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Dual Diagnosis Treatment in South Carolina


 Dual diagnosis is the term used when a person has a drug or alcohol addiction and a co-existing mental health disorder. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 50% of people who struggle with drug addiction also have at least one diagnosable mental illness. For this reason, dual diagnosis treatment in South Carolina is becoming more common.

It’s unclear whether the mental illness spark a cycle of addictive drug abuse in some people, or whether abusing certain types of drugs actually cause the symptoms of mental illnesses to develop.

For example, marijuana has been shown to induce symptoms of psychosis. Likewise, stimulant drugs such as crystal meth or cocaine have been shown to cause significant changes in the brain’s chemistry, which can trigger symptoms of severe depression.

Conversely, there are some mental health disorders that are commonly linked to substance addiction.

Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

Many people suffering with untreated mental health disorders have a high tendency to self-medicate in an effort to try and gain some control over their lives or to escape temporarily. Some of the more commonly linked disorders are:

Eating disorders and addiction: many people struggling with eating disorders tend to also have low self-esteem, distorted body image, and poor sense of self-worth. A high percentage of people with compulsive eating disorders have a higher risk of turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with or numb painful feelings. Others may turn to stimulant drugs to promote weight loss.

Depression and addiction: the link between alcohol and depression has been long established. Many people may turn to alcohol in an effort to boost mood. Yet alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that can worsen symptoms of depression.

OCD and addiction: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a debilitating form of anxiety that can cause a person to experience irrational fears and to engage in compulsive rituals. Research shows that more than 25% of people who seek treatment for OCD also struggle with a substance abuse disorder.

PTSD and addiction:  many people suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will turn to drugs or alcohol in an effort to numb painful thoughts or to escape from traumatic nightmares, memories, or flashbacks.

Anxiety and addiction: anxiety and panic disorders are commonly linked with addiction. Many people will turn to alcohol and drugs to temporarily relieve the distress that panic disorder can cause. Drugs and alcohol may provide a temporary way to calm down from a panic attack or to numb the feelings of fear that threaten to overwhelm the person. However, drugs and alcohol can actually trigger panic attacks, worsening the symptoms of the mental illness.

Available Treatments

In order for treatment to be successful, the right combination of integrated therapies needs to be planned out so that both conditions are treated simultaneously.  There’s no point treating the addictive disorder if the underlying mental illness remains untreated.  Likewise, there’s little point in treating only the mental health disorder if the substance addiction disorder isn’t also treated properly.

Integrated recovery treatments in South Carolina are designed specifically to overcome the effects of mental health disorders, while working on ways to address the self-destructive aspect of the addictive behavior.


In many cases, the recovering person may be prescribed with psychotherapeutic medications to treat the co-existing mental illness. Medication management also needs to take into account the pharmacology plan for treating the substance abuse disorder simultaneously.


Intensive counseling and behavioral therapy are also required to be geared towards dual diagnosis treatment in South Carolina. Therapy incorporates both disorders at the same time in order to help recovering people understand and address their individual relapse triggers. Treatment also includes teaching people to implement strong relapse prevention strategies designed to reduce the risk of relapse.


There are also specific dual diagnosis group support meetings available that provide a strong level of support and guidance for people recovering from both mental illness and addiction.



Importance of Aftercare Services


Completing dual diagnosis treatment in South Carolina is a great accomplishment. However, the journey to recovery is ongoing. Choosing a facility in South Carolina that offers comprehensive aftercare services is just as important as choosing the right treatment facility to provide the level of integrated care required to treat dual diagnosis.


Recovering people should have access to counselors, addiction specialists, medication management, support groups, and other recovery resources to provide the necessary assistance needed to reduce the risk of relapse.


For more information about dual diagnosis treatment programs, call a rehab recovery center to get the answers you need. Help is available.