If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with co-occurring disorders, you know firsthand the toll that these dueling disorders can take on an individual. You know firsthand how complicated dual diagnosis can be. And like millions of others battling comorbid disorders, you likely have many questions and concerns.
As a leading dual diagnosis treatment center for young adults in Connecticut, we aim to provide you with the most critical, up to date information about co-occurring disorders. Speaking for the many addiction professionals out there, here are seven things we want you to know about dual diagnosis:
1. You are not alone.
The first time you heard the term ‘dual diagnosis’, you were likely a bit taken back. You may have asked yourself, is this a rare diagnosis that they are unable to treat? Am I one in a million with this condition? Is there hope for me?
The truth is, dual diagnosis is much more common than you may think. Studies show that nearly half of individuals with a drug dependency also suffer from a mental disorder. The same goes vice versa. About half of people living with a serious mental illness are simultaneously battling a drug or alcohol addiction.
You do not have to fight this fight alone. There is help out there – professionally trained, dual diagnosis treatment centers – that can support and strengthen you throughout the recovery process.
2. Mental illness increases the risk of addiction.
The relationship between mental illness and drug addiction is undeniable. And to a user, the link between the two is seemingly unavoidable. Depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, even eating disorders can provoke the onset of substance abuse. Oftentimes, a person battling a deep-seated mental health issue will turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. They may self-medicate through the misuse of prescription painkillers or other illicit drugs in efforts to numb any painful, troubling mental symptoms.
It is important to know that drugs and alcohol do not help mental health conditions like depression. In fact, they have been proven to amplify troubling symptoms and further bring them to surface. If you or someone you love is battling a mental health condition, know that their susceptibility to substance addiction is extremely high.
3. Each dual diagnosis is unique.
Just as addiction comes in many forms, dual diagnosis varies in its makeup. An individual with comorbid disorders can have any combination of mental illness (such as anxiety disorder, depression, and schizophrenia) and addiction (drug dependency, alcoholism, gambling addiction) to qualify as a dual diagnosis patient. If you have been diagnosed with dual disorders, it is important that you seek individualized, tailored treatment that meets your specific conditions and needs.
4. Dual diagnosis treatment, therefore, must also be unique.
Consistent with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are chief principles that cannot be ignored in professional, dual diagnosis treatment centers. One is the recognition that treatment is not a one-size-fits-all model. No single treatment will work for everyone, especially as it pertains to dual diagnosis treatment. Treatment plans and addiction services must be matched to each patient’s needs and issues in order to help them reach a successful, long-term recovery.
The NIDA also states that “effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse.” This means that a person’s substance use disorder must be treated in concordance with any associated medical, psychological, mental, social, and legal problems, too. And because “many drug-addicted individuals also have other mental disorders,” all patients presenting one condition must be assessed for the other(s) so that treatment can address both accordingly.
5. Many rehab centers are not equipped to treat dual diagnosis.
As you begin looking for the right dual diagnosis treatment center, keep in mind that co-occurring disorders are often difficult to treat. This is largely because mental and substance use disorders are so intricately connected – if a person goes to drug rehab with symptoms of chronic depression, it may be hard to determine the root of each condition, and which came first. Only treatment facilities with a psychiatric team of professionals and integrated dual diagnosis therapies are truly apt to handle this complicated disease. Dual diagnosis treatment centers like Turnbridge, for example, are professionally trained in diagnosing co-occurring disorders in women and young men.
6. Dual diagnosis most often requires long-term treatment
Because dual diagnosis is a complicated disorder, it often requires a longer stretch of treatment. Individuals must work on their mental as well as addictive disorders – both individually and side-by-side – to maintain a successful recovery. Remaining in dual diagnosis treatment for an adequate period of time, therefore, is critical. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most individuals need at least three months in drug treatment to significantly reduce or stop drug use. The best outcomes, they state, occur with longer durations of treatment.
7. Dual diagnosis calls for an integrated treatment approach
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, dual diagnosis treatment centers who leverage psychiatric strategies in combination with addiction treatment therapies can lower relapse rates, reduce the number of suicide attempts, and foster long-term abstinence among graduates of drug rehab. This combined treatment approach is called integrated treatment.
Integrated dual diagnosis treatment takes into consideration all aspects and factors of an individual’s addiction: psychological, emotional, physical, social. It combines issues that are seemingly unconnected – such as bipolarity and methamphetamine addiction – and treats them simultaneously. Treating co-occurring disorders at the same time, in the same environment, research shows is the key to successful dual diagnosis treatment.
Only 7.4 percent of individuals with dual diagnosis receive integrated treatment for both their mental health and addictive disorders. Over 55 percent of these individuals receive no treatment whatsoever. Do not wait to get your loved one the help he or she needs. Call Turnbridge at 877-581-1793 to learn more.