Women and Dual Diagnosis

Women with dual diagnosis have a double edged sword to deal with.  Addiction can temporarily block out the pain of a mental illness, but it makes the whole problem worse at the same time.   Find out about women’s unique vulnerabilities and drug treatment options here. 

Women Have Greater Emotional Vulnerability for Mental Illness

Emotional pathways are a likely starting point for both mental illness and addictions.  So, it’s no surprise that women have vulnerability to having both at the same time.  Certainly, depression can lead to addiction or an addiction can lead to depression.  However, experts have observed that in most cases the emotionally distraught state created by mental illness opens the door to addiction. 

One of the general traits that make women stand apart from men is their greater ability to perceive and communicate emotions.  While there are always exceptions to the rule, women and men do have significant brain differences in emotional functioning.  This makes them more skilled with emotional subtleties and relationships, it also makes them more susceptible to emotional problems.  

Social Stigma and Distorted Thinking Lead to Underreporting

Social stigma for mental illness is still present in our world today.  While efforts have been made with public announcements and community outreach, there is still a negative shameful perception about having a mental illness.  Thought part of this stigma is from the public’s general perception of mental illness, the more difficult part originates inside the affect person themselves. 

Mental illness has a way of distorting a person’s thoughts.  The affected person may think they are too crazy to be believed, or that others would judge them harshly if their secret problem were known.  This happens even if their loved ones would (in reality) be quick to help and long on empathy.

A mother doesn’t want to see herself as unable to take care of her children.  A wife doesn’t want to seem needy and weak to her husband.  A working woman doesn’t want to appear incompetent to her boss.  In the face of such rejection, real or imagined, she will most likely try to put on a good face and pull herself together in secret.

Dual Diagnosis Rehab and Women

Addiction and mental illness are two things that are best handled with professional help.  A woman with a dual diagnosis may be able to do outpatient mental health and drug treatment.  If their situation is more severe, it may be necessary to begin with a residential drug rehab equipped to deal with dual diagnosis. 

The modern approach to dual diagnosis is to treat both the addiction and the mental illness at the same time.  Very likely, the emotional pathways that are part of the mental illness are similar if not the same as the starting points for the addiction.  Therefore, it is in the best interest of the affected person to be treated for these problems simultaneously. 

Orchid Recovery Center Offers Focus on Women With Dual Diagnosis

Drug rehab can seem like a daunting commitment to make.  You live somewhere with strangers for several weeks or months, sometimes far from home.  However, a well-staffed holistic drug treatment center like the Orchid Recovery Center for Women is a great choice for many reasons. 

The unique needs of a woman are recognized and met with an all-female staff and spa-like surroundings.  Exercise and physical health are emphasized with nutritional counseling, yoga and meditation classes, and vigorous exercise sessions.  A woman with dual diagnosis will have a long road of recovery, but there is certainly help and hope available today.

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