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Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs & Centers

Mental health disorders, such as bipolar depression or anxiety, cause an imbalance in brain chemicals which affect its cognitive and behavioral functioning. Substance abuse also causes unfortunate effects on the brain and for a user who suffers from underlying mental illness, addiction is inevitable.

Substance abuse heightens the symptoms of mental illnesses and vice versa. Mental health disorders magnify addiction and complicate the recovery; however, through dual diagnosis treatment, the overlapping conditions can be identified, allowing us to create targeted and complementary treatment plans to help manage and overcome your dual diagnosis. At Sprout Health Arizona, our professionally trained staff of licensed psychiatrists, psychologists and behavioral specialists have the knowledge to teach you tools to overcome your addiction and mental illness.

Defining the Dual Diagnosis or Co-Occurring Disorder

Dual diagnosis occurs when an individual suffers from both a mental health disorder and drug addiction. Researchers say that there are two theories which describe the cause of dual diagnosis. Most believe that mental health disorders are the leading cause of substance abuse. This is because those with mental illness self-medicate and it is well known that self-medication usually leads to abuse, which then leads to addiction.

The other theory, which is believed by a small few, is that substance abuse creates the mental illness. Advocates of this theory argue that the physiological and biochemical effects of addictive substances disrupt the brain’s normal cognitive and behavioral functions, as well as affect the communication between the brain and its neurotransmitters. An example of this theory would be: a person abuses a substance, such as cocaine or methamphetamines, for a long amount of time who also has depression, are feeling depressed because of the decreased level of dopamine caused by excessive substance abuse. They believe that the depression was brought on because of the chemical imbalance that the prolonged use of the substance has caused in the brain.

Though neither theory has been scientifically proven, there is most definitely a relationship between substance addiction and changes in mental health. Because of this, treatment centers continuously strive to identify dual diagnosis in order to provide the best possible treatments for an addict who also suffers from mental illness.

How To Know If Someone Has a Co-occurring Disorder

Family members are fundamental to the early discovery and treatment of dual diagnosis in other family members. It is important to educate them about the signs and symptoms of dual diagnosis disorders.

Indicators of addiction are:

  • Compulsion to regularly use the addicting substance
  • Inability to stop using the substance
  • Ensuring constant availability of the substance
  • Obsession with the perceived benefits of regularly using the substance
  • Displaying risky behavior

Common mental health problems include:

  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Other anxiety disorders.

Depending on the substance, symptoms may also include physical changes in their bodies and moods, such as:

  • Extreme weight loss or changes in appetite
  • Destruction of dental health
  • Impaired coordination and/or speech
  • Lack of motivation
  • Appears anxious, fearful or paranoid for no reason
  • Hyperactivity or agitation
  • Unusual smells on breath, body or clothing
  • Frequently getting in trouble
  • Sudden change in friends or hobbies

It is also important to understand that an addict who has a history of repeated relapses, especially after the completion of an addiction program, may have an underlying mental health issue that has not been diagnosed and should be treated. Without proper treatment, they may never fully accomplish recovery or achieve continued sobriety.

How We Manage Dual Diagnosis

In order for our staff to fully develop a highly individualized treatment plan, patients must undergo a thorough assessment of their physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual health. This process helps determine patterns of mental or behavioral issues that may otherwise go undetected in typical examinations. If dual diagnosis is suspected, patients will require careful monitoring and even closer observation.

The management of dual diagnosis is extremely similar to psychiatric mental health disorder management; in that, we suggest individual and group counseling and working with a specialized team. Cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as family and group therapies are important because they form a support group both inside and outside the treatment facility. Depending on the individual, we also suggest the following:

  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Equine therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Meditation
  • Psychodrama

While traditional treatments are offered, Sprout Health Arizona also offers a more holistic approach to treat and manage dual diagnosis. We also guarantee that we will put in as much effort; if not, more, as you do. We pride ourselves in providing every individual with the help, support and tools necessary to live and maintain a healthy, sober lifestyle.


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