Dual Diagnosis: Understanding the Relationship Between Opioid Addiction and PTSD

Mental Health Issues Combined with Addiction

Dual Diagnosis – also known as co-occurrence, or co-occurring conditions – simply means that an individual is affected by both substance addiction and a mental health disorder. Treating dual diagnosis cases is a relatively new approach, which aims to treat and address a mental health diagnosis which directly correlates to addictive behaviors.

Dual Diagnosis – Opioid and PTSD Cases

Don't Be Alone with Your Co-Occaurring Disorder.Opioids, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin are powerful narcotics that are commonly used to treat acute or chronic pain. Both substances are known to be addictive, and the problem typically stems from the long-term use or using the medicine in a manner that is not as prescribed. This often starts with the individual taking higher doses than prescribed in order to fight pain as the body builds up a tolerance to the drug. Once the body builds this tolerance, the same dosage isn’t often effective at warding off the pain, leading individuals to use the drug in a way that leads to addiction.

PTSD – or post-traumatic stress disorder – is a mental health condition often exposed after an individual undergoes a traumatic, or series of traumatic events. This can be as simple as stress and anxiety at the workplace or can be caused by a number of other things such as a severe accident, death in the family, abuse, sexual assault, or commonly, combat operations undergone by soldiers returning home.

When combined, the two conditions create a potent disorder that leaves individuals fearful, angry, and confused as to what caused this downward spiral that led to addiction and stress pertaining to PTSD.

To further compound the matter, the two feed into one another, making the addictive behavior difficult to treat when there is not a solid approach to addressing addiction as well as the PTSD. PTSD often leads to continued stress and anxiety, which can be a major contributor to continued use of opioids to relieve both real and perceived pain as well as stress and anxiety associated with PTSD by self-medicating. On the other side of the coin, opioid addiction often leads to feelings of stress and loss of control over one’s life, which further fuels the desire to keep using.

Treating The Problem: How Prescott House Attacks Dual Diagnosis

Treating the problem is best left to a professional care facility or rehabilitation specialist that has extensive knowledge in the area of co-occurring disorders. Many centers attempt to treat one before the other or to treat them as separate entities that are not intimately connected, which – due to the compounding and synergistic effects of both conditions – may not be the most effective way to address mental health disorders in conjunction with addiction.

The conditions have to be tackled concurrently, so as not to leave any of the conditions that contributed to drug use, or PTSD unattended in the treatment process.

Prescott House manages this by taking a holistic approach to substance abuse treatment and mental health counseling. Each case is different, and our staff attempts to understand the unique challenges you face by recognizing the underlying factors that contribute to both conditions. Once these factors are recognized, Prescott House works out a treatment program that is designed to treat both conditions concurrently. Treatment methods vary on a case-by-case basis, but some of the most common are: the use of therapy (both group and individual) and cognitive behavioral therapy. Combination therapies have proven to be amongst the best treatment options for dealing with dual diagnosis cases, and Prescott House recognizes the benefits of flexible treatment options for dealing with each individual case.

At Prescott House, we pride ourselves in helping men who are struggling with a wide range of addiction, behavioral or mental health conditions. Contact us today to find out how we can help you overcome your dual diagnosis battle.

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