Dual Diagnosis in Orlando, FL

Dual diagnosis in Orlando is an often overlooked concept in addiction treatment, primarily because the person suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction many times does not understand or recognize that the condition exists. However, many people with alcohol and drug addictions have a dual diagnosis that requires professional addiction treatment. Fortunately, Alcohol Treatment Centers Orlando can provide information on the programs that are available to help individuals overcome this complex illness. Call today for more information on how to find freedom from addiction (407) 358-6225.

What Is Dual Diagnosis in Orlando?

A dual diagnosis is a co-occurring disorder, in which a person suffers from both a substance addiction and a mental health illness simultaneously. Each disorder affects the other, but there is no specific order in which they occur.

Types of Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

Many different types of mental health disorders can easily co-occur with a drug or alcohol addiction. However, when it comes to treating those people who are dual diagnosed, some mental health disorders seem to be seen more often than others. A few examples of these are:

Eating Disorders and Addiction

Eating disorders are types of mental health disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. These mental health disorders are characterized by:

  • Body dysmorphia
  • Obsessive thoughts about food, exercise, weight
  • Compulsive behaviors related to eating (or not eating), exercise, taking body measurements, etc...
  • Obsession with thinness or ideal body
  • Constant anxiety and worry about weight and physical appearance
  • Depression

People who suffer from eating disorders most often (though not exclusively) develop addictions to a type of drugs known as stimulants. Stimulants are known to provide drug users and abusers with a burst of energy as well as a sense of excited euphoria. These drugs also have the side effect of reducing or completely eradicating a person's appetite making abusers and addicts lose an excessive and sometimes dangerous amount of weight. Examples of stimulants include cocaine, Adderall, and crystal meth.

PTSD and Addiction

PTSD, also known as post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health disorder that falls under the category of anxiety or panic disorders. It is a mental health issue that arises following an event or series of events that greatly affects the person's mind, making them fearful and oftentimes timid. Events may include physical or sexual abuse, being a soldier in a war zone, emotional abuse, an accident, or other such events. Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Nightmares or waking hallucinations of the traumatic event
  • Depression and social isolation
  • Inability to participate in daily activities out of fear

People who suffer from PTSD are constantly on edge and in a constant state of physical and mental alert (like the fight-or-flight response to danger, but on overdrive). As such, people with this mental health disorder often develop addictions to drugs that calm the mind and make them forget their fears, if only temporarily. One common drug type of abuse and addiction associated with PTSD sufferers is opiates (or narcotics).

Opiates are simultaneously powerful sedatives and pain relievers. They stimulate the reward and pleasure centers of the brain providing an overwhelming and calming euphoria and overall contentment while also blocking all pain receptors. As such, many people with PTSD become addicted to their effects.

What Treatments Are Available?


Psychotherapy is the treatment, primarily, of the mental health disorder through individual and group therapy sessions. This involves determining the feelings, events, and thoughts that cause and contribute to the development and continuation of the mental health disorder. This understanding can also help to determine how a drug or alcohol addiction developed and how the two disorders interact with one another. Healing and coping strategies can then be developed to help untangle the two disorders and keep the mental health disorder from leading to relapse and future substance abuse.


Psychopharmacology is the use of prescription drugs to treat mental health disorders. When a person is dual diagnosed, doctors specifically select the drugs and doses for treatment to avoid continued substance abuse and addiction.

While being dual diagnosed may mean that you need specialized addiction treatment and continued therapy during aftercare following your initial addiction treatment, it is not an impossible situation to overcome with the right resources. Alcohol Treatment Centers Orlando can provide information on available facilities that best fit your needs for dual diagnosis in Orlando. Call (407) 358-6225 and begin your road to recovery today.

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