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Dual Diagnosis Programs in Birmingham, AL 
(205) 319-3099

When a person is deemed medically to have mental disorders coexistent with drug or alcohol addiction, the term “dual diagnosis” is used to describe the condition and the patient. A dual diagnosis is often made when a patient seeks treatment for alcohol or drug addiction problems, and it becomes apparent, during their evaluation, that there are also mental problems present.

The presence of coexisting medical problems can remain hidden for a considerable amount of time, delaying the dual diagnosis. Those patients who have mental disorders very often cannot recognize this due to their diminished capacity to think logically and clearly. Such patients will often visit a doctor for medical help because they are suffering from some problem like the inability to sleep properly, or the inability to relax.

During the course of the consultation with the doctor, the underlying mental issues may not be apparent, and the doctor may issue a prescription for medication to treat insomnia or anxiety. A patient may find that the prescribed drugs provide some relief. However, since the underlying mental problems are still there, the patient will not get better.

Instead, the patient may make repeat visits to the doctor for new prescriptions, or for stronger dosages. At the same time, he or she may exceed the prescribed dose, and also turn to other substances, such as alcohol, to boost the effect of the prescribed drug. On top of all this, the patient will start developing a tolerance to the drugs, and will need ever-larger doses to get the same level of relief.

No matter which disorder resulted first, the treatment specialists at Alcohol Treatment Centers Birmingham understand the importance of treating both simultaneously. To find out more about our dual diagnosis treatment programs, call us at (205) 319-3099.

Examples of Co-Existing Disorders

Any combination of substance abuse combined with mental disorder is dual diagnosis, and there are many different combinations amongst addicts. However, there is a clear correlation between some mental disorders and the types of drugs to which these patients tend to form addictions. Prescription drug abuse involving drugs like benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) is often associated with people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as those with panic and anxiety disorders.

Alcohol is one of the substances most abused by people with mental disorders. It is often dually diagnosed with almost every type of mental disorder. Abuse of alcohol is frequently associated with people suffering from depression. Alcohol tends to mask depression.

Unfortunately, alcohol has a depressive effect on the brain, and over-indulgence can lead to a worsening of the depression. Alcohol abuse is also common with people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Prevalence of Dual Diagnosis

More than 16 million American adults admit to abusing alcohol frequently. When this statistic is combined with the fact that 5.66% Americans were treated for serious mental disorders within the last 12 months, we can see why most medical experts believe that there are millions of people with a dual diagnosis in the United States.

Helping dual diagnosis patients to get back to a normal life is more difficult than treating addiction on its own. A successful outcome depends on the patient receiving treatment for both the mental illness and the addiction problem.

Our treatment experts at Alcohol Treatment Centers Birmingham can provide this type of care for patients. Call us to discuss your options for rehabilitation and recovery at (205) 319-3099.

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