What is Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment?

Often, people suffering from substance abuse issues also have mental health disorders. In fact, about 53 percent of people who abuse drugs also struggle with one or more mental health issues, according the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. That’s why there’s a need for Dual Diagnosis addiction treatment.

This type of substance abuse program addresses mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety attacks, delusional behavior, mood swings and other emotional problems. Before the 1990s, mental problems were treated separately from substance abuse issues, although, usually, the two conditions overlapped. In other words, a patient had to first get clean and sober before receiving treatment for mental disorders.

Unlike traditional or sequential substance abuse programs, a Dual Diagnosis treatment program merges addiction treatment with psychiatric health. The programs combine the most effective features of substance abuse therapy with the best parts of mental health treatment. The addiction specialists working in substance abuse therapy are also highly trained in mental health issues.

The Importance of a Dual Diagnosis Program

When addicts have mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD and compulsive disorders, they can easily relapse. In most cases, it’s not long after patients are released from treatment that they can, once again, return to drugs to self-medicate.

Until the mental disorders are treated, the self-destructing cycle of substance abuse returns. If their emotional problems aren’t treated, these people can delve even deeper into their addictive behaviors.

How to Get a Dual Diagnosis

The first step is to get a Dual Diagnosis. This entails meeting the requirements for having a mental health disorder. To receive a Dual Diagnosis, an addiction professional or a mental health specialist has to access your mental condition.

Level of Care Options: Residential vs. Outpatient Treatment

How much care you need depends on the severity of your mental condition and substance abuse. If you show psychotic episodes, suicidal thoughts, or other severe mental disorders, you’ll need a residential treatment program. Here, you’ll receive 24/7 care.

On the other hand, if your mental and physical state is considered more stable, you may be able to get outpatient therapy. This is a program in which you can continue to attend work, school or live at home while receiving therapy. However, for your treatment to be effective, you have to dedicate yourself to your recovery, which means supervision. Unsupervised, you can easily relapse.

Symptoms of an Addiction Problem

Several signs can be red flags for an addiction problem. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Repetitive lying or stealing to support an addiction
  • Failing to do well in schoolwork at on a job
  • Hanging out with questionable new friends
  • Keeping late hours and sleeping during the day

Considerations and Warnings

  • There’s no “one size fits all” in a Dual Diagnosis program. Because there’s a broad range of mental health disorders, the relationship between a person’s mental condition and his or her substance abuse can be complex.
  • To enjoy a full recovery from substance abuse, a Dual Diagnosis program should recognize the importance of using antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and other psycho-therapeutic medicines.
  • A good Dual Diagnosis program should involve spouses, children, partners and other significant family members that meet for both individual and group therapy.
  • Instead of using a negative or aggressive approach, the treatment should focus on building self-confidence.

An addiction doesn’t have to continue to ruin your life. If you or someone you love is suffering from substance abuse, don’t hesitate to consult a Dual Diagnosis specialist.

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