Tag: Dual Diagnosis

How Dual Diagnosis Can Worsen If Left Untreated

Living with a dual diagnosis – which is when an individual is managing both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder – can be incredibly challenging. It’s important to identify these conditions as soon as possible because if they are left untreated, the symptoms of each can worsen over time. Unchecked disorders can affect various facets of life, from relationships to emotional stability and physical well-being – creating ripples that touch nearly all areas of one’s life.

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is the co-occurring presence of both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. This dual condition means that an individual is dealing with two separate conditions at the same time, each of which requires its own specialized treatment plan. Mental health disorders can range from depression or anxiety to eating disorders or bipolar disorder, while substance use disorders refer to abuse of alcohol or drugs.

When a dual diagnosis is left untreated, the symptoms of each disorder have the potential to become worse over time. This is because substance use can help mask the underlying mental health disorder and vice versa. Not to mention, self-medicating with substances can cause an individual to become even more emotionally or physically distressed.

Life-Altering Effects of Untreated Symptoms

An untreated dual diagnosis can have far-reaching effects on one’s life. It could lead to problems in relationships, difficulty maintaining employment and school performance, legal issues due to substance abuse, or engaging in risky behaviors while high or drunk. It may also lead to a decrease in overall physical health from the combination of disorders, such as cardiac conditions or digestive problems from abusing alcohol or drugs.

Untreated dual diagnosis can also lead to an increased risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts, as well as other negative physical, mental, and emotional health effects such as memory loss, weight gain/loss, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, or sleeping problems. If left untreated for a prolonged period of time, dual diagnosis can result in serious medical complications. For this reason, it is essential to seek treatment for dual diagnosis as soon as possible.

Treating Dual Diagnosis

Fortunately, dual diagnosis can be effectively treated with a comprehensive approach. This typically involves dual-focused therapy and individualized treatment plans that involve both mental health care and substance abuse therapies. An individual may also benefit from attending support groups or engaging in other holistic approaches such as mindfulness practices or yoga. With the right help and support, dual diagnosis is something that can be managed over time.

By recognizing dual diagnosis early on and actively working towards treatment, it is possible to manage symptoms of both mental health disorder and substance use disorder simultaneously, so they do not worsen over time. With the appropriate resources, individuals can lead healthy and fulfilling lives despite these simultaneously-occurring conditions.

What Kind of Treatments Are Available?

Treatment for dual diagnosis can vary depending on the type and severity of each disorder. Generally, dual diagnosis treatment plans should include psychotherapy, medication management, lifestyle changes, support groups, and other holistic approaches. It is also important to address any underlying trauma that may be contributing to the dual diagnosis.

  • Psychotherapy – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are common types of psychotherapy used to help individuals with dual diagnosis manage their symptoms and behaviors.
  • Medication Management – Medication can be prescribed to help individuals manage their dual diagnosis and withdrawal symptoms. However, it is important to note that medication does not “cure” dual diagnosis but rather can help reduce symptoms in conjunction with other treatment methods.
  • Lifestyle Changes – Lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and reducing stress levels can also help an individual manage dual diagnosis more effectively. Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) can also be beneficial for ensuring that recovery is managed in a safe and healthy environment.
  • Support Groups – Support groups provide a safe space for individuals to discuss dual diagnosis and connect with other people who may be going through similar experiences. Additionally, attending dual diagnosis support groups can be beneficial for providing additional resources and guidance throughout the recovery process.

By taking an individualized approach to dual diagnosis treatment, individuals can gain insight into their situation and develop new coping skills that will help them manage their mental health condition and substance use disorder in a healthier way. Additionally, support from family or friends may be beneficial in helping an individual stay on track with their dual diagnosis treatment plan.

Finding Treatment and Support

If you or someone you know is living with a dual diagnosis, there are measures that can be taken to get the help needed. It’s important to speak with a medical professional about dual diagnosis and provide them with as much information as possible. It’s also beneficial to reach out to family, friends, or other support systems for assistance.

By proactively seeking treatment for dual diagnosis, it is possible to improve both mental and physical health outcomes significantly over time. With the right help and resources, individuals can work towards leading healthy and balanced lives despite dual conditions.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Birmingham, AL

Mental health issues combined with addiction can be a difficult condition to manage. It’s important to seek dual diagnosis treatment from experienced professionals that understand dual diagnosis and can provide the appropriate resources for recovery.

Birmingham Recovery Center offers dual diagnosis treatment in Birmingham, AL, and continued support after recovery. Our experienced team of dual diagnosis specialists will provide evidence-based treatment, psychotherapy, medication management, and lifestyle change programs that are tailored to the individual’s needs. Additionally, we provide a safe and supportive environment for recovery so our clients can work towards lasting sobriety.

If you or someone you know is struggling with dual diagnosis in Birmingham, AL, contact Birmingham Recovery Center today to learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment program. We have the resources and expertise necessary to develop an effective dual diagnosis treatment plan that can help you achieve long-term recovery.

A Comprehensive Guide To Dual Diagnosis

When listening to stories from those with mental health disorders or substance abuse disorders, it may not come to mind that someone can battle both of these things at the same time. Unfortunately, this is more common than we might think. Studies have shown direct links between these two diagnoses. In fact, about half of people who struggle with mental illness will have a substance use disorder or the other way around. Dual diagnosis can make addiction recovery seem impossible. However, that could not be further from the truth. While it may be more challenging to overcome a dual diagnosis, it is definitely possible.

What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis, or a co-occurring disorder, is when a person experiences both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder simultaneously. Both substance use disorders and mental health disorders are powerful in their own respects. However, they can both lead to more severe issues down the road.

It is not uncommon for a person with a substance use disorder to develop a mental health issue or vice versa. The link between the two is complex because every person’s story is different. No one thing is to blame for either of these disorders. Rather, there are several factors that play a role in the development of either of these disorders, let alone a dual diagnosis.

The Challenges of Dual Diagnosis

Both mental illness and substance abuse come with their challenges. However, when put together, new issues arise while the initial challenges become enhanced. Here are some examples of problems that may arise with dual diagnoses.

  • A constant cycle of relapse into either issue. Taking a step back from one treatment can cause a loss of progress in both.
  • Trouble managing the symptoms of both disorders
  • Issues finding medications that work well with both disorders
What Comes First: Drugs or Mental Health?

So, what causes what? The question on everyone’s mind is which comes first. Does substance abuse cause mental illness or vice versa?

There is no sure way to determine which one comes first. This is partially because every person has a different story. While some people may have had a mental health disorder first, others may have had a substance use disorder that lead to a mental health issue.

When Mental Illness Came First

If someone struggles with a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, they may begin using drugs as a way to self-medicate. Substances are known to give its users a relaxing feeling. In this scenario, those with mental illness may use substances to cope with the symptoms of their illness.

When Substance Abuse Came First

On the other hand, when a person has become addicted to a substance, the prolonged effects of the substance use can result in a mental health disorder. Addiction can lead to changes in brain chemistry. These changes can lead to issues such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Schizophrenia
What Are the Treatments Available for Dual Diagnosis?

Dual-diagnosis treatment is all about addressing both issues in a way that does not work against the other. Treatments are based on the conditions each person brings to the table.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to co-occurring disorders. In treatment, it doesn’t matter which came first. Instead, treatment is focused on effectively treating both disorders in a way that can be sustained in the long term. Some examples of treatment options that may be recommended include the following:

  • Medication
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Peer groups
  • Detoxing
  • Withdrawal management
  • Behavioral therapy
Finding the Right Treatment Program

Treating dual diagnosis is a sensitive matter, and it should be treated as such. Recovery is a lifelong journey, so it is important to choose the right team to help you through this difficult time. Here are some things to consider when looking for the right treatment center.


When searching for a treatment program, it is essential to ensure that they are appropriately licensed and accredited in the treatment of dual diagnoses. Not only should they have experience treating substance use disorders or mental illnesses, but they should also have experience in treating both concurrently.

Coordinated Care

Treatment programs should offer coordinated care so there is no lapse in treatment. This means the treatment center will communicate effectively across the care team. This will ensure that patients are receiving intentional and compassionate care from every person on their care team.


Addiction recovery does not matter overnight. Even after treatment is done, most people will need help staying on the right track to avoid relapse. This is especially true in dual diagnosis treatment. Not only are these patients fighting against substance addiction, they are also battling mental health disorders.

The right treatment center will offer aftercare programs and resources. This will be beneficial in learning healthy coping skills and reducing the chances of relapse. The right treatment center will also help patients learn more about their disorders and the role it plays in their lives. They will be able to help with employment and finding other resources that will help with staying on the path to long-term recovery.

Treat Your Dual Diagnosis at Birmingham’s Finest Recovery Center

Birmingham Recovery Center is a trusted Recovery Center in Birmingham, AL, that offers comprehensive treatment services for those who need them. A dual diagnosis is nothing to be ashamed of. At Birmingham Recovery Center, we do everything in our power to help our patients stay on the path to recovery. Whether they struggle with a mental illness or substance use disorder, we are here to help.

Our team of experienced experts is dedicated to helping individuals and their families find long-term recovery through evidence-based treatment plans and personalized care. We treat all our clients with patience and understanding.

For more information about dual diagnosis or any of our other offered services, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are here to help you or your loved one regain control of their life.

Dual Diagnosis: Dealing With Depression As Summer Comes To An End

As the days get cooler and shorter, it can become more challenging to manage depressive symptoms. For people with pre-existing addictions, this time of year can be more difficult than anything. Being affected by a dual diagnosis may make recovery seem impossible. However, with the care of the professionals at Birmingham Recovery Center, you are in great hands.

Here are a few tips to deal with depression during the colder months.

Is Seasonal Depression Real?

Major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is most commonly known as seasonal depression. Yes. It is a real thing that affects people all over the world. Most people who experience this disorder are more widely affected during the winter months.

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons. Unfortunately, people with addictions are not excluded from the effects of this disorder. If you or someone you know has a dual diagnosis of SAD and addiction, it is recommended to get help as soon as possible.

Fortunately, both of these conditions are treatable. However, if left untreated, the person struggling can be left on a recurring cycle of relapsing and falling further into depression.

Seasonal affective disorder is much more severe than a simple case of feeling sad. During months, when things begin to slow down and get darker, those affected can experience changes in their energy levels, mood, and other aspects of their lives.

Symptoms of SAD

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that tends to worsen as the season progresses. The symptoms of this condition are similar to those of major depressive disorder and can be incredibly dangerous when paired with a substance use disorder. Here are some common symptoms of SAD to be aware of.

  • Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Slowed movements
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue

Although the causes of SAD are not well understood, there is a clear connection between substance use disorders and seasonal affective disorder. A person can receive a dual diagnosis when they find relief in using a substance to ease the symptoms of SAD. This can become a dangerous cycle and makes it more challenging to get better.

What Can You Do to Combat SAD?

To be treated effectively, both disorders must be addressed concurrently. The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can trigger a relapse. While it is vital to get treatment for both of these disorders, it is also essential to be proactive in trying to combat seasonal depression.

Here are a few ways to deal with the symptoms of seasonal depression and substance use disorder dual diagnosis as the months go by.

Find Support Groups in Your Area

One of the most helpful parts of recovery is having support. Depressive thoughts thrive in isolation. Therefore, it is essential to be surrounded by people who understand your situation and help you feel connected. Some support groups may be specific to your location. However, more popular groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can be found all over the globe.

Finding support in your close family and friends may be challenging. Instead of getting no help at all, it may be helpful to seek assistance elsewhere.

Write in a Journal

For those who are not comfortable sharing their thoughts and emotions with others, they might find it helpful to keep a journal. Reading and journaling have proven to have several benefits on the road to recovery. Being able to take the negative thoughts out of your head and put them on paper without fear of judgment can be helpful in managing depressive thoughts.

Instead of turning to a substance to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal depression, you may find journaling to be a more healthy outlet. Some people might not have an easy time coming up with the words to describe their feelings. These people can still find use in journaling. Instead of words, they might find it more helpful to use images or paintings to display their emotions.

Try New Outdoor Activities

No matter if it is sunny or cold outside, getting outside to try new activities can significantly boost your mental health. Taking the time to enjoy and become a part of nature is a great way to deal with the symptoms of seasonal depression. There are a ton of activities that can be done during the colder months that do not require much effort. Understandably, depression makes it challenging to be interested in activities. However, moving your body and finding new interests can be beneficial in combating the symptoms of the condition.

One of the most suggested activities is walking. Whether it is a walk around your neighborhood or taking a hike with some close friends, walking can immediately improve your mood. Some other winter activities include sledding, ice skating, or snowboarding if you live in a colder climate.

Maintain a Healthy and Balanced Diet

Fueling your body with healthy foods can be helpful in fighting some symptoms of seasonal depression. Although it may be easier to eat whatever is close, being healthy and hydrating is a great way to stay on track in your recovery journey. It may be challenging to stay hydrated and healthy. However, being healthy can help with some key symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, such as fatigue and slowed movements.

Begin Your Recovery Journey With Birmingham Recovery Center in Birmingham, AL

It has been proven that mental illness and addiction can have a hand in making the other worse. At Birmingham Recovery Center, we understand the importance of dual diagnosis. For this reason, we offer comprehensive treatment services that help people with addictions and mental illness live more fulfilling lives.

At Birmingham Recovery Center, we have the expertise and resources to help you overcome your addiction. Seasonal Affective Disorder can heavily impact a person with an addiction. Contact Birmingham Recovery Center to find out how our evidence-based treatment plans can help you or your loved one. We are here to help you or your loved one stay on the path to recovery.