What does it mean to carry a dual diagnosis? Is that when you have a broken leg and the flu? Plenty of patients have more than one illness or diagnosis at any given time but when we talk about dual diagnosis, we’re specifically talking about a diagnosis of a mental illness or disorder in combination with an addiction. An alcoholic with severe anxiety or a heroin addict with bipolar disorder are examples of a dual diagnosis.
Let’s learn more about dual diagnosis and its treatment including examples of dual diagnoses, why it’s so difficult to treat, what treatments are used, and how those suffering from dual diagnoses can get help.
Different Types of Dual Diagnosis
Dual diagnosis comes in many forms which makes treating it a unique challenge. A patient could be an alcoholic with clinical depression or an opioid user with a nasty case of OCD. Similar issues but several subtle differences. Because there is such a variety of dual diagnoses, treating them can be difficult. Let’s learn how modern drug treatment facilities and other centers tackle dual diagnosis.
Treating Dual Diagnosis
Dual diagnoses are notoriously difficult to treat for several reasons, but they are treatable. One factor that makes treatment of dual diagnoses so difficult is the chicken or egg situation.
Treatment professionals must figure out if the addiction is playing into the mental illness, the other way around, or if the two conditions are mutually exclusive. Did the patient turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate their depression or did they become clinically depressed only after the addiction took hold? Was the patient already genetically predisposed to both mood disorders and addiction? Determining where different problems stem from and how they interact with each other plays a large part in determining success.
Doctors may talk long patient histories, involve the patient with more counseling, or utilize several therapies that are proven effective against addiction and mental disorders. Common therapies include cognitive-behavioral therapy, group counseling, eye movement sensitization and reprocessing, neurofeedback therapy and much more.
Therapies Used for Dual Diagnosis
Which type of therapies are used for dual diagnosis depend on the individual diagnoses. You won’t use the same techniques to treat major depression as you would treat PTSD and the same applies to addiction. Though every diagnosis gets its own unique treatment, there are some guidelines you can expect for therapy.
You will not have the capacity to combat your other disorders or learn to grow as a person if you’re still drinking or using drugs. Treating immediate addiction is one of the first steps in treating any dual diagnosis. Again, what type of drug or alcohol treatment you receive depends on the individual situation, but most modern centers use a combination of counseling, pharmaceuticals, and good old-fashioned psychology to help you flush the drugs from your system with a positive attitude and get ready for long-term sobriety.
Because dual diagnosis needs more specialized care you may have to move to another treatment facility or seek another form of counseling after your initial detox period. The standard 28-day inpatient rehab treatment is generally not enough to beat dual diagnosis.
Medication / Nutrition & Supplements
Medication with proper nutrition habits and supplements are often used in dual diagnosis. While addiction alone doesn’t often come with long-term medication, dual diagnosis can. Doctors may prescribe antidepressants along with other medications as well recommend supplements to help your recovery. You will also receive lessons on diet, nutrition, exercise, and how some foods can give you a huge boost. Many addicts shy away from doctor-prescribed pills but in the case of dual diagnosis, it could be a life-saver.
Can You go to Any Treatment Center for Dual Diagnosis?
Though all mental disorders can cause severe issues and consequences, most modern addiction treatment centers are much more concerned with treating the immediate addiction before touching on other disorders. There are dozens of reputable and licensed drug and treatment centers across the country, but many are not equipped with personnel and strategy to correctly address a dual diagnosis during short-term treatment.
If you think you carry a dual diagnosis you will need to take extra care if you’re seeking drug and alcohol treatment. You will need to search specifically for treatment centers equipped to handle other issues outside of immediate addiction. It will take more time, will leave you fewer options, and may ultimately cost more but your chances of beating both your addiction and other disorders rise significantly when you choose a treatment center that is proven to handle both.
Women and Dual Diagnosis
Women are more likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder on top of addiction more than men. It is not known if women suffer a higher frequency of mood disorders or if men simply don’t report or seek treatment but statistically women are more likely to suffer from dual diagnosis.
Women seeking treatment for dual diagnosis are likely to enjoy more success in a gender-specific rehab program that is equipped for dual diagnoses. The good news is that female-oriented treatment programs tend to put more emphasis on treating issues outside of addiction. Like any other type of treatment, a more specialized and targeted form of treatment can better help women recover from their unique issues.
Getting Help for Dual Diagnosis
If you or a loved one is suffering from a dual diagnosis, chances are good that life is difficult. If you need help treating your dual diagnosis get on the phone or head online to find treatment centers in your area. Because dual diagnosis is difficult to treat you will need to search for a treatment option that has the staff and knowledge to cater to your needs. Searching can be difficult but you can’t get help until you reach out – pick up the phone today.