Dual diagnosis can be defined simply as the coexistence of both a mental illness and an addiction in the same individual. After that, things aren’t so simple. Treating a dual diagnosis patient is complicated because the different conditions tend to aggravate each other – making them worse if untreated. What’s more, the symptoms for certain mental illnesses are often very similar to those associated with addiction. It’s hard, therefore, to tell what is actually causing what.
For these reasons, plus the high-risk nature of dual diagnosis patients, it is crucial that individuals suffering from coexisting conditions seek out a rehab facility with extensive Dual Diagnosis experience.
Here are some things you should know about Dual Diagnosis rehab:
It all begins with detox
Dual Diagnosis rehab starts with the detoxification of drugs or alcohol from the individual’s body. If, during this time, the patient is taking medications for his psychiatric condition, they will be carefully administered by the staff.
Moving at your own pace
While standard operating procedure for treating drug and alcohol addiction usually means overcoming the patient’s own state of denial, those treating a dual diagnosis patient have no such luxury. The mental illness that may be leading to the addiction makes the situation more delicate. That means rehab professionals involved in dual diagnosis are likely to move at a much more deliberate pace – searching for that “sweet spot” that will make the patient comfortable, not aggravate any mental conditions and still move the rehab process forward.
Treating the issues simultaneously
In Dual Diagnosis rehab, nothing is more important than treating the mental illness and drug or alcohol addiction simultaneously. Treat one and not other, or treating one and then the other is only going to help one area of the problem at the expense of another.
Crafting a plan for success
For any rehab plan to succeed, the patient needs to have a solid plan of action for the after-care program, not to mention their life after rehab in general. This plan is even more important in the case of a dual diagnosis patient. The primary reason is because those with a dual diagnosis are at a higher-risk for relapse than the rest of the recovery population. Factor in the need to continue psychiatric medication and you begin to see how much is actually involved in maintain proper after-care for the those with a dual diagnosis.
Foundations Recovery Network treatment centers understand the special needs of those suffering from coexisting mental illness and drug or alcohol addiction. Working closely with the individual – and providing support for the family – these truly special facilities help change lives. The lush, peaceful grounds and engaging, non-confrontational methods employed here all create a unique experience. For those suffering from a dual diagnosis disorder, this is the place where a new life begins, and the blueprint is created for a bright future, free of substance abuse and with a psychological issues properly managed.
David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.
Reviewed by: Kim Chin and Marian Newton