How to Help a Loved One With Dual Diagnosis?

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Having someone close to you struggle with addiction is an incredibly difficult thing. However, all that pain and worries are multiplied once a person you love is dealing with a dual diagnosis. Mood disorders are a common occurrence in the addiction world, as addiction is usually accompanied by some kind of mental disorder. The best thing an individual with a dual diagnosis can do is seek a reliable addiction treatment center in Florida where they can get the appropriate treatment. As a friend, family member, or partner of someone with a dual diagnosis, there’s plenty that you can do to be of assistance. Here are some ways you can help a loved one with dual diagnosis, which will get them to feel supported, safe, and secure.

Three women hugging.
A loved one’s support can make all the difference during addiction treatment.

What is a dual diagnosis?

Let’s begin with the basics. A dual diagnosis is a condition where a person that is addicted to a substance also has a mental disorder. These two conditions in pair are nothing new or out of the ordinary, as 50% of people who are struggling with a mental disorder will also suffer from substance abuse at some point. It’s important to mention that a dual diagnosis is a relatively new concept, as many drug and alcohol rehab Boynton Beach centers have treated individuals for either mood disorders or addiction – but never the two in pair.

It has been estimated that a dual diagnosis affects approximately 8.9 million Americans every year. That’s quite a staggering number. Unfortunately, it is reported that only 7.4% of those 8.9 million Americans receive the appropriate treatment for their diagnosis.

Lately, it has been brought to the public’s attention that mood disorders and addiction are best treated simultaneously. Both of these conditions are treatable, but only once the right approach is implemented. Getting a dual diagnosis might seem like reaching the point of sobriety is going to be more difficult. In reality, this is a great step, as it allows professionals to work on treating the root cause, as well as the consequence.

Why do mood disorders and substance abuse occur together?

It’s generally difficult to predict whether a person’s mood disorder was brought upon by substance abuse or the other way around. In essence, which one came first isn’t of crucial importance. What is important is to find alcohol or drug rehab in Boynton Beach that will help you treat both. Experts agree that there are a couple of reasons why we oftentimes see substance abuse and mental disorders happening together.

  • Both substance abuse and mental disorders have common risk factors. Stress, genetics, and environmental factors can all contribute to the development of addiction or a mood disorder.
  • People who already suffer from a mental disorder will oftentimes resort to drugs in order to feel better. Forbidden substances provide them with temporary comfort and present a form of self-medication.
  • On the other hand, abusing alcohol or drugs can lead a person to develop some mood disorders. Certain substances can change our brains, making us more susceptible to drug or alcohol use.
Wooden cubes that spell out mental health.
Mental disorders aren’t always the ones causing addictions. There are many times when it’s the other way around.

If your loved one has received a dual diagnosis, you will have to double up on patience and understanding. Dealing with addiction and mental disorders is difficult when only one of them is present. But having to tackle both at the same time is a challenge of massive proportions – both for the person dealing with it and the ones close by.

Rates of increased risk

Not every mental disorder is the same. Thus, people with different mental disorders will have different risks of developing an addiction. Mental Health America has created a list that shows at what rate patients with distinct mental health disorders usually succumb to substance abuse. The following statistics can help you estimate whether your loved one is at an increased risk of receiving a dual diagnosis:

  • Antisocial personality disorder: 15.5%
  • Manic disorder: 14.5%
  • Schizophrenia: 10.1%
  • Panic disorder: 4.3%
  • Major depressive disorder: 4.1%
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): 3.4%
  • Phobias: 2.4%

Please bear in mind that these are just estimates. While the chances that a person with a phobia will develop a substance abuse disorder are slim, these things still happen on a regular basis. Thus, take these percentages as nothing more than general guidelines.

How to help a loved one with dual diagnosis?

Approaching an individual that is dealing with addiction and detox is complex – so is approaching someone who is suffering from a mental condition. However, finding a way to help someone struggling with both is something that can have you worried and confused. For starters, we suggest you don’t beat yourself up for not knowing how to act and what to say around your loved one. You are already doing enough simply by being worried and researching what the right course of action is. As for what you should do once someone you love is receiving treatment for a dual diagnosis, consider the following things to be of crucial importance.

Two women talking about how to help a loved one with dual diagnosis.
The support of the community and beloved individuals can give one the motivation it needs to reach sobriety.

Be a good listener

Sometimes, all a person needs is someone who will listen to them. Addicts are not different. In fact, they need even more support and compassion than a person without an addiction. Thus, if someone you love is currently dealing with a dual diagnosis, we suggest you show up for them. Don’t try to impose any of your opinions, worries, or suggestions on them. Instead, be their best friend who will listen about their struggles, problems, and experiences. Whether they want to talk about their therapy inside a meth rehab Boynton Beach facility or their thoughts for the day, it’s your only job to listen to them.

Be understanding

Some find it hard to understand addicts. There are many people who believe that addiction is a choice and not an illness, which is why they aren’t full of understanding. If you want to help someone you love deal with a dual diagnosis, this kind of thinking will have to go. Rare are those people who choose to get addicted to drugs or alcohol. And we all know that mental disorders don’t discriminate, as they can happen to people of all ages and nationalities. Thus, when talking to someone who is dealing with a dual diagnosis, your first task will be to practice compassion. Be full of understanding of the struggles your loved one is experiencing, and try to put yourself in their shoes. You’ll certainly gain a different perspective once you realize this is something that could happen to you, too.

Don’t take charge

As much as you would like to take the reins and convince your loved one to go into meth, heroin, or crack cocaine rehab at Boynton Beach, the truth is that you have no control over their actions. The only person whose actions you can control and influence are yours. Individuals with a dual diagnosis are very sensitive, and they are highly unlikely to respond well to pressure. Thus, if you want to help a loved one with dual diagnosis, you should let them come to you. Once that trust is established, it will be much easier for you to help them realize that they could benefit from a rehabilitation center.

The word trust written in sand.
Trust is built, and it is going to be of crucial importance when trying to help a loved one deal with a dual diagnosis.

Help them find the right treatment center

Once your loved one admits that they need help with their dual diagnosis, there’s a good chance they will turn to you for guidance. Many addicts rely on the people closest to them when it comes to finding the right treatment center. Likewise, there are good chances that you have been eagerly waiting for this to happen. This will be your moment to actually do something tangible to help a loved one with dual diagnosis.

For starters, find an addiction treatment center that will be located in a peaceful and serene setting. Likewise, take it upon yourself to contact a few facilities and inquire about their programs. If your loved one is deep into heroin or meth addiction, you are going to need a facility with a good Inpatient program. Moreover, you will want to ensure that the rehab facility you opt for has trained and qualified professionals, and offers a variety of therapies and therapeutic activities. When it comes to addiction treatment, medication and detox can only get one so far. The real secret to success lies in therapy and acquiring healthy coping mechanisms.

Be involved in the treatment

Once a person seeks help for their addiction, they will start to attend many therapy sessions. Depending on the level of care they get placed in, individuals can partake in different trauma, individual, group, and dual diagnosis sessions. Every one of these sessions will bear equal importance on the road to recovery. It’s important to mention that there are some types of therapy sessions where a person’s family, friends, and partners will be able to participate. You shouldn’t hesitate to grab such an opportunity if it presents itself.

Chairs in different colors.
Group therapies are an integral part of addiction treatment where an addict’s loved ones can play an active role.

Chances are great that your loved one will be happy to have you there. Your presence alone will help them feel supported and cherished, which are two things that can be of crucial importance in addiction treatment. Creating a safe and secure environment is a prerequisite for alcohol and drug rehabilitation, and your presence can greatly contribute to that desired atmosphere.

How to help a loved one with dual diagnosis in case of a relapse?

Unfortunately, when it comes to addiction, there isn’t a one size fits all approach. Many individuals will face a relapse at some point in time. In these situations, it’s important to be as understanding and compassionate as you were at the beginning of the process. Start by having a heart-to-heart conversation with the person that seems to be relapsing. Remember to keep your judgments at bay, and provide understanding for what the person seems to be going through.

Secondly, help the one you love re-admit themselves into an addiction facility where they can be treated for their addiction, as well as their mood disorder. Going through all the levels of care once again will be essential for their future recovery. Moreover, another thing that will be of crucial importance is the timing. The sooner an addict seeks help, the better their chances of long-term success.

A black alarm clock.
It’s never too late to seek help for a dual diagnosis or a relapse. However, it’s best to act in a timely manner.

Always bear in mind that healing isn’t linear. Plenty of obstacles can present themselves on the way to long-term sobriety. Luckily, all of them one can overcome with the right support from a suitable professional. Of course, the best results are gotten once professional help is combined with love that comes from friends and family members.

The bottom line

If you want to help a loved one with dual diagnosis, there are quite a few things that you can do. However, everything revolves around being compassionate and understanding of their situation. Dealing with mood disorders and addiction isn’t easy – especially when the two of them act combined. And while you might have a hard time watching the person you love deal with a dual diagnosis, you can rest assured that they are having a much harder time. Thus, make sure that they feel and see your support.


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