What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

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What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Imagine the difficulty of living with not only a substance use disorder, but suffering with a mental health disorder at the same time.  Just one or the other is a difficult cross to bear, but put them together and daily life can be severely impacted.  Increasing numbers of people are being diagnoses with these two concurrent disorders.  Whether that is because the mental health crisis is worsening or that people are being more carefully evaluated when entering a treatment program remains to be seen.  But anyone who is living with these co-occurring disorders should explore dual diagnosis treatment.

About Dual Diagnosis

A dual diagnosis exists when an individual is experiencing both a substance use disorder and a psychiatric disorder.  According to statistics provided by the National Alliance on Mental Health, about 8 million adults in the U.S. have a dual diagnosis.  The symptoms of a dual diagnosis will vary according to the specific combination of disorders involved.  In general, individuals with a diagnosed mental health disorder are about twice as likely to also suffer from a substance use disorder.

It is often unknown which disorder appeared first, the mental health disorder or the substance use disorder.  A dual diagnosis can evolve either way.  For example, an individual suffering from social anxiety may begin abusing marijuana for relief, then acquiring an addiction to it.  Or, the marijuana use disorder became severe enough to cause feelings of paranoia that led to social anxiety.

Symptoms of a dual diagnosis disorder are diverse, depending on which disorders are present.  However, there are some signs and symptoms that an individual is struggling with dual diagnosis, such as:

  • Erratic behaviors, impulsivity, high risk behaviors
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Declining performance at work or school
  • Neglecting hygiene
  • Inability to maintain healthy relationships
  • Sudden personality changes
  • Difficulty managing responsibilities and daily obligations
  • Avoidance of social events, isolating behaviors
  • Financial chaos and mismanagement
  • Obsession with suicide and death
  • Mounting legal problems
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Non-compliant with treatment

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

You may wonder what is dual diagnosis treatment exactly?  How is this type of treatment different from standard addiction treatment?  Treating dual diagnosis is a specialty niche within the addiction treatment space.  This is because dual diagnosis is complex, requiring psychiatrists on staff who actively help shape the treatment plan alongside the addiction specialists and clinical staff.  An integrated approach is the most effective way to treat dual diagnosis, meaning that both disorders are treated simultaneously, versus one after the other.  A deep understanding of pharmacotherapy and psychiatric disorders is intrinsic in effectively treating dual diagnosis.

When asking what is dual diagnosis treatment you may receive various descriptions of it.  Generally, however, dual diagnosis treatment involves psychotherapy, group therapy, medication management of psychotropic drugs for the mental health disorder, and various adjunct therapies such as biofeedback, mindfulness exercises, yoga, guided meditation, and exercise programs.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an essential treatment element for dual diagnosis.  Using CBT a therapist can guide the individual toward discovering new ways to think and behave.  Using an immersive style of therapy, CBT involves continuous homework where new sober habits and more rational thought patterns can be practiced and learned until they become reflexive.  CBT teaches the individual the difference between perceived reality and reality, with regard to how they think people view them, and their responses to that eventually become based on reality.

Common Dual Diagnosis Combinations

There are certain combinations of the two disorders that are more prevalent.  These common dual diagnoses include:

  • Marijuana use disorder and social anxiety disorder
  • Alcohol use disorder and depression
  • Benzodiazepine use disorder and anxiety disorder
  • Alcohol use disorder and PTSD
  • Opioid use disorder and PTSD
  • Cocaine use disorder and anxiety disorders
  • Heroin use disorder and depression

 Dual Diagnosis Patients High Risk

Since the co-occurring disorders tend to exacerbate each other’s usual symptoms the results can be very serious.  When a substance use disorder becomes severe in a person with depression it can have very dire consequences.  In fact, the suicide rate among alcoholics is extremely high, and major depression is often a co-occurring disorder.  The disorders can enhance the negative aspects to a more serious degree when they coexist.

Capo By the Sea Premier Integrated Dual Diagnosis Provider

Capo By the Sea is a leading inpatient dual diagnosis provider located in beautiful Dana Point, California.  This luxury treatment center specialized in treating the dual diagnosis client, with extensively skilled doctors working alongside addiction specialists.  For more questions about what is dual diagnosis treatment, please contact Capo By the Sea today at (888) 529-2114