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11 Things You Need to Know About Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis is a condition where a person is diagnosed with addiction and suffers from a mental health disorder as well. It is also known as a co-occurring disorder. This situation can be quite complicated, and the individuals stuck in it will find themselves feeling hopeless at times. One common example of a dual diagnosis is the presence of substance use disorder and depression. People with this condition have two battles to fight, which is why they may need more help than others. The good news is that treatments are available and people can recover. There are many layers to dual diagnosis, and this article intends to address those that are primary to dual diagnosis treatment. 

If you are considering dual diagnosis treatment, here are 11 things that you may want to consider:



1. You need to treat the underlying mental condition of addiction

Seeking professional help for addiction alone may not be as effective. When you are diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder, this fact alone necessitates the need for a holistic treatment plan that addresses the underlying mental condition that you may have. Although it may seem obvious, many individuals with a dual diagnosis enroll in drug treatment programs that fail to address their mental health condition. An effective dual diagnosis therapy comprises expert assistance to deal with those problems. Moreover, everyone benefits differently from treatments. No two people’s journeys can look the same. 

2. Mental illnesses may lead to addiction and vice versa

Mental illnesses are mostly to blame for addiction. This means that people with some mental illnesses fall prey to addiction. Many patients report that they got hooked on drugs or alcohol because of depression, anxiety, etc. Some people may also get hooked on prescription drugs that they are given to treat any mental condition. In other cases, people self-medicate , as a result of which they start becoming addicted to a drug that has not been prescribed by the doctor.

In some cases, addiction can also lead to mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. By not being able to concentrate on other important components of their lives, anxiety may press them harshly. Therefore, because these two go hand in hand, the treatment for both separately is extremely necessary. 

3. If you suffer from addiction, you may have a mental illness

There is a good chance that you have a dual diagnosis if you suffer from addiction. It is estimated that almost half of the people with mental illnesses have the potential to develop a substance use disorder at some point in their lives. If you also believe that your substance use is motivated by undiagnosed depression, anxiety, or trauma, Worry not, because you are not alone in this. The majority of people who struggle with addiction also have untreated mental health conditions. Statistics show that the correlation of mental illnesses and addiction is pretty strong. For instance, people with ADHD have a high-risk of abusing meth. 

4. You need an integrated addiction treatment program

For people with dual diagnosis, treatment can be challenging. However, an integrated approach can lead to better outcomes. This leads us to our first point: dual diagnosis treatment should cater to the underlying mental condition as well as addiction issues. Some therapies that may work for others may not work for you, 12-step rehab being one. Therefore, identifying the right type of treatment that meets your needs is important. A rehab that will only offer you treatment for addiction should not be your top priority if you suffer from a co-occurring disorder. 

5. Specialized care is effective for dual diagnosis

The difficulty in identifying the underlying cause of some symptoms is one feature of dual diagnosis that makes therapy more challenging. For instance, substance misuse can exacerbate anxiety, or anxiety itself may be the root cause of addiction. For medical practitioners who are not familiar with dual diagnosis patients, identifying the cause of the issue might be difficult. Therefore, it is essential that specialized care be sought when you finally go for dual diagnosis treatment. Working with a skilled mental health expert is crucial if you’re struggling with a mental health issue like depression, anxiety, or trauma. 



6. Treatment is time taking

When you undergo a dual diagnosis treatment, please bear in mind that the treatment may not offer results as quickly as you expect. Because two medical conditions are dealt with, the treatment requires tons of patients and trust in the process. Though the recovery may take a long time, it is imperative to realize that it will be worth it even when it currently seems less effective.

7. Dual diagnosis is more vast than you think

Dual diagnosis includes a variety of pairs. These may include a blend of mental diseases such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. There are countless conceivable combinations because there are so many mental health problems that might necessitate dual diagnosis therapy. Due to the variety of multiple diagnoses, it is crucial for these people to get specialized, tailored care. 

To get the best treatment for dual diagnosis, you need to understand the kind of issue that you are going through, so that treatment can be proposed accordingly. One of the reasons that this is a complex treatment is that dual diagnosis encompasses a wide range of different issues. This is what makes the treatment challenging and requires special medical expertise by the doctor to offer individualized care to the individuals that suffer from this issue. 

8. Not every rehab offers dual diagnosis

While many rehabs may claim that they offer dual diagnosis treatments. Unfortunately, much to our dismay, some addiction treatment facilities are more focused on making money than helping patients. The marketing of treatment facilities frequently consists of more hype than actual content and omits crucial program details like the total number of counseling hours and programme costs. Though it can be tricky to identify, you may help your loved one by making sure that an addiction treatment center actually offers what it claims. 

9. One therapy may work for someone but not for you

Because addiction treatment is a very personalized journey, it is only too natural that one therapy may work for your friend while it may disappoint you. For instance, 12-step rehabs may not work for everyone with a dual diagnosis. This does not mean that your recovery is not possible. The 12 Step programme has been shown to be effective for certain people, but it wasn’t designed to aid in the recovery of those suffering from mental health problems. People who have a dual diagnosis must, of course, take a different strategy! Currently, non-12-step treatment clinics are mushrooming all over the country. After investigating the treatments and rehabs, you can surely go for other treatment options. Do not get discouraged by treatment options because there are plenty that you can benefit from! 

10. Some dual diagnosis programs are more inclusive

When we talk about you having plenty of options, we mean it! Some rehabs that provide dual diagnosis treatment programs involve group therapy, family therapy, counseling, and education. If you feel like these options are better for you, you can surely undergo such treatments and take advantage of them. Because dual diagnosis programs need a more integrated approach, these therapies provide you with one. Inclusivity can be important when it comes to dual diagnosis for some. With the support of family members, people may be able to recover more quickly and efficiently. A dual diagnosis of drug misuse and another mental disease presents the person, their friends, and their family with a variety of difficulties. The existence of a dual diagnosis may make the treatment plan somewhat more challenging, but with improved knowledge and education, this difficult illness may be effectively treated and cured.

11. Dual Diagnosis usually has long-term treatment

It’s critical for people to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all dual diagnosis therapy. A process that takes more than a few weeks is required to treat both drug addiction disorders and other mental health conditions. It must be customized to a person’s unique needs for this kind of treatment to be effective. It could need long-term care for years. 

If you are in the recovery phase for a long time, it does not mean that there is something wrong with you or the treatment. Rather, look at it as you would look at any other chronic disease that requires constant care. For instance, if a diabetic person has been undergoing treatment for years, Nobody will assume that their journey is unyielding. Similarly, for some with a dual diagnosis, recovery is a long process, and you need to understand that it may take more time than you anticipated. 



Final Thoughts on Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Individuals dealing with concurrent concerns must seek professional assistance in order to build long-term recovery, regardless of the mix of mental health problems that lead to a dual diagnosis. Thankfully, dual diagnosis therapy is accessible and effective in assisting patients in achieving long-lasting healing and recovery.

There is thus hope if you or someone you love is battling an addiction as well as other problems. Seeking help is the key to living a fulfilling life, and recovery is also possible in that case. 

Whether addiction or mental disease arrived first, it is important to have customized therapy for both problems. The National Institute of Mental Health states that treating substance use disorder and mental health disorders concurrently is always preferable to treating them separately. Treatment should, above all, take into account each patient’s unique needs, beliefs, circumstances, faith, and culture. The patient will be more effective in overcoming their co-occurring illnesses the more individualized the treatment is. 

Additionally, each individual’s symptoms of a mental health disorder will be unique. The most serious warning symptoms, however, include a number of indicators like unclear thinking, attention issues, and suicidal ideation. It is critical that patients who exhibit these signs of a co-occurring condition receive prompt medical care from trained mental health and substance abuse counselors.

If you need help with co-occurring disorder treatment, find a mental health professional that treats co-occurring disorders.

Jordyn Mastrodomenico LPC, LCADC CTP
Author: Jordyn Mastrodomenico LPC, LCADC CTP

Jordyn is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) and Certified Trauma Professional (CTP). She holds a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling, from Caldwell University, Jordyn has extensive experience in Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient settings and is skilled at guiding clients through the recovery process in individual and group therapy sessions.

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