Dual Diagnosis: Mental Illness and Addiction

Dual diagnosis is defined as a drug or alcohol addiction that occurs alongside at least one mental illness.  Getting a dual diagnosis can be kind of tricky.  Often in people who suffer from addiction as well as mental illness, the one problem fuels the other.  The addiction may bring out the symptoms of the mental illness or the mental illness may be one of the causes of the addiction.  Treatment can be difficult as well. Sometimes people with both a mental illness and an addiction are treated for one and not the other.  For example, a person who exhibits signs of an addiction will be treated in an addiction recovery program and then released because the addiction is dealt with.  Since the mental illness has not been dealt with, the person in question will exhibit symptoms of mental illness and then turn back to addiction in order to self-medicate.  The reverse is also true. People can be treated for a mental illness and will go through withdrawal because they do not have access to their drug of choice.  But once given a clean bill of health, they may continue with the addiction that did not receive attention while he or she was being treated for the mental illness.

Because of all of this, dual diagnosis is receiving a lot of attention directed at the specific needs of the dual diagnosis patient.  One of the elements of dual diagnosis that is being looked at is which mental illnesses occur most often with addiction.  There are several that come up fairly frequently.

Addiction and Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is the most common dual diagnosis mental illness.  People who suffer from bipolar disorder are at a very high risk for abusing drugs or alcohol.  During a manic cycle, these people often engage in risky behavior.  This includes the excessive use of drug and alcohol.  Alcohol abuse is more frequently associated with the depressive cycle of bipolar disorder.  Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish which symptoms are the result of the bipolar disorder and which symptoms are the result of the addiction.

Addiction and Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is very often a symptom of drug or alcohol addiction.  These addictions will leave the user feeling paranoid and unable to appropriately cope with stress.  On the other side, anxiety can occur first, and the sufferer may turn to drugs and alcohol in order to cope with the anxiety.  A person is more likely to receive a dual diagnosis from the anxiety occurring first and the addiction occurring second than the other way around.  Often, is the anxiety is occurring as a result of the addiction, the anxiety will go away when the addiction does.  If the anxiety occurred first, than it will need to be treated in addition to the addiction.

Addiction and Depression

The combination of addiction and depression is usually all about self-medication.  On one side, some people can develop depression in response to an addiction.  They may feel hopeless or stressed because of the lying or the risky behavior associated with addiction.  They may even turn to more drugs or alcohol for relief thus fueling the addiction even further.  On the other side, like with anxiety disorders, the drug or alcohol abuse may be a way of coping with the effects of depression.  Either way, the addiction is “treating” the depression.  And both ways could be considered for a dual diagnosis.

Addiction and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is very commonly a disorder worthy of dual diagnosis.  PTSD is caused when something traumatic happens near or to a person.  There are many different kinds of symptoms associated with PTSD such as insomnia, aches and pains, flashbacks, general paranoia and anxiety, and dissociative episodes.  Many sufferers turn to drugs or alcohol to help themselves deal with some of these symptoms and end up with an addiction problem.  As the sufferers of PTSD struggle to deal with the mental illness, their addiction builds.

Getting the right kind of help when you suffer from a dual diagnosis is essential.  Take some time to make the treatment decisions for yourself or for your loved one seriously and with a lot of thought given to the kinds of mental illnesses that are involved.  While dual diagnosis may be more difficult to treat, it is not impossible.  There is hope.

Six Ways to Make the Best of Communal Living: Halfway Houses for Women

If you are very used to living on your own, learning to live in a communal setting can seem daunting.  It brings up images of sororities houses and dormitories and hippie communes.  All of these images may seem overwhelming to someone who have been living alone. But there are ways to make yourself feel better and ways to survive the jungle of communal living with your sanity intact.

Be nice but not too nice

Everyone in a halfway house is likely to be a little bit on edge.  These women are probably all coming out of rehab and just learning how to navigate the world in a real way after becoming clean and sober.  Taking a little time to treat everyone with the care, kindness, and respect that you would like to be treated with will make your halfway house experience a good one.  It is important to be kind and compassionate, but not at the expense of your own treatment and your own well-being.  If you are feeling like your kindness is being taken advantage of, take a step back and reevaluate your situation.  Set some boundaries for yourself and for the other women with whom you live.

Be conscientious about your duties

As one of the conditions of moving into the halfway house, you will probably be assigned some things to do.  These tasks are usually everyday housekeeping things like cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, cooking meals, washing dishes, and participating in other kinds of household maintenance.  Keep up with your assigned duties.  If you are conscientious most of the time, if you slip up once or twice and do not get your tasks done in a timely manner it is more likely to be forgiven by your housemates.  If you do not keep up on your tasks regularly, you may end up with a big problem with the other people who live with you.  There is little that causes resent as quickly as someone who is not pulling their weight.

Maintain your personal space and the personal space of others

If you have your own rooms, it is important not to violate anyone else’s personal space just as you would not want someone to violate yours.  Knock before going into another woman’s room and do not go into another woman’s room without permission.  If you are sharing a room with another woman, the same is true for her things and your things.  Do not go poking around in her drawers or under her bed even if you are desperate for a nail file, and you know she has one somewhere. It just is not good manners, and it can lead others to believe that you are not to be trusted.

Respect everyone’s differences

You and your housemates are going to be coming from all different places.  You have likely all gone though some recovery treatment, but it may not have been the same kinds of treatment.  You will all have different backgrounds and different stories.  Get to know the women you are living with and get to know their stories.  This might give you some insight into how best to talk to them and deal with them.  You may find that there is something in particular that someone does or does not like that you never would have thought of.

Keep up your determination

You have worked very hard to get to where you are.  There are going to be women who fall off the wagon while you are in the halfway house.  You must hold on to your hope and keep determined and remember why you are working toward living a permanently clean and sober life.

When all else fails, use baked goods

You will never make friends faster than when you bake some kind of amazing treat.  Something as simple as Rice Crispy Treats or Chocolate Chip Cookies can bring you all together to talk and eat and build the community that you would like to have in this halfway situation.

Four Signs You Might Be Addicted To Shopping

Have your friends ever called you a shopaholic?  If they do, take a minute to think about how much time you spend shopping and the feeling you get when you purchase something new.  While shopping can sometimes be used in moderation to make you feel a little better about something that is going on in your life, there is a line to how shopping can really be used.  If you find that you are constantly using shopping as a way to deal with problems or you find that you must buy something all the time, it is possible that you have are addicted to shopping or have compulsive buying disorder.

woman addicted to shopping

Compulsive shopping disorder was originally thought to be mostly an affluent white woman’s disease, but recent studies indicate that shopping addiction can affect people of any age, race, or financial bracket.  According to Elizabeth Svoboda in Psychology Today, shopping addiction affects more than one out of every 20 Americans in varying degrees.

If you are concerned that you or someone you love is addicted to shopping, or has “retail therapy syndrome,” then there are some warning signs to look out for.

Excessive and Impulsive Spending

Some compulsive buyers have a particular item that they get a specific feeling from purchasing while others just like to buy things.  To the average person, excessive may feel like buying something large and expensive that you do not entirely have the money for like a high end television or one pair of Jimmy Choo pumps.  But to a shopaholic, excessive might mean 5 pairs of Jimmy Choo’s and 4 televisions.  Compulsive buyers are likely to carry large amounts of credit card debt and carry multiple card that are all close to their spending limits.

Experiencing Extra Intense Feelings when Shopping

It is completely normal to get a little thrill out of making a good purchase.  Maybe you get happy when you are buying just the right gift or when you finally make a purchase you have been saving up for, but true shopaholics describe the feeling they get as being very much like the high one would get from drugs.  That high drives the compulsive shopper to want more, to spend more, and to ultimately buy more whether it is a sound decision or not.  Shopping addicts are unable to control their urges to shop, just like with other kinds of addictive behaviors.  They have a sense of excitement about the purchase before it is made and the rush of reward once the purchase is completed.

Big Debt and Serious Financial Difficulty

Credit card debt is generally considered to be bad debt whereas the debt accumulated from going to school or buying a house is generally considered good debt.  Good debt can work in your favor.  If you pay on time and work diligently toward paying it down, it can give you credibility when you go to ask for other types of loans.  Bad debt just makes you look like a liability on paper.  If you have mountains of credit card bills on several credit cards and only pay the minimum balance, it is very unlikely that money lenders will take a risk on you.

Shopping addicts often carry large credit card balances that teeter on the brink of being maxed out.  They may have many credit cards that are like this.  While they know the financial complications, they are still unlikely to be able to stop shopping without getting professional help.

Continuing to Shop Regardless of Negative Feelings about Being Addicted to Shopping

People who suffer from a shopping addiction often feel tension and anxiety when they are attempting to resist the urge to shop.  They can also feel depressed and guilty when they have given in to the urge to shop and then again when thy think about their growing debts.  Those feelings of shame and guilt can trigger the shopping addiction and cause the sufferer to seek the high that comes along with making purchases despite the negative consequences.

Compulsive buying can be treated with the proper professional help and the right kinds of therapy.  Eventually, a person who has sought help can learn to resist the urge to make purchases and can start healing – mentally and financially – from being addicted to shopping.

Group Therapy Under the Delray Model: How Is It Different?

Many people think of the 12-step program, or other recovery self-help programs, when they think of group therapy for addiction. But group therapy for addiction under the Delray Model is different. At the Delray Model, our group therapy sessions are led and directed by a professional addiction counselor who can help group members address their issues properly and process difficult emotions and traumatic events.

Self-help recovery support groups like AA typically do not benefit from the guidance of a trained professional addiction counselor. That doesn’t mean those groups aren’t beneficial. They help recovering addicts share their experience, get advice from others who’ve been through similar situations, and build a sense of community. But they are not the place to go for an evidence-based psychotherapeutic approach to addiction treatment.

Group therapy for addiction under the Delray Model incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy involves identifying the patterns of thought behind your addictive behaviors, then changing those thoughts and, by extension, your behaviors. Dialectical behavioral therapy is a similar therapeutic model that helps people identify counterproductive or harmful thoughts or beliefs, develop emotional regulation skills, build interpersonal skills, and identify and celebrate strengths and achievements.

At the Delray Model, we believe that our clients receive the maximum benefit from group therapy by staying with the same group over the long term. Unlike some inpatient programs where group therapy with the same group lasts only a few weeks, we at the Delray Model like to keep our clients with the same therapy group for several months or even years. This allows clients to form real bonds with the other members of their therapy group, and to delve as deeply as possible into the emotional and psychological issues behind their addictive behaviors.

At the Delray Model, we believe there’s no substitute for a trained addiction counselor when it comes to tackling the causes of addiction. While uncovering and resolving the issues behind addiction takes time, it is work that’s well worth doing. Call us today at 1-888-415-0708 to learn what the Delray Model of addiction treatment can do for you.

Spice Addiction Delray Beach Programs Bring a Holistic Approach to Addiction Treatment

Spice addiction Delray Beach treatment programs are here to help you shake off addiction to Spice, or synthetic marijuana. Spice addiction Delray Beach treatment programs let you get help for your addiction to Spice without leaving the Palm Beach County area. If you’re looking for a place to get away to seek treatment for Spice addiction, Delray Beach addiction treatment facilities are a great alternative. Here in Delray Beach, you’ll be able to get help for your Spice addiction from knowledgeable, caring professionals who will offer you a holistic approach to treatment.

Here at The Delray Model, our trained staff understands that Spice addiction is as grave a matter as any other drug addiction, even if some forms of Spice may still be legal in many states. When it comes to Spice addiction, Delray Beach programs will help you not just get off Spice, but will help you investigate the reasons you feel the need to abuse drugs in the first place. With individual and group counseling for your Spice addiction, Delray Beach addiction treatment programs seek to help you understand yourself and your problems. In your battle with Spice addiction, Delray Beach programs will arm you with new coping and confrontational skills to help you endure the hardships of life without leaning on the crutch of Spice addiction.

Spice addiction is a serious matter. Just like other drugs, Spice can make you into a different person – someone you might not recognize, who might not be much fun, who might shirk responsibilities and neglect relationships. In your struggle against the demons of Spice addiction, Delray Beach addiction therapists are on your side. To learn more about how we at The Delray Model can help you overcome Spice addiction, call 1-888-415-0708 today. We understand what you’re going through, and we’d love to hear from you.