Your loved one has gotten past the point of what you thought was “experimentation.” You hoped his/her drug use was just a phase of “acting out.” You’re noticing strange behaviors – mood swings, anxiety attacks, or depressive episodes – alongside his or her drug use. He or she will not stop using, despite the social, financial, emotional, and physical consequences. You miss your son or daughter. Most importantly, you’re worried. It’s time to get help.
If you believe your loved one is facing a mental health issue and a substance use disorder, this is called dual diagnosis. And it is not uncommon. Approximately 8 million people facing a substance use disorder are also battling a mental health disorder—post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and others. Fortunately, dual diagnosis treatment is available.
In this article, Turnbridge helps you identify the signs of dual diagnosis as well as the signs it’s time to pursue an inpatient dual diagnosis treatment program for your loved one.
Signs of Dual Diagnosis
There are many signs and symptoms of dual diagnosis. In addition to experiencing the most common signs of addiction – such rapidly changing behaviors and the physical, withdrawal symptoms – those with dual diagnosis will exhibit emotional ups and downs. Consider an inpatient dual diagnosis treatment center if you notice that…
- Your loved one uses drugs to escape or cope with: stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or any other psychological problems. This is called “self-medication.”
- Your loved one has withdrawn from family and friends. He/she no longer hangs out with the same friend groups and has grown distant from those that offer support. Your loved one also has trouble maintaining relationships of late, due to mood swings and fluctuating behavior.
- Your loved one has a history of mental illness. This may include seemingly small issues like a depressive episode or an anxiety attack, or may be something as large as bipolar disorder. Any sign or subtle trace of a mental health issue is important to consider as soon as drug abuse comes into play.
- When your loved one tries to stop drinking or using drugs, his or her mental health issues get worse. For example, he/she may get violent or have suicidal thoughts as soon as the drug use stops (this is especially common in the hours after stopping, called the withdrawal stage).
- Drugs make your loved one feel comforted, satisfied, and “normal.” He or she feels as though it is the drugs that keep him/her functioning and feeling less like an outsider – Your loved one may not be able to remember the last time he/she felt truly “happy” without drugs.
- Mental illness runs in your family. Studies show that exposure to mental illness in a person’s childhood greatly increases their vulnerability to developing a mental illness later in life.
Inpatient Treatment is Necessary If Your Loved One Has…
The presence of co-occurring disorders is perhaps the number-one, tell-tale sign that your loved one needs inpatient care. Dual diagnosis cannot be treated successfully in a short-term, outpatient setting. Rather, co-occurring disorders require extensive time and healing, so that a person can fully restore their mental, emotional, and physical health simultaneously, without distraction. In an inpatient dual diagnosis treatment center, self-healing – in all facets – is the number one priority.
Had Prior (unsuccessful) stints of outpatient care.
Oftentimes, many people give their first “go” at drug rehab in an outpatient treatment center. Perhaps you and your loved one did the same. Outpatient drug rehab is a great option for those who need help for their drug use, but still have other outside obligations like work, family, and school. Outpatient treatment also tends to be cost-effective and flexible. The important thing to remember, however, is that treatment is not one-size-fits-all. Outpatient care does not work for everyone, especially for those that need structure, watchful care, and a custom-tailored treatment approach (which is most always the case with dual diagnosis). If your loved one has been to an outpatient treatment center before, but has recently been troubled by drug cravings, he or she is not alone. Inpatient care may be a better option.
In an inpatient dual diagnosis treatment center, there is more oversight and supervision. There is also a huge focus on individualized care plans. In inpatient rehab, your loved one can take time to address his or her drug problems, as well as any past traumas, abuse, or mental illness, in a safe setting.
As unfortunate and disappointing it is, relapse is a common part of the recovery journey. It is important to know that relapse does not indicate your loved one has failed. This is not the end-all, be-all, and it does not mean you have to start over, all over, again. Relapse, rather, is a sign that it’s time revisit the type of treatment your loved one has received. As noted above, what works for one person may not work for another. This is especially the case for those with co-occurring disorders. Dual diagnosis treatment must always be tailored to the individual’s needs: history of drug use, mental illness, past traumas and abuse, background and upbringing, drug of choice, reasons for drug use, and more.
Lack of a safe place to recover.
If your loved one’s environment is not conducive to his or her recovery, an inpatient rehab center may be the best option. Take time to think about the places and people that surround your teen or young adult. Is your home stable and supportive of a completely alcohol- and drug-free environment? Will your loved one always have transportation to and from meetings and counseling sessions, as well as nutritious meals and a sober network of peers? Think outside your home, too. If his or her friends at school are in the “partying” scene, it is likely that your son or daughter will be tempted to use while in recovery. Home is full of relapse triggers and can be high-risk for teens and young adults in recovery. An inpatient dual diagnosis rehab center offers the watchful care, structured treatment models, and 24/7 sober support that a person needs to get, stay, and live sober. Inpatient rehab centers are therapeutic communities, where clients focus on themselves, without outside distraction, pressure, and temptation.
If your loved one is exhibiting the signs of dual diagnosis and requires a long-term, inpatient treatment center to heal, know that you can always contact Turnbridge for professional, clinical advice. We are a residential dual diagnosis treatment center for teens and young adults battling co-occurring disorders. And we are just one call away – 877-581-1793.