Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Dual Diagnosis is a term used to describe cases in which a person has problems with drug or alcohol abuse in addition to a separate diagnosis of mental illness such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Studies show that up to half of patients with mood disorders use drugs or alcohol to cope with symptoms of an illnesses.
What is Dual Diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis is a term that is being used everywhere now, but do you really know what it means? When someone has a mental illness and a substance abuse problem at the same time, a dual diagnosis is given. A dual diagnosis has a very wide range. The mental illness side can range from mild depression to schizophrenia. Abusing substances can make your mental illness worse. For example, abusing cocaine will progressively make your bipolar disorder worse. On the other side, you may develop depression from drinking alcohol too much.
Someone with a mental health issue may turn to drugs to self-medicate or attempt to improve their symptoms. Studies have also shown that abusing drugs or alcohol make what could be a minor mental health issue into something much more extreme. Abusing substances have a huge impact on a person’s thoughts, moods, and brain chemistry which directly affects their behavior.
Is Dual Diagnosis Rare or Common?
Dual diagnosis is very common, but the problem in the world of addiction is that it can go undetected. Mental illness and substance abuse symptoms can almost mirror each other. It can be difficult for people to see the difference between them. This leads to people only getting treated for their substance abuse and not their mental health problems. The problem is that if you treat one and not the other, relapses can occur or the patient may struggle to get through the treatment program. People with lower incomes, veterans, and people that suffer from more medical illnesses have a higher rate of developing a co-occurring disorder.
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We take pride in finding the right substance abuse treatment program for each individual that contacts us. We take an in-depth look at your situation and provide you with a personalized treatment plan that suits your individual needs.
The key factor of dual diagnosis is that mental illness and substance abuse disorder are co-occurring or happening at the same time. There is a wide range of symptoms included for this category. Some symptoms of substance abuse are:
- Withdrawing from friends and family and/or hanging around with new people
- No longer having an interest in activities you once loved
- A sudden change in their behavior
- Using substances in high-risk situations
- Developing risky behaviors
- Inability to control the use of substances
- Committing risky activities to maintain your habit
- Developing a tolerance to the substance and withdrawal symptoms
- Cannot function without the substance or feeling like you cannot
Mental health facilities use standard screening tests to identify people that may be at risk for drug and alcohol abuse. These tests help to determine if their symptoms are strictly mental health related or if a dual diagnosis is needed.
Symptoms of mental health issues are wide in range. A list of mental health issues and their symptoms can be found at PsychCentral.
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Treatment for Dual Diagnosis
How is Dual Diagnosis Treated?
The most common method of treatment for dual diagnosis today is treating the specific mental illness and substance abuse at the same time. They go hand in hand so should the treatment process. Treatment will not be the same for each person. A personalized treatment plan will be administered to each patient. This ensures their progress and issues are marked according to the individual, instead of an average outcome number.
The first step in treating dual diagnosis and even substance abuse is completing a detox. During this inpatient detoxification, the patient is monitored by medical staff as the patient clears the substance from their body. The staff may wean the patient off the substance to avoid extreme withdrawal symptoms. Inpatient detoxification is generally preferred to outpatient because withdrawal can be so severe or even cause a person to relapse.
Inpatient rehabilitation is recommended for individuals suffering from dual diagnosis. They will receive intensive medical and mental health care 24/7, in a sober environment. Group therapy, one on one therapy sessions, support groups, medication, and health services are provided with the objective of treating their addiction and any underlying issues.
Sober housing and aftercare levels of care are also available after the inpatient process. This is for individuals that need further transition back into everyday life.
Medication is provided and monitored for treating mental illnesses, both at the treatment center and after they leave. Medications play a huge role in addressing the mental health issues that are affecting the patient. Getting mental health issues under control with medication is sometimes necessary in order to address other issues. Depending on the doctor’s recommendations they can be taken off all medications or maintained to a responsible level that the doctor will monitor.
Psychotherapy is a huge factor in an effective dual diagnosis treatment plan. Educating someone about their illness and how their behaviors influence their thoughts and vice versa will improve their symptoms of mental illness and substance abuse. Being aware and conscious your surroundings gives you a better perspective on the situation you are in. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is very effective in helping people with dual diagnosis. They will learn how to cope with stressful triggers and situations and change their abusive patterns of thinking.
FINDING A TREATMENT CENTER TO MEET YOUR NEEDS
The types of services offered by substance abuse help centers vary. Some offer limited services. Others can be considered luxury rehab facilities. Although you want to enter substance abuse treatment as soon as possible, it is important to take some time to choose the treatment center that is right for you. The right facility will help you achieve sobriety while the wrong one may not produce the desired results. Here are some questions to ask yourself that can help you find the best treatment facility.
- How far do you have to travel to get to the treatment facility?
- Do you require special accommodations for a disability?
- What type of services does the facility offer?
- How long would you be required to stay at the center if you elect for inpatient treatment?
- Are friends and family allowed to visit?
- What is the fee for services? What payment methods does the center accept?
- Do you prefer a facility that caters to your religious beliefs?
- What programs are required as part of your treatment?
- Does the center offer referrals to other services after treatment?
- Will the center help you transition to an addiction support group?
It is essential to thoroughly research the rehab facility before beginning treatment. While most facilities are reputable and provide assistance, there are some facilities that have a poor track record or use unproven methods of treatment. Use the Internet to find reviews of the center and learn about the quality of care you can expect to receive. It is normal for any business to have a few negative reviews, however, it is best to avoid treatment facilities that do not have a clear track record of success.
You should also check the reputation of the treatment specialist. If the person provides medical or mental health services, they should be licensed. This can usually be checked online at the licensing website of the state where the person is practicing. However, you may need to call the state department that handles this type of licensing for information about a doctor or clinician.
A treatment facility should have their staff posted for all to see. In house medical doctors, Master level and PhD level therapists are important. A robust and well rounded clinical staff is worth its weight in gold. If a facility does not have a clinical staff of the website, this is a red flag and more research should be done on the reputability of the facility.