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Dual Diagnosis Drug Rehab

SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) reports that over 8.9 million Americans suffer from COD (co-occurring disorders), or dual diagnoses. Dual diagnosis refers to a state where the affected individual has both a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental health issue. However, only about 7 percent of these people receive dual diagnosis drug rehab while more than half of them never receive any form of treatment for either condition.

Since everyone responds in a different way to dual diagnosis drug rehab, treatment should be tailored in such a way that it meets the unique needs of the patient. If you have a dual diagnosis, therefore, it is imperative that you find a facility that will effectively address all your needs and employ strategies that you find acceptable. To ensure your success, it is also important that you research the market and check out what every dual diagnosis drug rehab center has to offer before making a final decision.

About Dual Diagnosis Drug Rehab

Otherwise referred to as comorbid or co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis is the clinical term used to refer to the occurrence of both a behavioral or mental health condition and a substance use disorder.

In most cases, one of these conditions might contribute to the other, or make it worse than it already is. For instance, if you have a mental health issue, you might turn to alcohol and/or drugs while trying to cope with your symptoms. On the other hand, your substance abuse might cause you to suffer poor mental health or exacerbate other related symptoms.

In 2014, SAMHSA reported that more than 8 million American adults struggled with both mental health disorders and substance use disorders. Among these people, only a small fraction received dual diagnosis drug rehab to enable them overcome their problems.

In spite of these staggering numbers, there is no universal explanation to show why psychiatric illness and alcohol and drug addiction co-occur. However, it is clear that people suffering from both conditions tend to exhibit symptoms and signs that are more severe, persistent, and resistant to mainstream treatment in comparison to those who only suffer from a single condition.

Today, dual diagnosis drug rehab and treatment is relatively new in the field of addiction treatment. Until about the 90s, people showing the typical symptoms of mental health issues - including but not limited to mood swings, delusional behavior, depressive episodes, and anxiety attacks - were usually treated separately from those seeking help for alcohol or drug abuse.

In those situations where both conditions overlapped, most clients did not receive treatment for their mental health disorder until they managed to get sober and clean. At the time, addiction treatment professionals and experts did not understand that substance abuse is commonly driven by underlying psychiatric disorders. As a direct result, most of the people who had a dual diagnosis of mental health issues and addiction never received the treatment they needed.

About 20 years ago, however, dual diagnosis finally emerged as a verifiable concept. Still, it wasn't properly understood in medical circles for several years. Today, dual diagnosis drug rehab is defined as the practice of treating people suffering from both a psychiatric disorder and an addiction.

For instance, you can be addicted to drugs or alcohol and have mental health issues like panic disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or any other condition.

This means that even high functioning alcoholics might discover that they are suffering from clinical depression, crack addicts may suffer from mood disorders, and bulimics might also be bipolar.

This dual nature that afflicts so many addicts is still largely undiagnosed and - as a direct result - often goes untreated. However, it is responsible for the relative high incidence of recurring substance abuse or relapse.

Although dual diagnosis drug rehab was first conceptualized more than 20 years ago, the health care system does not fully understand it. As a direct result, many addiction treatment centers have not been set up to provide rehabilitation services for addicts with mental health disorders.

Today, the mainstream health care system in the United States has been set up so that it works in either one of the following ways:

a) Sequentially

First, treatment focuses on dealing with addiction before it proceeds to healing the underlying or resulting psychiatric problem. Unfortunately, this means that there is a time lapse in between the two stages of treatment during which the recovering addict might relapse.

b) Separately

On the other hand, the mental health problem and the addiction are treated simultaneously but by different medical doctors. This means that neither of the physicians has a full picture of the state of health of their patient. In some cases, the doctors might be tentative about writing out prescriptions because they may fear that they will exacerbate the other problem.

For treatment to work, it is imperative that it is offered on the basis of dual diagnosis drug rehab. This is because addiction is usually as a result of biochemical imbalances, depression, anxiety, trauma, and other mental health problems.

As a direct result, when you try to relieve and regulate your pain and suffering, you might eventually find that you are addicted to the drugs and alcohol you have been abusing. This is why you need dual diagnosis treatment to ensure your full recovery and long term sobriety and abstinence.

Still, dual diagnosis drug rehab is sometimes problematic in the sense that there are no standard routes for arriving at the point of such a diagnosis. This is because, for starters, mood and mental health disorders might precede your chemical dependence and addictive behavior. On the other hand, addictive behavior might also cause you to develop a mood or mental health disorder.

The important thing about such treatment is that you need to realize that both conditions exist and get your addiction treatment specialists to create an unique approach to ensure that both conditions are effectively healed.

Signs And Symptoms Of Related Conditions

Since the symptoms displayed by people with co-occurring disorder tend to vary greatly - mostly due to the many different possible combinations of mental health conditions and addictions - there is no clear observation that could indicate that you have a dual diagnosis - at least not to a high accuracy of certainty.

With this complexity and inconsistency in mind, the behaviors and symptoms listed below are usually present in cases of dual diagnosis. As we mentioned above, substance use disorders and mental health disorders tend to occur together. However, the symptoms they display may be distinct and different from each other.

Although the symptoms may differ based on the mental health condition you are suffering from, there are some common signs and symptoms that you have to display before undergoing dual diagnosis drug rehab and treatment.

In most cases, you will receive your evaluation and assessment from an addiction specialist or a mental health professionals. During this assessment, the following red flags might indicate that you have a problem with drugs and alcohol:

  • Withdrawing from your close family and friends
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Taking larger doses of your preferred drugs to achieve the desired effects
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Struggling to perform and keep up with work or school
  • Stealing or lying to continue your addictive behavior
  • Staying up late and instead choosing to sleep during the day
  • Reduced interest in everyday tasks
  • Racing thoughts
  • Perceived inability to work and function normally without drugs and/or alcohol
  • Lack of energy
  • Increased irritability
  • Feeling panic, fear, worthless, and hopeless on account of your substance abuse
  • Feeling guilty and regretting your compulsive behavior
  • Extreme alterations in your normal behavior
  • Experiencing withdrawal whenever you try to stop abusing your preferred drugs or if you cut down on your usual dose
  • Engaging in risky behavior any time you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Engaging in increasingly risky behavior to ensure that you are able to maintain your addictive or abusive habit
  • Engaging in high risk behavior to accentuate your intoxication
  • Developing high tolerance to the substances you tend to abuse
  • Complete loss of control over your substance abuse
  • Changes in sleep patterns, weight, and appetite
  • Attempting to quit but doing so unsuccessfully
  • Alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms
  • Abandoning family and friends so that you can spend time with a new crowd or engaging in new activities

On the other hand, the symptoms of a mental health condition will vary from one type of ailment to another. Therefore, while struggling with your addiction, you might also face the following co-occurring disorders:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality disorder
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorder

However, you might only be able to tell that you have a psychiatric disorder if you:

  • Use alcohol and/or drugs to cope with stress or manage your moods
  • Have trouble holding on to a job, maintaining friendships, or keeping an apartment due to your mood swings and behavioral issues
  • Have dramatic changes in energy levels and mood
  • Feel the urge to maintain relatively high standards in your day to day life so as to relieve the internal anxiety you are feeling
  • Feel compelled to follow certain complicated rituals
  • Express feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or despair more than two weeks consecutively
  • Experience sensory sensations that others do not share, or have hallucinations
  • Deliberately and consciously withdraw from others and refuse all offers of support and help
  • Believe things that are not necessarily true, or have delusions

That said, the only true way you can know for sure that you have a dual diagnosis is by seeing a doctor or an addiction treatment and rehabilitation specialist - particularly one with a background and training in psychiatric health care.

Self-Medication And Dual Diagnosis

Self-medication refers to the act of using intoxicating and mind altering substances to escape from your mental health disorder, or to at least try and quell the symptoms that such a disorder shows.

For instance, if you are suffering from depression or anxiety, you might engage in excessive or binge drinking or start taking drugs to ease the pain of your condition or forget it entirely.

Although self-medication might seem like it is providing you with some relief, this relief will be temporary and short lived at best. In the long run, such behavior comes with many dangers - one of which is that the underlying cause of your disorder will never be treated unless you check into a dual diagnosis drug rehab facility.

Additionally, as your body continues building up resistance to the substances you abuse, you may start looking for longer durations of relief from your mental health suffering. At this point, the only way you can achieve your aims would be by increasing the potency, dosage, or frequency of the intoxicating and mind altering substances you abuse.

Additionally, self-medication might further mask all underlying complex conditions. As a direct result, it might cause you to receive a false diagnosis. This means that you will be left undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and/or untreated.

The Difference In Dual Diagnosis Drug Rehab

As we mentioned earlier, dual diagnosis drug rehab now blends the most effective and successful aspects of substance abuse treatment and mental health care. This means that practitioners no longer draw hard lines between addiction and psychiatric health. Instead, both conditions are treated as part and parcel of one continuum of care.

In the same way, dual diagnosis drug rehab clinicians now receive credentials and training to be able to treat co-occurring disorders. Additionally, there are dedicated rehabilitation centers that offer specialized recovery services specifically personalized for patients with dual diagnosis.

Still, you might find that it is hard to get the right program for your particular unique situation. This is especially if you have a dual diagnosis and you have been suffering with mental health issues alongside your substance abuse and addiction.

According to the OAS (Office of Applied Studies), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services in the United States, only about 12% of the more than 4 million Americans suffering from dual diagnosis receive treatment to cover both conditions.

This is why you need to ensure that the facility you choose specialized in dual diagnosis drug rehab treatment if you suspect that you have a co-occurring mental health condition such as personality disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, or depression over and above your substance use disorder.

The facility should also be able to give you a proper diagnosis and classify you as a dual diagnosis patient during the assessment stage after you go for treatment. After that, the conditions should be treated effectively by considering how both conditions are progressing as you go through your recovery and rehabilitation.

To ensure that you are able to achieve full recovery through dual diagnosis drug rehab, it is also imperative that your care and treatment includes the following:

  • Supportive approaches to counseling and therapy that will build your self-confidence and reinforce your self-esteem instead of being confronted by the treatment team with negative and aggressive statements
  • Parallel treatment of every substance use disorder and mental health issue by a highly trained and officially licensed dual diagnosis drug rehab team
  • Inclusive dual diagnosis drug rehab and treatment strategies that bring children, spouses, partners, and any other member of the household into counseling sessions and therapy for group meetings, general education, and individual counseling
  • Acknowledgement of the great importance of various psychotherapeutic medications and drugs, such as anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants, in treating your co-occurring disorders

Assessment For Dual Diagnosis

When you undergo clinical assessment to determine if you meet the criteria for dual diagnosis, the health professionals you work with will consider a variety of factors. In general, they might look to see whether you:

  • Are motivated to go through dual diagnosis drug rehab and you have the level of adequate support you need to ensure that your treatment is successful
  • Have a history of aggressiveness and violence
  • Have a history of drug and alcohol abuse that has negatively impacted your leisure activities, work, relationships, schooling, and mental health
  • Have a stable support system as well as resources that could help with your recovery
  • Have experienced suicidal ideation or attempted suicide at some point in your life
  • Meet the basic criteria to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders
  • Might be dangerous, either to yourself or to anyone else around you

Receiving A Dual Diagnosis

In most cases - particularly in the most severe of them - co-occurring disorders tend to persist for a long time before they are properly diagnosed. This is often due to the fact that the symptoms that arise as a result of these conditions tend to be complex and severe.

On account of this complexity, most addicts often undergo rehabilitation for only one part of their diagnosis. However, research shows that when treatment is isolated, there are fewer chances of long term healing and recovery. This is why dual diagnosis drug rehab should take an integrated approach for success and effectiveness.

For you to get a dual diagnosis, it is imperative that you meet the basic criteria for mental health conditions as they are defined under DSM-5 (the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). DSM is published under the auspices of the APA (American Psychiatric Association) as the main guideline for professionals working in the mental health treatment and rehabilitation field diagnosing, rehabilitating, and treatment patients in various clinical settings.

Therefore, a duly licensed and qualified therapist, counselor, psychologist, physician, or psychiatrist can provide you with a dual diagnosis after they discover that you are displaying the classical signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction over and above the signs of mental health conditions.

Receiving such a diagnosis might also come as a great relief to you, especially if you have been living with undiagnosed mental health conditions for a while. In the same way, you might become hopeful after the doctors diagnose the reason why you have been putting up with flashbacks to traumatic happenings and events, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, episodes of sadness and hopelessness, as well as severe mood swings. This is because you probably already know that most of the conditions that can be named can also be treated and rehabilitation.

However, you need to understand that recovering from a mental health disorder can be a bit of a challenge particularly if you have also been battling substance abuse and addiction. Luckily, there are many dual diagnosis drug rehab facilities that provide properly trained, licensed, and compassionate treatment professionals to ensure you overcome your affliction and start getting your life in order.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If you receive a dual diagnosis, it is imperative that you seek treatment and rehabilitation for all the conditions that you are experiencing. This is because when you fail to treat one of these conditions, it will progress - or even cause you to lose any gains you might have made while undergoing rehab for the other condition.

At the dual diagnosis drug rehab center, your doctors and addiction treatment specialists will view your case as unique. As a direct result, they will create an unique and highly individualized and personalized approach to treatment.

In most cases, you will find that effective dual diagnosis drug rehab programs often include combinations of the following approaches to treatment:

  • Therapy
  • Residential inpatient, outpatient, intensive outpatient, or partial hospitalization rehabilitation
  • Detox
  • Assessment
  • Aftercare

Additionally, the facility will provide highly specialized and comprehensive programs for any other disorder you might have, including but not limited to recreational therapy, nutritional therapy, and medical stabilization.

When you attend dual diagnosis drug rehab, the evaluation specialists and intake counselors will evaluate your addiction and substance abuse patterns and your psychiatric and mental health history before they assess whether you have a co-occurring disorder. If they find that you have a dual diagnosis, they will develop a highly individualized treatment and rehabilitation plan.

Today, research shows that people with co-occurring mental health conditions and addiction can also stabilize and find the recovery they need. One of the most important aspects of dual diagnosis drug rehab and treatment is provided in the form of behavioral interventions.

Some of the types of behavioral therapy that are commonly applied to treat cases of dual diagnosis include, but are not always limited to:

a) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Also known as CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy works to reduce, minimize, or completely eliminate all problematic behaviors and beliefs. It will also teach you how to develop healthier behavioral patterns and way of thinking to ensure that you can sustain your sobriety and overcome your mental health issues.

b) Dialectic Behavioral Therapy

DBT or dialectic behavioral therapy is primarily designed in such a way that it will help you reduce all self-harming thoughts and behaviors - which tend to occur for people suffering from both substance use disorders and mental health conditions.

c) Individual Psychotherapy

Individual psychotherapy will treat all the behaviors that are related to your drug and alcohol abuse as well as particular mental health and behavioral problems.

d) Integrated Group Therapy

Integrated group therapy, on the other hand, seeks to deal with all the signs and symptoms of both the mental health illnesses and the substance use disorders you might be suffering from at the same time.

Over and above everything else, dual diagnosis drug rehab programs may combine these behavioral therapies with certain medications. The drugs that could be used will vary from one person to another as well as from diagnosis to diagnosis.

Still, the most commonly used drugs in the treatment of dual diagnosis include anticonvulsants and lithium - which are usually prescribed for stabilizing mood swings. You might also receive SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), and anti-anxiety medications like BuSpar (buspirone).

In case you have been battling drug/alcohol abuse and addiction at the same time as a mental illness, it is imperative that you talk to a rehabilitation specialist and get the best dual diagnosis drug rehab depending on your particular needs and preferences.

In most cases you will find that dual diagnosis treatment will often be provided either on an outpatient or an inpatient basis - although inpatient rehabilitation is usually more preferable due to its intensity, effectiveness, and higher rates of success.

However, you should always remember that there is no universal treatment option that is applied in dual diagnosis drug rehab facilities. This is because there is such a wide variety of mental health conditions. It could also be as a result of the fact that the relationship between your substance abuse and your psychiatric disorder might be so complicated that only an individualized and highly specialized treatment program will work.

TYPES OF DUAL DIAGNOSIS DRUG REHABS

When you seek dual diagnosis drug rehab, you might be diagnosed with any, some or all of the following conditions:

  • Anxiety disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or generalized anxiety
  • Eating disorders like anorexia, binge eating disorder, or bulimia
  • Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder or major depression
  • Personality disorders like antisocial disorder and borderline personality disorder
  • Substance abuse and addiction

Either way, the following are some of the options you might want to choose from when you wish to undergo dual diagnosis drug rehabilitation:

a) Inpatient Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Based on how severe your condition is, you might find that you require inpatient care or can benefit most from it. Residential rehabilitation, as this form of treatment is commonly referred to, will involve you living at the treatment facility until you are completely recovered from your mental health conditions and substance use disorder.

During your inpatient dual diagnosis drug rehab, you will receive ongoing support and additional services. The program may also be more intensive since it ensures that you:

  • Receive regular education lessons about substance abuse, addiction, and mental health issues
  • Receive daily counseling and therapy
  • Get the opportunity to attend and participate in support group meetings on a daily basis
  • Will be immersed in a larger community of individuals learning how to live without alcohol and drugs

b) Outpatient Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Alternatively, your dual diagnosis drug rehab treatment might be provided on an outpatient basis. This type of treatment is more flexible in the long run and might vary in time commitment and intensity. In most cases, you will have to spend 30 hours (or more) every week at the rehabilitation facility.

You can also transition from inpatient dual diagnosis drug rehab to an outpatient program to ensure that you can continue living independently even as you continue making strides towards long term recovery.

During this form of treatment, you will receive the following services:

  • Additional support so you can live independently
  • Family therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Involvement in 12 step and non-12 step programs as well as peer support groups
  • Medication management
  • Transportation

Dual Diagnosis Drug Rehab FAQ's

To better understand dual diagnosis drug rehab and how it works, consider the following commonly asked questions:

Q: How common are co-occurring disorders?

A: Dual diagnosis is more common than most people realize. In fact, SAMHSA reports that more than 8 million American adults living in the United States have co-occurring disorders.

Q: Does parallel or separate treatment work for dual diagnosis drug rehab?

A: No, parallel/separate treatment is not the most effective approach to dual diagnosis drug rehab. In the past, clients received treatment from different care providers and doctors or in different time periods.

However, integrated treatment programs started arising in the 1980s - most of which were based on evidence showing that separate and/or treatment was not effective. These integrated dual diagnosis drug rehab approaches have now been found to be more effective. Today, they are the most commonly used approaches in treating co-occurring disorders.

Overall, the only way you can insure your long term recovery is by getting the dual diagnosis drug rehab and treatment plan to focus on addressing the specific disorders you are dealing with as well as provide relief for your addictive behavior. In most cases, these facilities will base their level of care on your substance abuse as well as on the severity and intensity of your psychiatric disorder. The important thing is to ensure that you get the right diagnosis and receive treatment for all your conditions.