Dual Diagnosis, also known as co-occurring conditions, is defined as someone who is suffering from substance abuse and mental health conditions at the same time. A report from the Journal of the American Medical Association states that approximately 50 percent of individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness are affected by substance abuse. About 37 percent of individuals with alcoholism and 53 percent of individuals with drug addictions have at least one serious mental illness. A common question is whether the substance use caused the mental illness or if the mental illness caused the person to self-medicate.
Self-Medicating a Mental Illness
If a person is experiencing a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and they do not get proper treatment from a licensed medical doctor or psychiatrist, one may start to seek these substances to alleviate the suffering from their mental health symptoms. The use of substances initially might make someone suffering from a mental health condition(s) feel relief, but, unfortunately, the substances will only compound the situation and make the mental health condition worse including the damaging effects of drugs and alcohol.
Getting Help for a Dual Diagnosis
If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health condition and using substances, healing and recovery is possible. The treatment of dual diagnosis conditions has progressed over the past decade, and there are many treatment options available.
When entering a center for dual diagnosis treatment, the first step will most likely include a detoxification. The detox process will include a medical assessment by a licensed medical professional to provide a customized detox protocol to keep one safe and as comfortable as possible through the process. In order for someone suffering from a dual diagnosis to start the recovery process, they will need to be completely coherent and able to process their therapeutic elements and support groups. Detox can be a deterrent for many people entering treatment, but the feelings of discomfort are only temporary and typically last 1-2 weeks in duration. The more support and guidance someone has during this process while in a dual diagnosis facility, the better the prognosis for completing detox.
After the completion of detoxification, the therapeutic treatment can begin. Due to the many treatment options available for addiction, it is important to locate a treatment center that specializes in treatment dual diagnosis. The best dual diagnosis facilities should provide a comprehensive treatment team that includes a psychiatrist, medical doctor, therapist, and additional support staff. The treatment elements at residential dual diagnosis programs should include a psychiatric assessment, medical assessment, psychosocial assessment, individual therapy, group therapy, experiential therapies and support groups which might include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Smart Recovery and other groups that can assist the recovery process.
Dual Diagnosis Recovery Programs
Post treatment at a residential treatment program, it is crucial for a solid continuing care plan to be followed for a long-term recovery. A dual diagnosis is similar to any other disease such as cancer or diabetes because if you stop following your prescribed protocol to stay healthy, the condition will relapse. There are a number of options that include psychiatry, individual therapy, sober living, outpatient dual diagnosis program, and 12-step and non-12 step support groups. It is key that a person in recovery from a dual diagnosis regularly see a psychiatrist and a therapist who can monitor their mental health symptoms to prevent chances of relapse. If possible, living in a sober home and/or also attending an outpatient program 3-5 times per week are additional valuable layers of support. It is very common for people leaving treatment to seek sober living which allows them a residential home where they are living with other people who are also on the path to recovery. The sober living allows for a person to work or go to school while they are surrounded by a strong support system. This is a highly recommended option and has been very successful for many people recovering from a dual diagnosis.
Dual Diagnosis Centers
Trying to locate the best dual diagnosis treatment center can be a daunting task with all of the unknowns and questions that you have. Contact the dual diagnosis treatment center at 866-644-7911 to learn about all the options and have your questions answered.
The recommendation for dual diagnosis treatment centers should be done in a licensed inpatient or residential setting with a licensed medical team for increased safety and the best outcome. The treatment program will consists of a full treatment team including a psychiatrist, therapist, counselor, and 24 hour support staff.