Dual Diagnosis: Treatment and Recovery

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center

Are you looking for Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center?

Dealing with a substance use disorder is never easy, and it’s even more challenging when
mental illness is involved. This situation, known as dual diagnosis, is more common than you
may realize.

While treatment for dual diagnosis is complex, and there’s no quick fix, finding a treatment
center that understands how to treat both addiction and mental health issues is all-important.
With hard work and commitment, recovery is possible.

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

The terms “dual diagnosis” or “co-occurring disorder” describe when a person struggles with a
substance abuse disorder and a mental health issue at the same time; for instance, addiction
along with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or schizophrenia.

Dual diagnosis can also involve behavioral addictions, such as gambling, overeating, or sex.

It’s common for a person to struggle with more than one mental health issue, or to be addicted
to more than one substance.

Co-Occurring Disorders Aren’t Unusual

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately half of all people
with severe mental disorders also struggle with substance abuse. Similarly, DrugAbuse.gov
notes that people diagnosed with a mental disorder are about twice as likely to have a
substance abuse disorder than people without a mental health issue.

At the same time, individuals with a substance abuse disorder are about twice as likely to have a mental health

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), indicates that in 2018, more than 9 million American
adults experienced a mental health issue and at least one substance use disorder.

Treatment: The Importance of Addressing Both Issues

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for co-occurring disorders has improved significantly since a time when disorders
were addressed separately, usually by clinics with differing ideas about treatment.

In some cases, mental health issues weren’t treated without a proven period of abstinence.

Today, we understand that disorders are closely intertwined, and one can worsen the other. A
person with mental illness may use drugs or alcohol to cope with painful emotions, but on the
other hand, substance abuse can trigger (or worsen) mental health issues.

Mental health issues can interfere with addiction treatment, and the use of drugs and alcohol
can complicate treatment of mental health issues.

Treating both situations simultaneously lowers the risk of relapse and significantly reduces the
risk of severe consequences, including suicide.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Treatment varies widely depending on the Dual Diagnosis treatment centers philosophy and the particular
needs of each person. However, most treatment centers will offer some combination of the

Evaluations: Before treatment gets underway, a physical evaluation will rule out the possibility
that physical problems are causing mental health issues. An assessment by a psychologist or
psychiatrist will help determine what treatment will be most effective for addiction and mental
health issues.

Detoxification: Detox is the first step when substance abuse is involved. Severe addiction may
call for medical detox, in which a person is monitored by a nurse or other medical professional
24/7 until the substance clears the body, generally in seven days or less. Medications are
available to make the patient more comfortable.

Counseling: One-on-one counseling sessions with a trained therapist may be scheduled daily
or a few times per week.

Therapy may include techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps
people learn to examine faulty thinking patterns and replace them with more positive ways of
reacting to stress. Similarly, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a relatively new form of
CBT that helps people learn to modify painful or unstable emotions.

Treatment generally includes regular group therapy sessions (support groups), which allow
people to develop healthy support systems, thus leading to increased confidence and

Support groups are often, but not always, based on Twelve-Step programs such as
Alcoholics Anonymous.

Medications may be prescribed to address symptoms of mental health disorders like
depression or anxiety, or to ease withdrawal symptoms and minimize cravings. Medications can
be highly effective when used in conjunction with counseling.

Family Treatment: Addiction and mental health issues affect every member of the family.
Through education and counseling, loved ones can learn to rebuild relationships, improve
communication, and establish healthy boundaries.

Choosing a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center

Inpatient treatment (residential rehab) is often recommended for people with co-occurring
disorders, which are challenging to treat. Residential rehab provides medical care and intensive
therapy in a structured, supportive environment where help is available around the clock.

For many people, outpatient treatment is helpful following the completion of residential rehab.
Outpatient treatment provides more flexibility and may allow people to keep up with the
requirements of family, work, or school.

A person who has completed inpatient treatment may begin by attending daily outpatient
treatments, (also known as intensive outpatient treatment, or IOP), gradually decreasing to a
few times per week, then progressing to a single weekly visit if everything is going well.

In some cases, transitional housing, (often known as sober living or halfway houses), are
the next step after residential treatment. Transitional housing consists of secure homes where
people enjoy a certain level of independence while they transition back to a sober lifestyle.

Transitional housing generally requires residents to work or attend school during the day, follow
a curfew, help with chores, and to undergo (and pass) frequent drug tests.

Questions to Ask a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

Most importantly, determine if a facility treats co-occurring disorders at the same time; it’s
counterproductive to treat a mental health disorder while ignoring an addiction, and vice versa.
Also, keep in mind that many rehabs say they offer treatment for co-occurring disorders, but this
claim is often misleading.

A good Dual Diagnosis treatment center will be happy to answer your questions and concerns, so don’t hesitate
to ask. The following will help you determine if a treatment center is qualified to treat dual

  • Is the Dual Diagnosis treatment center is appropriately licensed and accredited? Although requirements
    vary from state to state, most quality centers seek accreditation by the Joint Commission
    (previously known as JCAHO) and/or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation
    Facilities (CARF).
  • Is the staff is trained to work with dual diagnosis clients? Are clinicians trained in proven,
    research-based therapies? What types of treatments are offered? Does the treatment
    center provide frequent one-on-one therapy sessions? How about group therapy? Is
    family treatment available?
  • Ask how long treatment typically lasts, as duration should depend on individual needs.
    Thirty days is rarely long enough for treatment of co-occurring disorders, which often
    require a minimum of at least 90 days.
  • Inquire about payment options. If you have insurance, will it cover dual diagnosis
    treatment? Does the treatment center offer workable payment plans? Some rehabs may
    offer scholarships or financial assistance.
  • Is the rehab equipped to deal with special populations, such as elderly, adolescents,
    handicapped, LGBT, non-English speakers, or members of a particular faith? Some
    centers are open to both men and women, while others are gender-specific.
  • Ask to tour the treatment center before commit. The facility should be clean and
    comfortable, and staff should be friendly and helpful. Some centers offer virtual tours.