Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Drug Addiction

by Joel Rossenbaum

Up until the early 1990s, those who were suffering from a mental health disorder, such as depressive or manic episodes, anxiety attacks, mood swings, schizophrenia or other delusional behaviors, were treated very differently than people who were seeking help for addictions to drug and alcohol abuse.

Before the 90s, when a patient presented with both mental disorders and addiction problems, they were often denied any medical treatment for their mental condition until they cleaned and sobered up.

Sadly, since drug and alcohol abuse are often driven by some form of underlying undiagnosed mental disorder, this meant that many people suffering from both mental disorders and dependency often never get the help they desperately needed.

Fortunately, there have been enormous stride in addiction and mental health treatment and today, patients suffering from both a mental condition, as well as an addiction disorder are treated as a Dual Diagnosis patients, in order to properly care for both of their conditions.

You can learn more about addiction disorders and recovery by visiting sites like ChaptersCapistrano – Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment.

The Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Today, Dual Diagnosis Treatment involves a combination of the best and most successful aspects of substance abuse treatment, as well as mental health care.

So, instead of simply drawing a solid line between addiction and mental health, these two areas are treated as two separate parts of the same continuum with Dual Diagnosis Treatment.

Now, clinicians in the field of addictions treatment can seek out credentials and training in the treatment of multiple co-existing mental health conditions, which can help them treat their patient with the care they truly need.

In fact, there are even specialized treatment facilities that offer addiction recovery services specifically for patients with a Dual Diagnosis. However, one of the biggest issues with recovery is often finding the right rehabilitation program. This is doubly true for those suffering from anxiety, depression, or long-term substance abuse.

If a person meets the diagnostic requirements for a mental health disorder, (which includes bipolar disorders, depression and suicidal behavior, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia, etc.), as well as an addiction disorder, (which includes drug addiction, alcoholism, sex addiction, gambling addiction, or any other form of behavioral addiction), they may be classified as a Dual Diagnosis patient upon entering a treatment facility.

We should end this by saying that the most effective treatment for a Dual Diagnosis involves treating both the addiction aspect, as well as any underlying mental health illnesses to better help the patient make it through the recovery process.

Getting Diagnosed

As we’ve already mentioned, in order to receive a Dual Diagnosis status, you must meet the requirements for a mental health condition as defined per the most current version of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM.

The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association, or APA, and is used as the industry’s main guideline for diagnosing and treating mental health patients in a wide range of different clinical settings.

Only qualified psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, therapists, or counselors can give a Dual Diagnosis when a patient has a mental health condition, as well as an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or other types of destructive behavior.

Getting Help with a Dual Diagnosis

For many people living with an undiagnosed mental disorder, receiving a Dual Diagnosis often comes as a huge relief. This is especially true for those who’ve been suffering from severe mood swings, depression or episodes of extreme hopelessness, suicidal behaviors, flashbacks, or hallucinations, for an extended period of time.

Often, just being able to put a name to the condition is enough to offer the patient a sense of hope. After all, if a condition can be identified, then it can be treated.

Still, keep in mind that recovering from a mental health disorder is extremely challenging, especially when the person is also battling some form of addiction or substance abuse problem.

However, with a compassionate, properly trained team, anyone suffering from a Dual Diagnosis can get through rehab and begin on their journey towards a full recovery.

About the Author

Joel is a part-time professor. When he is not teaching he spends his time going out for walks with his 2 dogs.  He lives in Oregon together with his wife and 2 kids.

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