Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers provide proper rehabilitation for people with a psychological disorder and a substance abuse issue combined. The term dual diagnosis is defined as an individual who has at least one psychological disorder as well as an alcohol or drug use disorder. It is also referred to as a co-occurring disorder.
This can include a bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD and others. Studies have shown nearly 37% of alcohol abusers and over 50% of drug addicts suffer from at least one mental health condition.
It is vitally important that both conditions receive proper treatment simultaneously.
How Dual Diagnosis Rehab Centers Work
Dual Diagnosis Treatment refers to a type of program that provides therapy which addresses both the substance abuse and psychiatric condition together. This area of addiction medicine has been growing in popularity in recent years, and is thought to be a more comprehensive, effective approach.
Most addiction experts believe in the importance of treating both conditions as the best way to be successful. Treating both conditions simultaneously has been shown to be more effective in long-term recovery.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers are more effective for treating co-occurring disorders than traditional addiction treatment centers that do not deal with mental health for several reasons, including:
- The therapy focuses on the underlying causes behind an addiction AND mental health condition
- Because it focuses on BOTH issues at the same time, it is more effective in the long run
- Patients are more likely to reach a long lasting recovery without relapse
- A comprehensive approach offers clients additional tools to work with to recover from relapses more quickly if they do happen
People suffering from a mental health disorder are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism, so it is important that the treatment facility has doctors and therapists on staff who are experienced and well-versed in addressing both the mental health disorder as well as alcohol and drug misuse.
As previously mentioned, the co-occurring condition can be bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, ADHD, panic, personality disorders and others. When addiction and mental illnesses interact with each other, it can be difficult to determine which symptoms are being caused by which disorder.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers – Therapy Model
Therapy is most effective in evidence-based programs. Evidenced-based practices use a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, family counseling and community oriented support groups.
The best therapy consists of a variety of techniques for both the mental illness and substance abuse. It should be designed to help the client develop hope, knowledge, and skills to better manage their conditions.
Properly trained therapists can help a patient realize the destructive role alcohol and drugs have been playing in their lives. They need to realize alcohol and drugs can exacerbate their psychiatric disorder.
The best dual diagnosis treatment centers offer a variety of addiction counseling and cognitive therapy programs that are individually tailored to address each patient’s specific needs.
Alcohol or drug abuse can cause similar types of behaviors that often mimic real psychiatric conditions. Because these symptoms are so tightly intertwined, it is vital for anyone suffering from both a mental illness and substance abuse problem to get treatment at an inpatient drug rehab facility experienced in dual diagnosis treatment.
According to the Journal of Addiction Medicine, 60% of individuals diagnosed with a bipolar condition are also struggling with addiction, generally substance abuse.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 37% of all alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one psychological disorder.
- About 44 million Americans experience some type of mental health disorder
- Nearly 7 million adults in the United States have a co-occurring mental health and substance-related disorder
- Almost 50% of individuals diagnosed with psychiatric disorders are affected by substance abuse
- Nearly 40% of people diagnosed with alcoholism have at least one mental health condition
- Over 50% of individuals with drug addiction have a co-occurring psychiatric disorder
To make full use of a dual diagnosis treatment facility, a person must meet the criteria of having a clear and diagnosable mental health disorder, as defined by the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
Secondly, the person also needs to have a clear diagnosis of either alcohol abuse and/or drug abuse as defined by the same manual listed above.
If only one of these criteria are met, an individual can still be admitted to a treatment facility, but they will not meet the criteria of having a dual diagnosis and will only be treated for one of the issues – addiction or mental health.
Personality Disorders & Co-Occurring Disorders
A co-occurring disorder indicates a drug or alcohol addiction with one or more mental health illnesses.
Many addicts suffer from one or more personality disorders that makes them more likely to adopt drug-seeking behaviors. Personality disorders can severely impair an addict’s ability to maintain employment, engage in healthy relationships, exert proper impulse control and recognize abnormal thinking patterns.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders categorizes personality disorders in clusters:
- Cluster A includes schizoid and paranoid personalities
- Cluster B includes borderline, narcissistic and antisocial personalities
- Cluster C includes avoidant, obsessive-compulsive and dependent personalities
The prevalence of personality disorders among substance abusers is extremely high, so high that the majority of integrated treatments for co-occurring disorders focuses on patients with antisocial and borderline personality disorders.
Psychiatric Disorders Can Trigger Substance Abuse
When addicts with schizophrenia or schizophrenia sub-types abuse alcohol and/or drugs, their mental illness tends to be more severe than it would be if they were not addicted to any substances.
To determine if hallucinations and delusional thinking can be attributed to mental illness, patients entering a rehab center will need to undergo detoxification first before a co-occurring disorder diagnosis can be correctly made.
Nearly 20 millions Americans suffer from depression. It is a serious medical condition that can result in many people “self-medicating” to alleviate the symptoms or help manage their condition. When this happens and they become addicted, the outcome is a “co-occurring” disorder.
Severe depression, bipolar depression and mania are considered mood disorders. When a mood disorder continues affecting an addict following detoxification, they will likely receive a co-occurring disorder diagnosis.
Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders
General treatment guidelines for addressing addiction and mental illness often involve the following principles and protocols:
- Developing and utilizing a therapeutic alliance to help fully engage patients in treatment
- Maintaining a perspective that emphasizes recovery and a goal-oriented future
- Monitoring psychiatric symptoms through empathetic, supportive counseling methods
- Providing motivational support consistent with the patient’s stage in recovery
- Using cognitive behavioral therapy and relapse prevention techniques
- Facilitating patient participation in group therapy
Features of the recovery perspective found in integrated treatments for co-occurring disorders include acknowledging the long-term, internal process of recovering from an addiction and understanding how recovery progresses in stages that happen over the patient’s lifetime.
Aftercare Support For Co-Occurring Disorders
Neither addiction nor mental illness are “curable,” but they are manageable. Integrated aftercare services must be incorporated into a recovering addict’s treatment plan to address emerging physical and mental issues on an ongoing basis.
In addition to medical care and psycho-therapeutic counseling, patients may also benefit from holistic therapies involving creative, spiritual and nature-oriented activities.
Also essential to an aftercare support program for addicts with co-occurring disorders are medications for controlling the mental illness symptoms that previously contributed to their addictive behaviors.
Since many substance abusers with mental illnesses or personality disorders turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication, case managers need to be aware of the importance of taking medications as prescribed to their clients in treatment.
These medications are necessary for managing the mental health disorders so they can remain free from drugs or alcohol that might otherwise be used as a coping tool.