Dual Diagnosis Adjustment Disorder Treatment Resource Info
The very nature of substance abuse engages lifestyle choices that encompass stressful environments. Couple this with the treatment of addiction and the recovery process and a patient is subjected to multiple instances of stress.
It is a patient’s inability to cope with stressors that can generate mental health issues, such as adjustment disorder, and why an individualized dual diagnosis treatment program is so important.
What Is Adjustment Disorder?
Classified under mood disorders, adjustment disorder can develop when a person undergoes a planned or unplanned life event that provokes change or results in loss.
In addition to drug or alcohol abuse, adjustment disorder (also known as stress response syndrome or situational depression) is often inspired during age-related transitions such as adolescence, mid-life and late-life. Although the adjustment disorder can manifest multiple times throughout a person’s life, by definition, it does not last long, usually no more than six months.
Triggers for Adjustment Disorder
Factors leading to the materialization of adjustment disorder can include:
- Death of a loved one
- Serious illness (in you or a loved one)
- Serious injury
- Surviving a catastrophic event (fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, auto accident, etc.)
- Victimization (due to crime)
- Divorce or end of a relationship
- Job loss
- Job change
- Significant life change (marriage, parenthood, retirement, relocation, etc.)
Substance Abuse Increases the Risk of Adjustment Disorder
Some of the reasons behind a person’s decision to use mind-altering substances are from instances of life trauma.
How the trauma impacts someone mentally, physically and spiritually tests his or her automatic coping mechanisms.
Drug or alcohol use provides a false sense of security as a means to carry on and cope day to day. As the mind and body deteriorate from long-term substance abuse, the ability to acknowledge, accept and process stressful situations is diminished.
The Fight-or-Flight Response Gets Compromised
The body has a physiological reaction to stress: the fight-or-flight response. During stress, the adrenal system releases the hormone adrenaline, enabling quick, simultaneous action between the body and mind to subvert or confront the source of the stress.
With substance abuse, consistent trauma to the mind and body not only hasten one’s fight-or-flight responsiveness but don’t allow the body the time needed to restore itself to its pre-adrenal-stimulated state.
In a healthy person, continuous occurrences of the same fight-or-flight scenario can actually strengthen coping abilities. With substance abuse, the coping mechanism gets damaged, leaving the user vulnerable to developing mental health issues, especially adjustment disorder. Without treatment, adjustment disorder can progress into a more serious issue, such as clinical depression.
Adjustment Disorder Symptoms
Evidence of adjustment disorder does not necessarily show immediately after exposure to a traumatic incident like those noted above. In fact, behavioral or emotional differences in a person’s normal conduct may not show until three months after the trauma occurred. They can ramp up over time, but usually, last no more than six months, a key differentiator compared to other disorders.
Signs of adjustment disorder include:
- Crying (increased occurrences)
- Stomach aches
- Heart palpitations
- Uncontrollable trembling
- Body stiffness
- Detachment from people and social activities
- Increased absences from work or school
- Increased dangerous or destructive behaviors
- Reckless driving
- Criminal activity
- Appetite changes
- Sleep issues
- Increased substance use
Symptoms of adjustment disorder can vary from person to person. Adolescents and young adults are more prone to act out their disorder through destructive behaviors, while adults tend to internalize their distress, evident through anxiety or sadness.
Adjustment Disorder Subtypes
To best diagnose the specifics inherent in each adjustment disorder case, certain criteria are used to identify the more prevalent emotional or behavioral areas that need to be addressed. This sub-classification helps doctors, nurses and therapists grasp the details of how the disorder affects the individual patient. It also helps them determine the proper course of treatment towards recovery.
Medical professionals look for adjustment disorder:
- With anxiety
- With depression
- With anxiety and depression
- With conduct disturbance
- With emotional and conduct disturbance
Dual Diagnosis Adjustment Disorder Treatment Leads to Recovery
Uncovering any specific mental health issues during the initial patient evaluation is an integral part of a professional substance addiction treatment program. This evaluation draws out the details needed to create a long-term treatment and recovery plan that fits the specific needs of the patient.
At the root of adjustment disorder with drug or alcohol addiction is the fundamental need for a patient to acquire the right coping skills that will strengthen with use over time.
In addition to inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient programs, psychotherapy, counseling, and holistic healing help facilitate successful recovery for those with a dual diagnosis.
We offer this and so much more at The Treatment Center by The Recovery Village. If you are concerned about a loved one who may need medically supervised care for adjustment disorder along with addiction, please contact one of our caring admissions counselors at (866) 295-6003 today.