Understanding the Basics of Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment

admin | November 16, 2018 | 0 | Health Care & Medical

Until very recently, patients seeking help mental health conditions who were also suffering from a substance abuse disorder were denied treatment until they were able to get clean. Modern approaches to addiction treatment, on the other hand, acknowledge that, in many cases, substance abuse is provoked by underlying psychological disorders. Today, Dual Diagnosis Addiction treatment is available to those suffering from comorbid psychiatric problems and substance abuse.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

This thoroughly contemporary treatment modality utilizes both proven substance abuse treatments and mental health care for those who are using drugs or alcohol to cope with symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, or other psychological issues. This approach views the area between mental health problems and addiction as a continuum rather than a fine line, requiring clinicians working in the field of dual diagnosis treatment to receive training in how to treat co-occurring mental health disorders.

Treatments may include psychotherapeutic medications and the inclusion of spouses, children, or other household members in group meetings and individual counseling. Recent research has also shown that clinicians who take a supportive approach to therapy rather than a negative, confrontational approach are more able to help patients suffering from both mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Although this integrated treatment modality has only recently become popular among addiction centers, it has proven to have much lower rates of relapse than treating drug abuse and mental health disorders sequentially.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The treatment options offered to patients who have been diagnosed with co-occurring addiction and mental health problems vary depending on what mental illness they have been diagnosed with, so the first step is always to get a diagnosis from a specialist. A therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or physician who has training in addiction treatment, as well as psychiatric care, can evaluate symptoms to provide a diagnosis.

Common symptoms of comorbid mental health disorders include severe mood swings, suicidal thought flashbacks, and hallucinations. However, only a trained specialist can determine whether these symptoms are being caused by substance abuse or an underlying mental health problem. Once this diagnosis has been obtained, patients can seek help from an addiction facility that offers dedicated treatment options for dual diagnosis patients.

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