A co-occurring disorder is when both a substance abuse condition and mental health issue are present at the same time. Patients that have an underlying mental illness as well as a problem with addiction can have a more difficult time getting treatment and recovering since the two tend to feed off of each other. Dual diagnosis treatment centers have the resources to not only to make the correct dual diagnosis, but also to treat both addiction and any other mental health issues.

How Treatment Centers Use Dual Diagnosis

woman seeking help from a counselor at dual diagnosis treatment centersStudies show that about half of those with addiction also have another mental illness, which is why dual diagnosis treatment centers are vital.

Many addiction treatment centers aren’t able to effectively treat dual diagnosis patients. Addiction by itself is a complex disease that relies on a number of personal factors. When other mental health issues present with similar symptoms, it becomes even more complex. Those with co-occurring disorders are at a higher risk for relapse, which makes it especially important for them to seek treatment at a dual diagnosis treatment center.

Why Are Co-Occurring Disorders and Addiction Linked?

Co-occurring disorders affect how the brain processes and absorbs information. Because addiction and certain mental health issues present with similar symptoms, it can be difficult to find the root of the symptoms and whether they’re related to substance abuse or an underlying mental health issue.

Mental health disorders and addiction tend to be linked because those with certain mental health issues may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. In this way, casual use can quickly evolve into abuse. Dual diagnosis treatment centers offer targeted treatment that focuses on both conditions at once.

10 Important Things to Know About Dual Diagnosis

  1. Co-occurring disorders are not rare among patients with addiction
  2. Any combination of mental health disorders and addiction can qualify as co-occurring
  3. Co-occurring disorders are not easy to treat, and many facilities don’t have the resources
  4. Dual diagnosis patients have a higher risk of relapse
  5. Patients suffering from mental illness are more likely to fall prey to addiction
  6. Dual diagnosis patients require specialized treatment
  7. Quality dual diagnosis programs have integrated treatment for both conditions
  8. Dual diagnosis treatment may require a longer timeframe
  9. Quality dual diagnosis programs move at the pace of the patients
  10. Treating both the addiction and any mental health disorders is the only road to true recovery

The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

Rehab centers nearly always address mental health during the course of addiction treatment, but dual diagnosis centers address it more directly. Some symptoms of substance abuse such as depression or anxiety resolve after detox or during the early phases of treatment. However, if they exist apart from substance abuse as mental health disorders, they may require more focused therapy and/or medication.

A dual diagnosis is important for helping patients understand how their mental illness has affected their addiction. It also helps them develop strategies for coping with both. The most effective way to treat co-occurring disorders is to treat them together. Unfortunately, many patients who only seek treatment for one or the other are at an increased risk for relapse.

In the past, it was often the norm for patients with mental health issues to be required to get sober before getting treatment for these issues. Fortunately, experts now know how important it is to treat co-occurring disorders together.

1st Step Behavioral Health is a dual diagnosis treatment center that focuses on treating the whole person. Call 1st Step today at 866-319-6126 to start taking steps towards recovery.