Mental illnesses, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction, often come in pairs. When someone suffers from more than one mental illness it is referred to as a Dual Diagnosis. Dual Diagnosis patients are treated differently than other patients, since both illnesses must be dealt with simultaneously. Dual Diagnosis patients receive treatment in outpatient or inpatient facilities depending on insurance benefits, symptoms and level of care required. When seeking treatment for a Dual Diagnosis, it is important to focus on those facilities that specialize in this type of care. The right care at the right time can help people struggling with a Dual Diagnosis live a normal life.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an extreme response to feelings of extreme danger brought on by a traumatic experience, even when the person is no longer in danger. PTSD often happens as a result of exposure to combat, assault, sexual assault and abuse, a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or flood, or child abuse. Scientists are currently working to discover specific causes of PTSD. Genetic studies, including how fear memories are created, are helping to refine existing treatments or create new ones that will reduce the symptoms of the disorder.
Not everyone who is exposed to trauma will develop PTSD. Certain individuals seem more prone to the disorder. These individuals include:
The symptoms of PTSD include some or all of the following:
Children often have additional symptoms that may indicate PTSD. These include bedwetting, unusual clinginess to parents, losing the ability to talk or acting out the traumatic event during playtime.
There are several additional anxiety disorders that can accompany PTSD. Having more than one of these disorders at a time, or having an anxiety disorder with PTSD, results in a Dual Diagnosis. Other anxiety disorders include the following (taken from The National Institute of Mental Health):
Dual Diagnosis disorders require simultaneous treatment in order to be successful. Many of those who struggle with mental illness also struggle with addiction. Finding treatment that addresses all of these issues is important for true recovery. Dual Diagnosis treatment often involves a combination of medications, psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Along with these types of therapies, addressing any physical concerns caused by or related to mental health is also a part of the process. Finding treatment that recognizes the mind-body connection is important. In addition to various individual and group therapies, programs that offer nutrition counseling, physical activity, meditation and spiritual guidance options can also be helpful. For many Dual Diagnosis patients, receiving treatment in an inpatient facility is recommended. This allows those who are struggling to fully focus on treatment and healing.
Your facility’s intake counselor will help you understand your insurance coverage and the treatment options that are available to you. Recognizing you have a problem and reaching out for help is the first step on the path to a new life.
Having a Dual Diagnosis of PTSD and anxiety requires highly specialized treatment for recovery success. The right diagnosis and treatment program can help you live a normal life. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction or mental illness, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.