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What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment? 15 Dec 2015

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

For people who are dealing with the devastating impacts of substance abuse, undergoing some form of intensive drug treatment provides them the best opportunity to address their addiction issues head on. While in treatment, those who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction will undergo an individualized plan of treatment which includes a combination of medical detoxification, therapy, life and coping skills training and relapse prevention education. Through this individualized plan of recovery, addicts can work through their substance abuse issues and will receive the tools and support they need to maintain long-term recovery.

Helping the addict to physically stop using drugs and alcohol only constitutes a small part of their long-term sobriety. Addiction professionals have long known that drug use is actually a symptom of a deeper mental issue. If those underlying issues aren’t adequately addressed the addict will continue to struggle with their substance abuse–and their problems will only intensify over time. For those who may suffer from co-occurring mental issues in addition to their drug addiction, they must find drug treatment that features a dual-diagnosis emphasis. If you would like to know more about the importance dual-diagnosis drug treatment or are looking for a reputable drug treatment center that features an effective dual-diagnosis treatment that is proven to work, please call Holistic Recovery Centers today and speak to one of our representatives.

What is Dual-Diagnosis Treatment?

Often referred to as co-occurring disorders, dual-diagnosis is a term used to describe people with mental illness who have coexisting issues with alcohol or other illicit substances. Drug addiction and mental illness have a complex relationship that involves many social, environmental and biological factors. In a drug and alcohol rehabilitation environment, the treatment of those with co-occurring substance abuse and mental illness is more complicated than the treatment of either condition alone. This is, unfortunately, a common situation due to the fact that it is often difficult for addiction professionals to ascertain whether the addict’s substance abuse or mental illness occurred first.

There are many who may not be familiar with the concept of dual-diagnosis treatment, and that is due to the fact that the concept is relatively new. Prior to the 1990’s, people who were experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder were often treated separately from those who sought help for drug or alcohol abuse. If those conditions overlapped, addicts were often denied treatment for a mental illness until they got clean and sober. Unfortunately, because substance abuse is often driven by an underlying psychiatric disorder, this meant that many people with a dual-diagnosis of addiction and a mental disorder never got the help they needed.

Those who have long-standing struggles with a mental illness will often use drugs and alcohol as a means of self-medication. While people that have been diagnosed with a specific mental disorder may abuse substances, it is more common for people who have undiagnosed mental illness to abuse substances. For these people, drugs and alcohol are a convenient way to minimize and internal anguish and suffering they experience. While drugs and alcohol can provide those with mental illnesses a short reprieve from the stress, anxiety, and turmoil they feel, the use of substances over time will make and individual’s mental illness much worse. Without the professional help of a drug treatment program with a dual-diagnosis emphasis, the deeper roots that cause people to turn to substances in the first place will never be addressed. Additionally, those who abuse drugs and alcohol can cause people to experience the onset of symptoms associated with mental illness–even if they don’t have a history.

What are the Most Common Mental Health Issues Found in People Struggling with Substance Abuse?

Woman with dual diagnosis

There are a variety of mental health issues that can co-exist with a substance abuse disorder. In general, the following mental illnesses are found to co-occur with drug and alcohol addiction:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Moderate to severe depression
  • Personality disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Schizophrenia

In a dual-diagnosis situation, there are certain mental health conditions that are intertwined with a specific drug. For example, those who struggle with marijuana addiction often have schizophrenia as a co-occurring disorder. For those who are addicted to cocaine, they may also suffer from a variety of anxiety disorders. Additionally, those who are addicted to heroin are often diagnosed with depression.

The Importance of Dual-Diagnosis Addiction Treatment

For those who have co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues, there are special issues that need to be addressed when they enter treatment. Many who have a dual-diagnosis often feel great guilt or shame and may be in significant denial in regards to their condition. As a result, they may be very resistant to treatment and even if they do enter treatment they may lack the motivation needed to address their issues. In a dual-diagnosis treatment setting, addiction, and mental health professionals collaborate with the addict’s family in creating a treatment plan that adequately addresses both issues while providing an environment that is safe, non-judgemental and empowering.

Dual-diagnosis treatment programs place emphasis on certain therapies and treatment techniques that best target the addict’s underlying issues. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) will help those struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues unlearn the behaviors and attitudes that have kept them stuck in their addiction and gives them the tools to create healthier coping mechanisms and mindsets. Additionally, holistic based therapies such as mindful meditation, hypnosis, and yoga can help calm the brain and body’s “fight or flight” response. These techniques can help an lower blood pressure, reduce altered breathing and decrease the heart rate.

Freedom From Addiction

If you have found yourself or a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then Holistic Recovery Centers can help. We give you the jump start to recovery you need. Our holistic program is unique in that it doesn’t just treat the addiction, it treats the whole person. For more information on our program, call 1-877-723-7117 today.

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