Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options
If a person is struggling with substance abuse and a mental illness like an anxiety disorder, he or she will need to enter into a dual diagnosis treatment program. Up until recently, addiction issues and mental illnesses were treated in separate facilities. However, it was discovered that since the two disorders are closely connected, in order for recovery from one issue to be effective, both issues need to be treated at the same time. Otherwise, the symptoms associated with one of the issues was bound to lead to relapse.
For example, say a person gets sober in a residential rehab, but has an underlying anxiety issue that is not being adequately addressed. Once this person transitions back into fully independent living, they begin experiencing panic attacks. They do not know how to work through panic attacks in a healthy and productive way. Therefore, they do what they have always done. They reach for drugs or alcohol.
On the other side, say a person is treated for severe anxiety in a psychiatric ward. They are given medication to help with the anxiety disorder, and the medication is effective. They begin to feel much better, and are finally able to meet all personal obligations and live through an entire day without any crippling nervousness. However, she also drinks excessively on occasion — a problem that was not addressed in the psychiatric ward. The next time she has a binge drinking episode she forgets to take her medication, and the anxiety comes back (which in turn leads to more excessive drinking and more missed medication).
Anxiety and addiction are closely intertwined. In order for long-term recovery to be achieved, all underlying issues must be thoroughly addressed simultaneously and adequately treated.