Dual Diagnosis and Addiction Treatment

Dual Diagnosis and Addiction Treatment

You may have heard that people who struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol often also deal with at least one mental illness. This requires them to need treatment for a dual diagnosis so that both conditions are assessed and addressed. If you are wondering “What is a dual diagnosis program?”, we have broken it down for you.

Understanding Dual Diagnosis

When a person receives a dual diagnosis, it means they have a substance use disorder along with at least one diagnosed mental illness. The mental illnesses can include:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Agoraphobia

Approximately half of the people with a substance use disorder also have at least one mental health condition. Many may not be aware they have a dual diagnosis condition, which makes getting diagnosed by a professional imperative in order to begin to receive full treatment. 

How Addiction and Mental Health Difficulties Often Co-Exist

When answering the question of what is a dual diagnosis program, the first thing to consider is how one diagnosis can feed into the other. Some people have a mental illness already going on before they develop an addiction. Often they remain unaware they have a condition such as depression or PTSD, which makes their symptoms painful and difficult to bear. They may begin to use drugs or alcohol to help cope with the symptoms without realizing that this stop-gap approach can lead to a full-blown addiction. 

Other people may develop a substance use disorder first, which then lends itself to developing a mental illness such as depression or an anxiety disorder. Often the burden of dealing with addiction causes a cycle of depressive phases and anxiety about how a person’s addiction is spiraling out of control. Many narcotics cause mental illness-related symptoms, complicating the situation.

In both cases, treating neither condition keeps a person rooted in both of them. If they seek treatment for just one of the issues, the others may become even more problematic. 

How Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs Work

Dual diagnosis treatment often begins in a formal treatment program. The plans can include residential, outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs. A full diagnosis of the addiction and the accompanying mental health illnesses is made by clinical professionals. 

From there, the treatment provider develops a plan to address both issues so that they work in a complementary manner. Once a person has spent time benefitting from their treatment, it makes it easier to transition to less intensive care down the line. Many people graduate from residential and related programs and continue getting assistance managing their mental health diagnoses while maintaining the hard work of staying in recovery.

The Advantages of a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program

Some people may find the idea of addressing both their substance use disorder and any accompanying mental illnesses at the same time to be intimidating. They may be tempted to think they can seek help for one problem, then address the other one later on. In actuality, understanding what is a dual diagnosis program involves knowing that it simplifies the process of dealing with all of the issues.

The comprehensive care that dual diagnosis treatment provides helps shorten the amount of time a person has to invest in learning how to manage their illnesses. Imagine a person having two or three health problems but only telling their doctor about one at a time. They treat one condition and do not mention the others until the first one is cured or managed.  

This lengthens the amount of time it takes to become healthier overall. As well, if one condition exacerbates another one, treating them concurrently makes sense.  A dual diagnosis treatment program provides an overview of what mental illnesses accompany the addiction and provides a comprehensive plan to address everything at the same time. 

Dual diagnosis treatment means a person gets care from a united team of clinical professionals. Every person brings a unique set of needs to a treatment program that can be evaluated all at once. When any doctors, therapists, and others assisting in treatment work as a team, a lot can be accomplished. 

Everyone on the treatment team works in tandem, with full knowledge of each step the individual is taking to help with their various diagnoses. This approach eliminates delayed communication between different medical and therapeutic offices, as well as avoids any miscommunication. 

Many dual diagnosis programs offer aftercare assistance for their clients. This can include activities related directly to their services or the treatment team may provide resources or recommendations for outside help, such as support groups or holistic options to help round out a solid aftercare plan.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Phoenix

If you are ready to address your dual diagnosis and seek help for it, Continuum Recovery Center can provide you with the right program for your needs. We offer many options, including outpatient, partial hospitalization programs, and medication-assisted treatment. We also use holistic methods to help treat your body, mind, and spirit.

If you would like to discuss how our dual diagnosis treatment program can help you, contact Continuum Recovery Center today.