Existence of co-occurring mental illness, or dual-diagnosis, implies a multi-faceted disease which, if left untreated, can result in serious consequences. Men suffering from the condition will develop drug dependency along with a psychiatric illness simultaneously. The conditions that may accompany drug dependency usually include obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorder, panic disorder, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Psychiatric illness and addiction are diseases of the brain. An individual vulnerable to one of these can be a victim of the other. Both diseases involve the same chemicals and pathways in the brain, so they share many similarities. For example, a person who suffers from cocaine abuse and schizophrenia will experience increased dopamine production in both instances.
In some instances, psychiatric illness can directly result from drug abuse but for the most part, the two don’t have any correlation. Most of the time, mental illness present alongside substance abuse would be long before the victim started using the drug; however the substance abuse problem will escalate the mental condition.
Complicating the condition is denial, which is most common in substance abuse. Patients find it difficult to admit how dependent they are on drugs and alcohol and how much they are adversely affecting their lives. Denial may also occur in instances of mental disorders; anxiety and depression symptoms can be frightening, so they may be ignored in the hope that they will go away. In case of men, they will be afraid that they will be viewed as weak if they admit the problem.
Dual diagnosis also acts as a barrier to wellbeing because of the following reasons:
· Men with dual diagnosis may not be able to escape from the catch 22 situation. Their mental problem keeps them imprisoned in their condition, and the addiction makes it challenging to treat their mental health issue.
· Many men will have had negative experiences in the past and may have been told that their real problem was the unwillingness to put enough effort into recovery a statement that holds no actual grounds.
· Mental issues may affect feelings of self worth, and victims may conclude that they do not deserve to get any better. Some may be unwilling to try new treatment options, and fail to realize that the issue is with their dual diagnosis and not with the recovery option.
· Men who are not aware of their condition will struggle to find satisfaction in recovery. They may relapse after deciding that life away from drugs is dissatisfying.
In the past few years there has been an increase in treatment solutions & resources available for individuals who deal with dual diagnosis. This means there are greater options for victims to escape their addiction and lead a good life in recovery. The following are known to be the most effective:
Treatment facilities: Dual diagnosis treatment centers for men can help victims to overcome challenges on the road to recovery. A facility that offers addiction counseling along with psychiatric care is recommended as such recovery centers are equipped to help patients reduce high-risk behaviors.
Medications: This option may help successfully manage the condition in some instance. As the co-occurring disorder affects the brain’s natural neurotransmitters, antidepressant medications may be prescribed to restore their balance.
Self-education: As mentioned above, patients may not be aware of their situation, so self-education may help make better lifestyle choices. The support of family and friends can encourage patients to educate themselves on the condition.