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Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Arkansas
addiction rehab

Dual diagnosis is the name given to the simultaneous diagnosis of an addiction and a mental health disorder, and it is commonly recognized in Arkansas rehabs to be an important aspect of addiction treatment and recovery. Dual diagnosis is sometimes known as co-existing disorders or co-occurring disorders to emphasize the fact that the disorders and addiction occur together and influence each other. Addiction sometimes causes or worsens the mental health problem, while in other cases the mental health issue comes first and later leads to addiction, often through self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, but sometimes it is impossible to say which condition is the root cause. Both are risk factors for the other, and a vicious cycle tends to be the result.


Mental Health Issues in Dual Diagnosis

The most common mental health issues associated with addiction in Arkansas are depression, mood disorders, excessive anxiety or panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and psychoses. Trauma and the post-traumatic stress disorder that results, are also commonly associated with addictions. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Arkansas ranks among the highest states in rates of serious mental health disorders in adults aged 18 or older.

Although mental health disorders can be associated with any type of substance abuse, certain combinations are more common. For example, depression and alcohol addiction are often linked. Depression is a common problem in our culture, and alcohol is an easily accessible substance that is seen by many to be an effective means of self-medication for depression. It does not actually work, however, because alcohol is itself a chemical depressant and tends to make depression worse. As the addiction worsens it affects many other aspects of the addict’s life, such as relationships, work, friendships, and the financial situation, and these can cause the depression to intensify.

Other drugs, such as benzodiazepine or other opiates or other drugs are often taken in an attempt to quell the racing thoughts that are often experienced by people with OCD. Opiate drugs are sometimes prescribed for the treatment of OCD, and this can lead to later addiction.

Addictions to drugs and alcohol also often co-exist with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia. The reason seems to be that addictions and eating disorders are all linked to low self-esteem and lack of confidence, often stemming from a history of child abuse or trauma. The similarities are so strong that some specialists now classify eating disorders as addictions.


After patients have withdrawn from the drug or alcohol through medical detox, they are assessed to determine if a mental health problem is also present. The professionals at the drug or alcohol treatment center look for hormone imbalances that can result from conditions like post-traumatic stress. If biological problems are present they are addressed, usually by medications, before antipsychotic or antidepressant medications are tried.

Dual diagnosis treatment in Arkansas is recognized at most rehabs. All mental health disorders that are present are treated at the same time as the addiction, since this has been shown to be the most effective approach. The integrated model of treatment means that many rehabs employ specialists in mental health as well as addiction. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) has released a kit for integrated treatment of co-occurring disorders to ensure cross-trained specialists and integrated medication services are available for patients in dual diagnosis treatment in Arkansas.

Many of the therapies used for dual diagnosis treatment in Arkansas were designed for addiction but also help the mental health problems. They include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, individual counseling, and relapse prevention measures. Alternative treatments such as restorative yoga, meditation, and art or music therapy can also benefit the mental health disorder as well as the addiction.

Professional Help

Overcoming a substance abuse problem requires all of a person’s concentration and focus, often combined with the help of medical and addiction professionals. Reach out to an addiction specialist for help today.