Dual-diagnosis simply refers to any diagnosis of addiction to an addictive substance (alcohol, cocaine, crack, heroine, etc) along with a diagnosis of a psychological disorder.  If you are in the Austin, Texas area and have been given a dual-diagnosis (or suspect one is warranted), there are several facilities and therapists in the area that can offer help. A simple Google search or even a search in your local directory will quickly lead you to several options. In this document, we’ll explore two of the common disorders that can accompany substance addiction.

Perhaps one of the most common disorders connected to substance addiction is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This condition became well known after World War II as “Shell shock.” Since then, the disorder has been more specifically defined and dual diagnosis treatment is more effective. The problem with treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is that it is often not diagnosed.

Common among wartime soldiers after returning home, this disorder is often just confused with “bad memories.” Any person who has experienced a horrific event obviously doesn’t want to remember the event, but they’re usually powerless to stop the memories. They spend day after day, reliving the horrors they experienced.

Because of that, it’s easy to understand how these people would turn to drugs. Drinking or doing drugs is often the most effective way to push those memories away. That, in turn, will lead to a physical addiction. Many who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and are also addicted to drugs or alcohol will only be treated for the drug addiction. Without treatment for PTSD, the person has a very high probability of going back to the addictive substance.

Another common psychological disorder that goes hand-in-hand with addiction is Bipolar Disorder. A person who is bipolar suffers from extreme mood swings. These extremes come unexpectedly and go far beyond what most people experience. They can go from extreme highs to intolerable lows in a matter of seconds. Often, the only way to treat someone who is bipolar is through medication.

This is also why many people suffering from this affliction turn to drugs and alcohol. They are essentially self-medicating. Drugs and/or alcohol can serve as a mood stabilizer. When you’re experiencing a deep low, drugs can pull you up to a state that’s tolerable. If you’re having an extreme high, drugs can often help you to sustain that high. The problem comes with the fact that there is no professional regulation. There are prescription drugs that – when prescribed from a doctor and taken responsibly – can help the patient far more than anything they’ll find on the streets.

Dual-diagnosis centers are found all across the country, several of which are in Austin, Texas. If you live here in the Austin area, please don’t feel like there is no help. There are multiple directories online. You can also find centers and therapists in your local phone book. In many places around the country, help involves a long drive to a specialist. Luckily, in Austin, help is often just around the corner. You simply have to decide to find it.

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