Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Dual Diagnosis Treatment is much more common that it once was. Years ago, addiction and mental health disorders were treated separately. In fact, many believed that one had to overcome addiction first in order to work on mental health disorders. Research shows that working on both addictive disorders (alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, sex addiction or another behavioral addiction) and mental health disorders (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, a personality disorder, etc.) can result in successful outcomes.
So, instead of drawing a hard line between psychiatric health and addiction, the two areas of addiction and mental health are treated as part of a continuum. Therapists and clinicians who work in addiction recovery treatment can now receive training and credentials in the treatment of co-occurring mental health disorders. Also, many rehab facilities now offer recovery services that are personalized for clients with a Dual Diagnosis.
However, research shows that finding the right rehabilitation program can still be challenging, especially if individuals are struggling with depression or anxiety as well as substance abuse. Interestingly, The Office of Applied Studies, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reports that in 2002, just 12 percent of the 4 million American adults who suffered from a Dual Diagnosis received adequate treatment for both conditions.
If an individual meets the diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder and an addictive disorder, they can be classified as a Dual Diagnosis client when entering treatment. The best treatment for a Dual Diagnosis should involve considering both the addiction and the mental illness when going through the recovery process.
Dualdiagnosis.org indicates that to increase the chances of recovering fully, one’s care should include:
“Parallel treatment of your mental health and substance use disorders by the members of a highly trained treatment team
Acknowledgement of the importance of psychotherapeutic medications, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds, in the treatment of co-occurring disorders
A supportive approach to therapy that reinforces self-esteem and builds self-confidence instead of confronting the client with negative, aggressive statements
An inclusive treatment strategy that brings partners, spouses, children and other household members into therapy for individual counseling, group meetings or education
‘Sequential treatment’ was the norm before the 1990s, when clinicians believed that there should be a division between mental health treatment and addiction rehabilitation, note the authors of the text Integrated Treatment for Dual Disorders: A Guide to Effective Practice. In the sequential approach, clients with a Dual Diagnosis were excluded from one area of treatment until they were considered stable in the other. For instance, a depressed person with active alcoholism might not be able to receive therapy for depression until she had been through detox and rehab. Sequential treatment became less popular as research showed that it led to a higher rate of relapse.”
If an individual is struggling with both addiction and mental health issues, it would benefit them greatly to explore the possibilities of Dual Diagnosis Treatment.