Dual diagnosis is a unique phenomenon when a person suffers from both a substance use disorder and a mental health condition at the same time. Either of the conditions can develop first and lead to another. Often, people struggling with a mental illness start taking drugs or alcohol as a self-medication to alleviate their devastating symptoms. On the other hand, substance abuse can also lead to mental health problems since drugs and alcohol are known to affect an individual’s mood, behavior, and brain chemistry.
A dual diagnosis comes with unique issues and it poses challenges for both the sufferer and the caregiver. The relationship between the two complex conditions can complicate an individual’s recovery. An integrated intervention that takes care of both the mental illness and substance abuse simultaneously is the key to successful treatment and long-term recovery. An ideal line of treatment for a dual diagnosis should include the following:
Detoxification: When it comes to substance abuse, detox is a must-follow step. This is, in fact, the very first step in recovery from an addiction. In a detox process, a doctor takes care of everything related to an addiction problem, from administering lesser amounts of the substance of abuse to taking care of withdrawal symptoms and helping attain sobriety. Toxin excretion can be carried out either in an inpatient detox center or on an outpatient basis. Inpatient detox requires a patient to be closely monitored by trained medical professionals, whereas in the outpatient option, detox is through with regular prescriptions and visits to the physician.
Inpatient rehabilitation: An inpatient rehab is well-equipped to provide with an integrated intervention. An individual with a serious mental illness and drug dependence is supervised round-the-clock by a dedicated medical staff at such centers. Patients are also provided with therapy, medications, health care services and other support in order to aid them in their treatment of addiction and underlying psychiatric issues. Apart from rehabs, sober homes are an excellent option for residential treatment.
Medications: Medications are an effective way to alleviate substance dependency and ease withdrawal symptoms, as well as to address various psychiatric needs. Medications can be prescribed depending on the symptoms of mental illness and SUD.
Therapy: An effective treatment of dual diagnosis essentially involves psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective and commonly used psychotherapy which helps patients change their patterns of thinking and modify their self-destructive behaviors. A person with dual diagnosis may benefit most from a treatment that combines evidence-based therapies with medications.
Support groups: Self-help or support groups also play a key role during recovery from dual diagnosis. Members of such groups share and discuss their experiences, difficulties, successes pertaining to their ordeal with mental disorders and SUDs.
Recovery management: It is imperative to make sure that a person who has just completed a rehab program opts for a recovery management program in order to ensure sustained sobriety and long-term recovery.
Help is just a call away
Dual diagnosis is a complex condition which may bring many negative health impacts if proper treatment is not sought. Before opting for a treatment program, one must ensure that the treatment addresses both the mental illness and the addiction simultaneously. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in the United States, only about 7 percent of the people with dual diagnosis who seek treatment are treated for both the conditions.
If a loved one or someone you know is suffering from coexisting disorders, seek professional help immediately. The Dual Diagnosis Helpline can help you learn many aspects of the condition and assist you in finding the best dual diagnosis center. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-981-6047 or chat online with one of our representatives to know about various dual diagnosis rehab centers across the U.S.