Common Misconceptions about Dual Diagnosis Treatment: What You Need to Know

January 4, 2017 - - 0 CommentsCommon Misconceptions about Dual Diagnosis Treatment: What You Need to Know

If you are searching for dual diagnosis treatment for women, you probably have some preconceived notions about addiction. Whether you are a woman who requires dual diagnosis residential treatment for women, or a family member who is trying to help, it’s easy to get confused about what’s fact and what’s fiction. We take pride in being a credible source for information about addiction treatment. Let’s discuss some commonly held beliefs many people have about addiction that are actually false. We’ll expose these myths and give you the cold-hard facts, so you and your loved ones can make informed decisions about your dual diagnosis treatment.

Addicts have little willpower.

As you grapple with the fact that you or someone you care about has a problem with drugs or alcohol, you may have gotten swept up in the most common line of thinking: that those with addictions have poor willpower. If you are a woman struggling with an alcohol or drug problem, you may feel shame because you aren’t simply able to stop because you want to.

Research tells us that addiction is a brain disease that inhibits a person’s ability to make healthy choices in favor of seeking out and using the drug of choice.[1]Genetics, environment, and development all play a role in a person’s likelihood of developing an addiction. With such powerful factors at play, having a strong will simply isn’t enough to quit using a drug once dependency occurs.

Drugs and alcohol can help people cope with mental illness.

This myth isn’t so much stated aloud as it is exemplified by a range of people, from the worker who is stressed out by the job and turns to a drink or the person with an undiagnosed bipolar disorder who uses marijuana to relieve symptoms. Despite what many believe, drugs and alcohol will not make these conditions better. This tendency is referred to by clinicians as self-medication.[2] Surprisingly enough, it often contributes to co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse (or dual diagnosis).[3]

Mental illness and addiction are two separate issues.

Most laymen view substance abuse and mental illness as two unrelated problems. This misconception is probably fueled by lack of information regarding the causes of addiction. Basically, addiction is a type of mental illness because drug use inherently changes the way the brain functions.[4] Since brain dysfunction is at the core of many psychiatric disorders, the two are quite similar.

Because of this disturbed brain functioning, mental illness and substance abuse commonly occur together, as in dual diagnosis. In a complex chicken-or-the-egg relationship, it can be difficult to surmise which caused which. Does a person’s inborn psychiatric disorder lead to addiction, or does substance abuse result in mental health problems? The answer varies from person to person.[5]

You have to treat one condition at a time.

Because it’s sometimes impossible to determine whether the addiction led to the mental illness or vice versa, the best case scenario for treatment requires a combined, two-fold approach. To effectively treat dual diagnosis in women, the person must completely stop using drugs or alcohol. In addition, the individual needs to address interpersonal, emotional and behavioral problems that contributed to their condition as well. Frequently, clinicians in specialized dual diagnosis treatment centers find that the best approach involves inpatient rehabilitation, pharmacological intervention, psychotherapy, 12-step programs, and support groups.

Now that you’ve got the facts straight on addiction and mental illness, you can decide on dual diagnosis treatment for women that best meets your needs.

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