If you’re a woman with substance problems, there’s a good chance that you also have certain additional mental health issues. When addiction and other mental illnesses occur together, you have a dual diagnosis. Women affected by this combined condition often develop it for different reasons than men. In addition, they often have different treatment needs. Women’s dual diagnosis treatment may be vital for you for these reasons. You can find this kind of specialized care in gender-specific recovery programs.
What Is Dual Diagnosis?
Under modern definitions, substance use disorders are recognized as forms of mental illness. Unfortunately, these disorders are often accompanied by other kinds of mental health issues. At one time, the most common term for this combination was co-occurring disorder. Today, most experts use the term dual diagnosis instead.
Any form of addiction can play a role in cases of dual diagnosis. That includes addiction to alcohol, street drugs, or prescription medications. The list of the most common additional mental illnesses includes:
- Anxiety disorders
- Major depression and other depressive disorders
- Bipolar I and other bipolar disorders
In addition, some cases involve schizophrenia or another schizophrenic disorder.
The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Women
The circumstances in which dual diagnosis occurs are often different for women than for men. Part of this difference is related to patterns of addiction in women. For example, a woman who abuses drugs or alcohol is often motivated by other factors than those found in men. Such factors may include:
- A history of exposure to sexual or domestic violence
- Disordered eating patterns
- The combined pressure of work and domestic responsibilities
In addition, women involved in substance abuse can become addicted faster than men.
There are also significant differences in the other mental illnesses likely to occur. For instance, men have higher risks for other bipolar illnesses and schizophrenia. In contrast, women have higher risks for anxiety disorders and depression.
Most dual diagnosis research has been carried out on men. In addition, most treatment programs are mainly geared toward men’s needs. As a woman, you may receive effective care in such a program. However, as a rule, you have a higher likelihood of success in a program specifically geared toward women. That’s true because greater focus can be placed on women’s unique needs.
What Happens in Women’s Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
The specifics of women’s dual diagnosis treatment depend on the details of your situation. First, you must receive help for the specific form of addiction affecting you. Psychotherapy is the most widely used treatment option. However, medication is also used to treat certain types of addiction. At the same time, your other mental illness must also be treated. A well-designed program will offer options for every condition most common in women.
Quality women-focused programs also offer further recovery support. One common option is trauma therapy. Nutrient therapy should also be available. In addition, your overall treatment plan should be coordinated and customized. That way, you’ll always receive care explicitly suited to you.
Seek Customized Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Women at Women’s Recovery
What is dual diagnosis? This term describes the overlap of addiction and other mental illnesses. If you have a dual diagnosis, you must get help for your addiction. You must also get help for the separate mental illness affecting you. In addition, you may need further supportive care.
At Women’s Recovery, we feature gender-specific treatment for dual diagnosis. This treatment addresses your needs as a woman. They also address your needs as a unique person. In this way, we provide comprehensive support for your recovery. To learn more, just call us today at 833.754.0554. You can also fill out our online form.