Information About Dual Diagnosis

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

There is a broad range of reasons why people become addicted to alcohol or drugs. For most people, their addiction was genetically predisposed, which means they were at a higher risk of becoming addicted because of a history of addiction in their family. Age and environment are also factors, but mental health is one of the most common ones. Symptoms of mental illness can happen at just about any time of a person’s life, and when they appear, the person can be very scared and confused.

Symptoms of mental illness like anxiety, depression, trauma and mood swings can make the person feel isolated and alone. Those with mental health issues may turn to drugs or alcohol to find some temporary relief from their symptoms of mental illness, and the feeling they get allows them to feel the way they’d like to feel. The problem is that their brain becomes reliant on substances whenever these feelings occur, and this leads to dependence.

A dual diagnosis is when a person suffers from the disease of addiction as well as a mental illness. It’s important that a person with a dual diagnosis goes to a treatment center that specializes in treating dual diagnosis because mental health issues must be addressed separately from the individual’s addiction.

How is a dual diagnosis addiction treated?

When a person with mental health issues goes into a rehab center for addiction treatment, they’ll first go through a psychological evaluation. It’s important for the facility to gauge the person’s symptoms of mental illness before and after detox. They do this because there are many occasions when an addict has symptoms of anxiety or depression, but they were the result of long-term drug or alcohol abuse.

Once the detoxification process is complete, the person will begin therapy to see if they still have symptoms. Some people were completely unaware of their mental illness until they’re thoroughly diagnosed, and it gives them answers as to why they felt the way they did. A dual diagnosis can be treated with therapy as well as non-narcotic medications that treat certain symptoms.

Throughout the person’s treatment, they’ll also go through a variety of other therapies to help treat their symptoms of mental illness as well as their addiction. Behavioral therapy is used by many treatment centers because these methods have been scientifically proven to help heal the person’s mind.

For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment that’s designed to help change a person’s faulty beliefs as well as any unhealthy behaviors they may have. Rather than turning to drugs or alcohol when the person feels depressed, anxious or hopeless, they’ll learn to do healthier activities. Over time, the brain begins to realize that the behavior has started to change, and the person has a new first instinct that doesn’t involve alcohol or drugs.

The most important thing a person can do who has a dual diagnosis is to continue following up with a therapist or doctor once they’ve left treatment. Learning about addiction and how to avoid triggers can be life-changing, but it’s tough to maintain a life of serenity and happiness when the person continues to have symptoms of mental illness. By continuing to seek out care for their mental illness, the person’s therapist or doctor will be able to track their progress and adjust medications or offer suggestions as needed.

How much does treatment cost?

The cost of treatment can vary depending on the person’s situation. The Affordable Care Act implemented a law that now requires all health insurance providers to provide coverage to their customers for drug and alcohol treatment as well as mental health treatment. If the person has insurance, they should start by calling their provider to see what type of coverage they have. Some insurance plans only cover inpatient or outpatient programs, and the person can speak to an addiction specialist beforehand to see which one would be their best option.

For those who don’t have insurance, addiction treatment often has fees based on a sliding scale, so the price may vary depending on person’s level of dependency. Some treatment facilities offer payment plans or scholarships to help with the costs associated with treatment. Another option for finding affordable treatment programs is by contacting the Substance Abuse Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), which is run by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

How effective is dual diagnosis treatment?

Many people believe that treatment isn’t all that successful. The reality is that compared to other chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, asthma and others, the success rate of dual diagnosis treatment is comparable. Much like any other health disorder, it depends on the person’s willingness to continue ongoing care once they leave the facility. Aftercare plans are often provided to addicts who are leaving treatment, so they have a plan of action from the moment they discharge from the drug and alcohol rehab.

How do I find an addiction treatment facility?

If you’re ready to begin a life of sobriety, it may seem overwhelming when you’re trying to find the right drug and alcohol rehab. There are many different types of rehabs, but you need to remember that not all of the facilities are created equally. Some facilities have treatment programs that aren’t based on any scientific evidence, so you can’t rely on that type of program for your personal success in recovery. The most common types of facilities that are helpful are inpatient and outpatient services that use evidence-based treatment methods.

You can meet with an addiction specialist who will use the ASAM Criteria to gauge the severity of your addiction. Based on a variety of different categories from this criteria, they can help narrow down your search by telling you whether inpatient or outpatient is the best option for you. From here, you can go to the SAMSHA website to find a facility in your hometown or another state. Always remember that it’s often best to leave your hometown when you go to treatment, so you have the opportunity to focus truly on your recovery.