Dual Diagnosis: Modern Discoveries on Addiction Treatment

Did you know that many people with drug or alcohol problems also have another problem? Mental illness is common among substance abusers. In fact, co-occurring mental health problems and substance abuse disorders affect almost 9 million people every year. Of those, a paltry 7.4 percent receive the appropriate treatment. Most go undiagnosed for the mental health problem. The troubling truth is that up to 65.5 people with substance abuse problems have at least one mental disorder and 51 percent of people with a mental disorder have a substance abuse problem.


These Problems Are Difficult To Treat

Because the mental disorder often drives the substance abuse, treating just the substance abuse alone is often ineffective. At the same time, the substance abuse can hide the mental disorder, so it’s hard to uncover what’s actually going on in some cases. Sometimes, it’s just plain difficult to know where some symptoms are coming from.


Drug Rehab Centers Are Not Set Up To Handle Duel Diagnosis Patients

Drug rehab centers don’t always have the facilities to treat duel diagnosis patients. Sometimes, all that’s available are medical doctors that can treat the physical symptoms and problems of addiction. Only centers with both medical doctors and psychiatric staff can treat duel diagnosis cases.

Part of the treatment may involve psychotherapy combined with biophysical detox, so that both the cognitive and the substance problem are treated at the same time. Other times, a heavy emphasis on psychotherapy is used to help treat the underlying mental disorder in the hopes that this will solve the substance abuse problem.


Duel Diagnosis May Take a Long Time To Treat

Depending on the underlying mental disorder, it may take months to treat both the substance abuse problem and the mental problem. There is no quick fix for duel diagnosis issues. In some cases, treatment may take years to complete and, even then, the patient may not be fully recovered and self-sufficient.


Treatments Have To Be Individualized

Treatments need to be individualized since mental disorders are often unique and multifaceted problems where one solution won’t work for everyone.

Yet, many rehab clinics like to take a cookie-cutter approach, using a template that is supposed to apply to everyone. With mental illness being so prevalent with substance abuse, it’s no wonder that traditional methods don’t have a high long-term success rate without ongoing support and treatment.

But, when an individualized plan is put into place, treatment success skyrockets, and patients often improve to the point where further treatment is unnecessary. In many cases, patients can make a full recovery and become self-sufficient.

The hallmark of a good duel diagnosis program is one that moves at a pace that’s comfortable and efficacious for the patient. Patients can easily feel overwhelmed or ignored when treatment is handled in an impersonal or preset pace.

Sometimes, group therapy is used in traditional treatment plans, not necessarily because it’s effective, but because it streamlines the treatment process. It gets “everyone” involved. In many cases however, mental illness is best treated with one-to-one counseling.

Janessa Fellows is a life coach and avid writer. She likes to help others by sharing what she has discovered over the years. You can read her helpful posts on many blogs and websites today.


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