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What Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Include?

Those diagnosed with mental health and substance use disorder may be interested in dual diagnosis treatment. It is not uncommon for those with a substance use disorder to also be experiencing a co-occurring mental health disorder. Therefore, finding a treatment center that offers evidence-based therapies for both diagnoses must be a significant priority. Those seeking treatment must consult a medical or mental health professional for a correct diagnosis.

Treatment centers offer the most up-to-date therapies for both conditions in one comprehensive plan. Some centers concentrate only on substance use disorders. Dual-diagnosis treatment experts realize substance use disorders can stem from mental health issues. Thus, evidence-based therapies will complement each other.

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis concludes the diagnosed person has both a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental health condition at the same time. For example, this can include someone who abuses alcohol and has depression. Symptoms of both disorders could be confused, and it can also be challenging to determine which disorder came first.
However, more than 50%  of those with a significant mental health disorder are also diagnosed with a substance use disorder. Therefore, finding dual diagnosis treatment is imperative to treat the whole person and both disorders. The most common dual diagnoses include substance use and anxiety or mood disorders.

However, more than half with a substance use disorder suffer from an emotional, psychological, or psychiatric condition. Dual diagnosis treatment provides experienced mental health professionals who understand how the 2 disorders are linked. On the other hand, ADD, ADHD, schizophrenia, and some personality disorders cannot be excluded.

Mood and anxiety disorders often co-occur with a substance use disorder. Someone can abuse drugs or alcohol while experiencing any of the following:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Dysthymia disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

The Dual Diagnosis Process and Timelines

An assessment or evaluation from a medical or mental health provider will provide a diagnosis for dual diagnosis treatment. The assessment will include a wide range of screening tools a healthcare provider uses. However, it is helpful for the patient to be honest during the evaluation to have all pertinent data in forming the diagnoses. Unfortunately, a 2002 study found that only 12% of the 4 million dual-diagnosis adults received treatment for both conditions.

Medical professionals must make a thorough assessment for a substance use disorder because alcohol, drugs, and other substances can change brain chemistry and function. Conversely, those experiencing an undiagnosed mental health disorder may begin using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.

Mental health disorders have affected the brain’s reward center, increasing the probability of addiction. It is difficult to establish which diagnosis came first, but dual diagnosis treatment offers the best chance for recovery.

After completing an assessment and confirming the diagnosis, the dual diagnosis treatment timeline includes several processes. Once the admissions process is complete, the results from the review allow for a comprehensive treatment plan. However, detox must occur before further treatment can begin. The decision for inpatient or outpatient treatment after detox determines the length of the program.

Who Is A Dual Diagnosis Treatment For?

Dual diagnosis treatment is for people with a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental health disorder. Unfortunately, establishing treatment for only one disorder almost always meant that the second condition was often left untreated. Therefore, 2 or more diagnoses are the qualifiers for dual diagnosis treatment. Quite often, depression, anxiety disorder, and substance use disorder all exist together.

What Are the Benefits Of Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Studies have proven that dual diagnosis treatment is most successful when both conditions treat simultaneously, as one condition feeds off the other. In addition, the separate issues often feed off one another, making it essential to address both for success. Consequently, each type of therapy for both diagnoses supports the other for a successful long-term recovery and prevention of relapse.

Signs and Symptoms of A Dual Diagnosis Disorder

Drug tests offer a definitive answer concerning the type of substances with a substance use disorder; determining what mental health disorder is involved is more challenging. However, signs and symptoms can be shared with many mental health disorders, so screening tools are available for mental health professionals to diagnose. Finally, with dual diagnosis treatment, the symptoms of both conditions can be similar.

The signs and symptoms of a mental health condition could include any of the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Withdrawal from relationships
  • Suicidal thoughts

The symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse could include any of the following:

  • Risky behavior
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Changes in behavior
  • High tolerance for the substance
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Continually using the substance despite the dangers
  • Feelings of needing to be on the substance to function normally

Effects of Undiagnosed Dual Diagnosis

When a dual diagnosis is not correctly identified, the patient can suffer substantial physical and mental consequences. For example, those who have substance use disorder and depression have a much higher risk of developing suicidal thoughts and overdose. On the other hand, an untreated mental health disorder can lead to unemployment, disability, homelessness, poor quality of life, and even incarceration. Many social problems begin with mental health disorders left untreated.

Both substance use disorder and mental health conditions left untreated can negatively affect relationships with friends, families and coworkers. Physical health can be adversely affected due to a lack of self-care and the ability to recognize the seriousness of symptoms. Escalation of either condition could have very dire results. Therefore, dual diagnosis treatment is essential for seeking help in recovery.

Explore the Importance of Treating Dual Diagnosis in Tennessee

Freeman Recovery Center, nestled in Nashville, Tennessee, offers comprehensive rehabilitation services meticulously tailored to address a wide spectrum of substance use disorders. Our specialized programs cater to individuals battling opioid addiction, alcohol addiction, drug addiction, cocaine addiction, heroin addiction, meth addiction, benzo addiction, and prescription drug addiction. By combining evidence-based practices with holistic care, we deliver empathetic and professional support that focuses on the unique needs of each patient. Our goal is to create a nurturing environment where teenagers and their parents feel encouraged and empowered to overcome addiction, achieve lasting recovery, and rebuild their lives with confidence and resilience to start a sober life.

If you are experiencing a substance use disorder and are seeking treatment, our experts can help determine if you have a dual diagnosis. Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee offers a comprehensive treatment plan and a compassionate staff who understand the difficulties 2 diagnoses can present. Visit our website and see the beautiful location of our center. While you are gathering more information, fill out an inquiry form to allow us to contact you for answers to your questions.

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