Counselors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Millions of people who are struggling with a substance abuse disorder also have a mental health condition at the same time, which is called a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis because the two conditions require treatment concurrently for either to improve. Someone could have a co-occurring disorder because their mental health disorder is causing them to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, or an individual could be experiencing a mental health issue caused by their substance abuse. So this could go either way, yet in either case it would fall under the category of a dual diagnosis. Yet less than 10% of individuals who are experiencing co-occurring mental health and substance abuse orders are receiving treatment for it, and the vast majority receive no treatment at all for either condition.
However, treatment settings which introduce integrated treatment in such cases to treat both the mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders concurrently in clients show that dual diagnosis rehab is associated with significantly improved outcomes than other types of rehab which don't address both concurrently. Clients in a dual diagnosis rehab setting typically experience much better outcomes because their mental health symptoms are addressed adequately, which in turn decreases future possibility of hospitalization, arrests, and future substance abuse while at the same time improving their overall quality of life.
In many cases it isn't understood by the general public that a mental health condition can trigger substance abuse, or that a substance abuse disorder can exacerbate a mental health condition, or that drugs and alcohol can trigger mental health issues. When identified and diagnosed however, co-occurring disorders can be more effectively addressed in a dual diagnosis rehab so that individuals can avoid many of the consequences that their untreated and/or undiagnosed peers experience including homelessness, incarceration, suicide and premature death. So first the dual diagnosis must in fact be diagnosed, which is possible through various service systems established in the criminal justice system, through entities which help the homeless, through services which help active and veteran military service members who are experiencing a mental health disorder (such as PTSD), and through many local dual diagnosis rehabs whose treatment counselors work closely with medical professionals to help diagnose and treat dual diagnosis clients.
When someone with co-occurring disorders arrives to a dual diagnosis rehab, everything about their mental health and substance abuse disorder will be thoroughly assessed to determine several things. First dual diagnosis rehab professionals will want to determine what type of mental health issues need to be addressed while in treatment. This can be determined with the help of medical professionals who may have already diagnosed the client beforehand, or this can also be done once the person makes it to dual diagnosis rehab as these facilities liaise closely with physicians and mental health professionals. Treatment and medical professionals at dual diagnosis rehabs will also want to immediately establish the medication history of the client, and whether or not they are on any medication currently for the treatment of their mental health condition and at what dosage.
It is important that dual diagnosis rehab clients be particularly honest about this type of information, because of the fact that abrupt cessation of certain prescription drugs used in the treatment of mental illness could cause withdrawal symptoms which could be potentially life-threatening. In these instances, detox professionals will want to assess what dosage is most appropriate to wean someone off of a drug if this is necessary. If the individual isn't taking any prescription medication but is abusing illicit drugs or alcohol only, they will go through a standard detox as in any other situation where they would be receiving treatment for a substance abuse disorder, with alcohol detox in particular receiving close care and attention because it too can cause symptoms which may endanger a client unless properly managed.
Once a dual diagnosis rehab client has been detoxed safely from drugs and alcohol and either weaned off of their prescription medications or their dosage correctly established, treatment can begin to help identify things which trigger their substance abuse disorder and likewise those which cause deterioration in their mental state. With this in mind, it should be understood that there are treatment programs which treat dual diagnosis so effectively that the need for medication now and in the future can be eliminated completely. When you consider that many individuals abuse drugs and alcohol, and even prescription drugs, to self-medicate it is understandable why many dual diagnosis treatment clients actually have a chance of being completely drug free including free of the need to medicate with prescription drugs if they directly treat what triggers and exacerbates these conditions.
Stress, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, and personality disorders can be effectively resolved through alternative treatment practices at dual diagnosis rehabs which provide a holistic and drug free approach for example. These dual diagnosis rehabs incorporate drug free remedies and alternative therapy including cognitive behavioral therapy and other treatment that address any mental and physical challenges the person may be self-medicating because of which would be more proactively addressed with these alternative techniques. For example, someone who experiences frequent anxiety can receive cognitive behavioral therapy in a dual diagnosis rehab to determine what triggers their anxiety and then develop ways to adapt their response to it so that it doesn't negatively affect them and so they are better able to cope with such situations in the future. This approach to treatment is centered on helping a dual diagnosis client change their outlook on life and how they view themselves, improving self-worth and self-confidence, and changing the way they respond to stressful situations and their behavior and attitude as it pertains to drugs and alcohol and their substance abuse problem.
Another factor which makes dual diagnosis treatment a much more effective process is when individuals can immerse themselves in the process. It is hard enough for someone who needs treatment for dual diagnosis to admit that they have such an issue that needs to be addressed and to make the commitment to receive treatment for it, but what makes it even harder is remaining in an environment which triggers their stress, anxiety, etc. and hence their substance abuse. There are dual diagnosis rehabs which eliminate the possibility of the individual experiencing setbacks because of environmental triggers, and these programs deliver treatment in either an inpatient facility or a residential facility for either a short term or long term treatment plan. For dual diagnosis clients in particular who often require a more intensive treatment episode, long-term treatment in an inpatient or residential dual diagnosis rehab is most effective and an ideal treatment option for those who can access such programs. Because dual diagnosis has been recognized as such a common problem, private health insurance has become more flexible about what they will cover and long-term treatment is an option for many dual diagnosis clients.
Correctly diagnosing and treating a co-occurring disorder can immediately change the course of someone's life for the better, just as not doing so can leave a person struggling with a dual diagnosis unnecessarily which can significantly threaten their quality of life. Contact your primary care physician, your mental health professional or a treatment professional in your area if you or someone you care about may need a more tailored approach to treatment in a dual diagnosis rehab setting.