How Dual Diagnosis Aids in the Process of Addiction Treatment

What is Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment?

Dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder treatment is a somewhat recent development in the treatment of addiction, but one that has also radically changed the way mental disorders and addiction are treated. Before the 1990s, those with mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, bi-polar, were treated differently from patients with addictions to drugs or alcohol. In the case that addiction and symptoms of mental disorders overlapped, patients would be told to get sober first before being treated for mental health issues. However, because mental health disorders are often the driving force behind addiction, attempts to get sober end up failing when the core issue is never addressed.

In order to get treatment for co-occurring disorders, you must get a diagnosis for both addiction and a mental health issue from a medical professional who deals with both fields. At facilities that specialize in co-occurring disorders, the initial assessment will review your past history regarding mental health and your history with addiction. When you find out that a mental disorder is driving your addiction issues, it may come as a relief simply to know that your feelings and conditions have a name and can be treated.

The Difference with Dual Diagnosis

In the present day, dual diagnosis successfully blends treatment for mental health issues and addiction in order to create a better chance for long-term sobriety. Patients with mental health disorders don’t need to suffer from addiction as well. Nevertheless, finding a drug addiction treatment facility that offers a true co-occurring disorder treatment is still somewhat difficult. As of 2002, only 12% of those with co-occurring disorders were treated for both mental health and addiction conditions.

In order to increase the chances of addiction recovery for those with co-occurring disorders, care should include the following:

  • Co-occurring treatment of substance abuse and mental health issues by highly qualified, professional medical staff
  • Recognition of the importance of medications that treat certain medical disorders and their place in addiction treatment
  • Supportive, caring environment that helps build self-esteem and confidence, rather than using negativity or aggressive statements
  • Inclusive treatment that incorporates patients’ family into therapy and group counseling sessions

How Dual Diagnosis Aids in the Process of Addiction Treatment

At 1st Step Behavioral Health in Florida, there is the firm belief that both addiction and co-occurring disorders can be successfully treated. When patients are diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder, it allows doctors to provide treatment for both the mental health issue and addiction. It also helps patients recognize when symptoms of their mental health issue are causing triggers for addictive behavior. Coping with a mental disorder then becomes part of the drug addiction treatment so that patients can leave with the knowledge and resources to avoid relapses.

Professional treatment is the best way to address both addiction and mental health issues. If you think you might be struggling with co-occurring disorders, get in touch with 1st Step Behavioral Health immediately at (866) 319-6126.