Supporting a Family Member with a Dual Diagnosis

Confusing several different types of afflictions happens far more commonly than many people realize. For example, depression and an addiction to alcohol exhibit many of the same outward signs and symptoms. When someone experiences interlocking problems, such as a dependency on alcohol and prescription medication, or depression and drug abuse, we call these “co-occurring disorders.” These issues require a dual diagnosis in order to find the cause of the problem, rather than relying on merely providing drug or alcohol addiction treatment on its own.

If your loved one is suffering from what appears to be depression, your whole family will likely be (or has already been) affected. In many cases, however, the depression is not the only affliction plaguing your loved one. He or she may also be dependent on illegal substances which further exacerbate the situation and push him or her deeper into the downward spiral. To provide support for your family member who might be experiencing co-occurring disorders which warrant a dual diagnosis, here are a few things you should know.

Do the Research

First of all, to better determine if your loved one is in fact suffering from co-occurring disorders, you should do your homework. Approaching someone who is depressed and a habitual substance abuser requires tact. Dig up as much credible information as you can through online research and consulting with professionals. Familiarizing yourself with the symptoms and signs of both depression and alcohol and/or drug addiction will help you decide on the best next steps.

Seeking Out Your Own Support System

Sometimes, an intervention is the only way to break through the mental barriers set up by your loved one and communicate the need for change and the concern and love you feel for him or her. Remember, however, to always enlist the aid of a qualified, knowledgeable professional who specializes in the realms of alcohol and drug addiction as well as mental health issues.
In addition, rallying the support of friends and family is vital, and not just for the sake of your loved one. Of course, an intervention is much more effective if more than one person is doing the intervening. You will not be able to help your loved one as effectively without a support network of your own to lean on. But you may also find the process of supporting your loved one to be draining on your own energy. That is why having someone you can look to for your own emotional recharging can help you successfully get through to your loved one.

Finding the Right Help

If you or a loved one suffers from co-occurring disorders, you should know that there is help available to you. The treatment of dual diagnosis patients requires expertise, compassion and finesse. At South Coast Counseling, our inpatient drug treatment center is staffed with professionals specializing in drug and alcohol abuse, and our dual diagnosis rehab center integrates addiction and mental health treatments. Our facilities are equipped to treat these and many more afflictions with skill and, importantly, compassion. Let us help you through this difficult time. Reach out to us today.

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