College life can be stressful. Every day you focus on completing deadlines for your academic classes, taking care of work and home responsibilities, and making social connections. You are under a lot of pressure. This pressure can affect both your physical and mental health.
According to reports, 44% of college students struggle with depression. Other reports claim college students have higher rates for drug addiction than any other population, with nearly 23% meeting the clinical definition of drug or alcohol abuse and dependence.
Some college students with depression may start using drugs or alcohol to cope. Other students may have developed depression because of their drug and alcohol abuse. Whether depression caused addiction or addiction causes depression, we may not ever have the answer. What matters more than how you got a mental illness or addiction is how to survive college with them.
Managing addiction and depression as a college student will only get more challenging if you don’t seek help.
The first step is understanding what it means to have two conditions at the same time. Professionals refer to this as a dual diagnosis disorder.
Dual Diagnosis Disorder
Dual diagnosis disorder means you have a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. Having addiction and depression at the same time is more common than you may think. Only a mental health or addiction specialist can diagnose you as having a dual diagnosis disorder because you must meet specific criteria listed in the diagnostic and statistical manual.
The criteria for a substance use disorder are different than that of depression.
Being Diagnosed with Both Addiction and Depression
If you have a substance use disorder, you cannot stop using drugs or alcohol even though you have tried to do so many times. Even when you face negative consequences because of your drug use, you still cannot stop.
Consequences can include failing academic classes, losing friends, being kicked out of campus clubs, or relationship problems. Because substances affect the structure of your brain chemistry, it is linked to mental health and contribute to depressive symptoms. That means taking drugs is a mental illness. Addiction treatment is a must in overcoming substance use disorders.
To be diagnosed with depression, make sure you are getting proper mental health care providers to diagnose you. They know that you must have symptoms that have lasted for longer than a few weeks. Symptoms can include:
- Feeling down or sad
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Feeling empty or like you have a knot in your stomach
- Crying for no apparent reason
- Feeling aches and pains in your muscles or joints
- Feeling overly fatigued
- Preferring to sleep all day rather than go to class or work
- Feeling the need to isolate from friends and family
- Feeling hopeless and like giving up because you don’t see things getting better
If you recognize symptoms of addiction or depression, that’s okay. You are not alone.
The good news is that both conditions can be treated quickly and effectively, allowing you to return to living the good life of a college student. You can survive college with a dual diagnose as long as you engage in the appropriate dual diagnosis therapies.
Dual Diagnosis Treatments
The key to dual diagnosis treatment success is to work on your problems with drugs and depression simultaneously with evidence-based methods.
Below are the steps found to be most beneficial to college students:
1. Comprehensive Assessment
The first step in any treatment program is to evaluate your physical and psychological health histories to create the best care plan. Providing your family history of mental illness or drug addiction will determine if genetics play a role in your dual diagnosis disorder. Other things to be evaluated include your symptoms, underlying medical conditions, support systems, and goals.
Depending on the substance you have been abusing, you will likely begin treatment in a detox program.
2. Medically Supervised Detox
Detox is a hospital where medical professionals give you around-the-clock supervision. They can assist in alleviating withdrawal symptoms of any kind, from cravings to physical distress. Detox typically lasts a week, which is about how long it takes for most drugs to exit your body. Because withdrawal symptoms can feel unbearable, doctors can prescribe medications to help.
The more comfortable you are during detox, the more willing you may be to continue treatment after detox.
3. Inpatient or Residential Treatment
In detox, not much learning happens because the main goal is to eliminate toxins to have a clear mind. Once this happens, you can begin participating in activities to teach you how to live a sober, college lifestyle.
Inpatient treatment takes place in a hospital environment so doctors can continue to manage your medication. If you need additional medicine to help alleviate depressive symptoms, you can start it in inpatient rehab.
Skills you will learn and practice include communication, conflict resolution, self-care, relationship, and basic living. Once you complete this level of treatment, you can move into a less restrictive environment, including your college dorm or apartment, while continuing your care plan.
4. Outpatient Services
It is always a good idea to continue with outpatient counseling after finishing inpatient treatment. The reason is simple. While in detox and inpatient rehab, you are protected and isolated from triggers and temptations. You are with positive people and activities that support healing.
Now that you are back in your college environment, you don’t immediately have those benefits. Outpatient counseling helps you reestablish your new life on campus.
Based on your needs, you can attend outpatient counseling on an intensive schedule or at a minimal pace.
No matter what level of treatment you are in, all services can be received in one location, in a dual diagnosis rehab.
Dual Diagnosis Rehab
Rehab helps you survive college with a dual diagnosis. Besides being able to have your treatment needs met in one location, there are other benefits of dual diagnosis rehabs, including:
- Experts will screen you for both mental health and addiction issues during the initial evaluation.
- Medical and clinical staff trained and licensed to identify and treat both mental health and substance use disorders.
- Psychiatric medicine is available if needed.
- Medication is available to ease withdrawal symptoms if required.
- Evidence-based therapies like cognitive and dialectical-behavioral therapies, motivational interviewing, 12-Step support groups, family therapy, and more.
- Amenities and holistic therapies that promote healing.
If you have more questions about dual diagnosis rehab treatment, give us a call at 800-719-1090. We have treatment specialists available to talk 24/7.
Summer House Detox Center is the best rehab center in Florida. We understand the demands of college life and how that affects your mental health. Also, we get why students use drugs or alcohol. We were once college students too. Finally, we know now that dual diagnosis treatment can help you become more successful in college and after graduation.
We are located at 13550 Memorial Hwy, Miami, FL. There is no better place to start a different kind of college lifestyle.