When someone struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, their therapist might identify them as having a dual diagnosis. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), more than nine million Americans have a dual diagnosis.
For a person with a dual diagnosis, treatment and detox for their addiction are not enough. In many cases, these people will relapse without treatment for the co-occurring disorder. The person must receive treatment for their addiction and the co-occurring mental health disorder.
This guide provides a closer look at dual diagnosis from a definition to treatment types:
While the phrase dual diagnosis might sound like two mental health disorders occurring in the same person, this isn’t correct. For a person to fit this diagnosis, they must have a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder.
A professional will diagnose and determine how the mental health disorder relates to the drug or alcohol addiction. The patient might also hear the term co-occurring condition when the therapist refers to the patient’s dual diagnosis.
In many cases, the underlying mental health disorder is a factor in the patient’s alcohol or drug abuse. However, this pattern is not always the case. A mental health professional needs to make the diagnosis and determine if the two conditions are interrelated.
For example, a person struggling with depression might use drugs to cope with their mental health. This makes a relapse a real possibility if the person with a dual diagnosis is only treated for their addiction. A dual-diagnosis treatment center has the skills and experience to treat the dual diagnosis simultaneously.
Although no one can surely say the causes of an individual’s mental health and substance abuse, some theories suggest causes. The theories include the following:
When a professional therapist diagnoses a patient with a co-occurring disorder, they might examine the causes closely. By familiarizing themselves with the person’s symptoms, they can determine the most effective dual diagnosis treatment.
Treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is relatively common. However, a dual diagnosis patient’s underlying mental health issue needs to be treated with substance abuse. When treated together, the patient is more likely to sustain a life in recovery. This makes identifying the mental health condition paramount.
The most common types of dual diagnosis are:
Before starting a dual diagnosis treatment, the therapist must determine the patient’s underlying mental health issues. Then the mental health professional determines an appropriately integrated treatment approach.
For someone with a dual diagnosis to return to their everyday life, they need a treatment plan for both issues. Some patients might not even realize they have a dual diagnosis before they begin the recovery process. The treatment program for a co-occurring disorder can start during the treatment for substance abuse.
Here are some stages of alcohol or drug addiction treatment when the patient might begin work on the co-occurring condition:
The patient and therapist will decide on the best dual diagnosis treatment for the patient’s unique needs. Some therapists choose to treat the primary condition first, while others opt to treat both disorders simultaneously.
The therapist might consider treating the co-occurring disorders in the order in which they are presented. In some cases, the two conditions are treated equally instead of one disorder being the primary and the other the secondary.
Dual diagnosis is defined as having a mental health and substance use disorder simultaneously. To properly treat dual diagnosis, treatments for both disorders must occur at the same time. Dual diagnosis treatment enables the person to make a full recovery and maintain a sober lifestyle.
At Inland Detox in Riverside County, CA, treatment of dual diagnosis starts with detox from the substances used. After detox is complete, medication management and therapy can be utilized to treat both the mental health disorder and substance use disorder. Reach out to us today to learn more about dual diagnosis treatment.