who are trained and experienced in dealing with patients who are diagnosed with this condition.