What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Imagine how hard it is to live with a substance use disorder (SUD). Now think about how much harder that would be if you also had a mental illness! Just one or the other is bad enough, but having both disorders causes so much more strife.

More and more people are being diagnosed with these two disorders, which are termed a dual diagnosis. This may be due to the mental health crisis getting worse in recent years. Or it may be that people are being more carefully assessed when they enter a treatment program. Either may be true, but no matter the reason for the increase in dual diagnosis, there is help out there. People who struggle with both an SUD and mental health issue will need special dual diagnosis treatment.

About Dual Diagnosis

A dual diagnosis exists when someone has both an SUD and a mental health disorder at the same time. According to data provided by NAMI, about 8 million adults in the U.S. have a dual diagnosis. People with a mental health disorder are about twice as likely to also suffer from an SUD. The symptoms of a dual diagnosis will vary based on which disorders are present.

It is often unknown which disorder appeared first, the mental health disorder or the SUD. A dual diagnosis can evolve either way. For instance, someone who struggles with social anxiety may begin using marijuana for relief, and then an SUD evolves. Or, it could be the marijuana use became severe enough to cause the paranoia that led to the social anxiety.

Symptoms of a dual diagnosis are diverse. There are, though, some signs and symptoms that someone is struggling with dual diagnosis, such as:

  • Being impulsive.
  • Cognitive problems.
  • Decline in work or school performance.
  • Neglects hygiene.
  • Not able to maintain healthy relationships.
  • Trouble handling daily tasks.
  • Avoids social events; isolates.
  • Money problems.
  • Constant thoughts of suicide and death.
  • Mounting legal problems.
  • Extreme mood swings.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

What makes dual diagnosis treatment unique? How does this type of treatment differ from standard treatment? Treating a dual diagnosis is a niche within the addiction treatment space. These are complex disorders, and there must be a psychiatrist on staff. These experts help shape the treatment along with the clinical staff, and design a tailored plan.

A blended approach is the best way to treat dual diagnosis. This means that both disorders are treated at the same time, versus one after the other. A deep knowledge base of mental health disorders and the DSM-5 is required for proper treatment.

Dual diagnosis treatment involves one on one therapy, group therapy, medication, and other adjunct therapies such as mindfulness, yoga, and exercise programs.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a core treatment method for dual diagnosis. Using CBT a therapist can guide the person toward learning new ways to think and behave. CBT involves homework where new sober habits and thought patterns can be practiced and learned until they become a habit.

CBT helps teach the person about perceived versus actual reality. This can help them make more stable choices about thoughts and actions. CBT also helps shape a more upbeat mindset instead of always talking down about oneself.

Common Co-occuring Disorder Combinations

There are certain combos of the two disorders that are more common than others. These common dual diagnoses include:

  • Marijuana SUD and social anxiety disorder
  • AUD and depression
  • Benzo SUD and anxiety disorder
  • AUD and PTSD
  • Opioid SUD and PTSD
  • Cocaine SUD and anxiety disorders
  • Heroin SUD and depression

High Risk Patients

Since the dual diagnosis tends to cause each disorder’s symptoms to worsen, the results can be severe. When a SUD becomes severe in a person with depression it can have very dire results. This is often the case with AUD and depression. The suicide rate among those with an AUD is five times the rate of the public as it is. Add depression to the picture and it becomes a very serious risk for a person thinking of taking their life. People with this combo need to obtain treatment as early in the illness as they can.

Capo By the Sea Premier Integrated Dual Diagnosis Provider

Capo by the Sea is a leading dual diagnosis provider. This upscale treatment center provides help for those having both an SUD and a mental health problem. The tranquil beachside setting is a perfect setting for healing. An expert staff is equipped to help clients with two disorders achieve a lasting recovery. For more questions about the program, please contact Capo by the Sea today at 888-529-2114