Dual diagnosis: A stepwise treatment approach

Dual diagnosis: A stepwise treatment approach

A recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that nearly 7.9 million US adults struggled with a psychological disorder co-existing with a substance or alcohol addiction, in 2014. Surprisingly, just a small fraction of these individuals seek treatment for both the disorders, whereas a majority receives no treatment at all.

Studies have shown that a co-existing mental trauma and substance abuse strongly necessitates a robust intervention. Specifically, dual diagnosis treatment should have increased trauma- infused therapy, as an integral part of the treatment.

Significance of integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders

An integrated treatment is an extensive recovery program that incorporates a holistic approach, including medical and restorative treatments, can help patients deal with physical and psychological challenges associated with addiction and mental disorders.

A comprehensive rehabilitation program is crucial in offering early recovery to an individual in terms of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional adversities. Regardless of the mental health diagnosis, integrated care must be rendered if co-occurring disorders are also manifested in an individual treatment approach.

Therapeutic management of co-occurring disorders

An individual suffering with comorbid mental health disorder and substance abuse must receive an exhaustive treatment procedure lasting several days, so as to avoid relapse. The treatment protocol may involve the following steps:

In-depth consultation with caregivers to evaluate psychological, genetic or environmental factors in detail and to design patient-specific treatment plan. Subsequent to this, the individual is made to undergo a detox program to facilitate positive recovery outcomes. After physical detox, focus is now laid on realigning the internal beliefs and habits of an individual which propelled him or her toward addictions and disturbed mental health. This is usually achieved by:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): By using this technique, psychologists can help an individual break free from the cycle of negative thought process and adopt a positive outlook toward life.
  • Recreational therapy: Individuals are encouraged to participate actively in group recreational activities which can strengthen motor skills, sharpen the reasoning power and bring a lot of relaxation.
  • Expressive art healing: Individuals suffering from mental ailments and any form of abuse have a hard time in expressing their emotions. To help them express better, music, art, stage performances, or writing can prove to be the best options.
  • Yoga and meditation: These two disciplines have immense soothing effect on the mind and body of a person, thereby reducing stress and relieving the urge to indulge in harmful substances.

In a rehab, a dual diagnosis patient can also make use of the following treatment programs:

  • Transitional living: To carry out continued recovery care, caregivers sometimes recommend patients to stay in residences outside the rehab. These are relatively less stringent and aim at promoting group activities and regular drug screenings.
  • Sober living: These residential services are primarily focused on promoting sobriety. Individuals are also encouraged to look for work to get back to their normal lives smoothly.
  • Recovery groups: These groups have shown to be extremely potent tools for practicing abstinence.

Recovering from dual diagnosis

When there is a case of dual diagnosis, it is important to address both the mental disorder and substance abuse at the same time. Treating one issue at a time leaving the other untreated may pave the way for the untreated disorder to relapse. Thus, an integrated treatment that can cater to both the disorders is always the answer.

If you are suffering from any of the conditions or someone you know is living with dual diagnosis, get in touch with a professional. You may contact the Dual Diagnosis Helpline to know about various dual diagnosis programs. You may chat online with our representatives or call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-981-6047 to find the most reputed dual diagnosis rehab centers where treatment is comprehensive and recovery is long term.