When a person is battling substance addiction, they are often struggling with deep-seated, mental health issues too. For example, many people struggle with depression and drug abuse. Some people use drugs to cope with anxiety, or post-traumatic stress. When a mental health disorder and substance use disorder co-occur, it is called dual diagnosis.
Dual diagnosis currently affects at least 9.5 million adults in the United States, according to a 2019 national survey. If you or a loved one is struggling with co-occurring disorders, you are not alone. It is important for you to know that there is help available. Dual diagnosis recovery is possible, with the right treatment plan and professionals behind you.
Dual Diagnosis Recovery Obstacles
Dual diagnosis is a very complex condition. This is because of how substance use disorders, and mental health disorders, affect the brain. While the disorders themselves are separate, they affect the same areas of the brain (such as those involved with emotion, memory, and impulse control). They alter the brain chemistry, and disrupt one’s ability to control behaviors, regulate emotions, and make rational decisions. The co-occurring disorders often feed off one another and make a person’s symptoms worse.
For this reason, those with dual diagnosis tend to experience more difficult challenges – physically and mentally – than those with a single substance use or mental health disorder. It is no wonder why dual diagnosis recovery can feel impossible for those struggling.
If you or your loved one is facing dual disorders, you have likely experienced these difficulties first-hand. Perhaps you self-medicate with drugs to try and chase away negative thoughts or feelings. Maybe you turn to the bottle to numb the effects of depression or anxiety. However, you may have found that ongoing drug abuse actually makes your symptoms worse. The drug abuse, and the highs and lows that come from it, become a vicious cycle that is hard to escape.
How to Recover From Dual Diagnosis
In order to overcome dual diagnosis, it is important to find a treatment program that specializes in dual diagnosis recovery, and offers integrated treatment plans. Integrated dual diagnosis treatment ensures that both the substance use disorder, and the mental health condition, are addressed.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, this integrated intervention is “the best treatment for dual diagnosis.” The mental health disorder(s) and substance use disorder(s) are treated in the same place, at the same time, by the same treatment providers. These providers can understand how each condition affects the other, and create an effective plan for recovery.
Because of complexities of dual diagnosis, it is important to know that not all drug rehab centers are equipped to treat co-occurring disorders. Dual diagnosis recovery centers have clinicians who are specifically trained in mental health and substance use treatment, and who are familiar with the evidence-based therapies needed to overcome co-occurring disorders. Their dual diagnosis treatment plans are robust, integrated, and typically involve the following components:
- Detoxification from the substances. This is usually done at an inpatient facility, to help you through and to lessen the effects of withdrawal symptoms.
- Inpatient dual diagnosis treatment. Inpatient treatment, also known as residential dual diagnosis treatment, is an important part of the recovery process. The inpatient setting provides 24/7 access to medical and mental health care, and a safe, structured environment for you to heal. In this setting, you will have access to counseling and therapy, medical support, and health services whenever you need. You will also be able to live sober, with other people in recovery, away from pressures like drugs or alcohol.
- Evidence-based therapy. Counseling and psychotherapy are another important part of a dual diagnosis recovery plan. Therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) help individuals get to the root of their substance use, change negative thought patterns, and learn how to cope with the feelings that used to cause the drug abuse.
- Sober, supportive housing. Sober living homes are encouraged for people in recovery from dual diagnosis, after completing an inpatient treatment program. Sober living homes are a type of housing that can help ease the transition from rehab to mainstream life. They help reduce chances of relapse, and help hold you accountable after you leave your treatment program.
- Support groups and ongoing therapy. Dual diagnosis recovery takes time and commitment. Like with any chronic disorder, you will need to put work into your recovery, and continue to take care of yourself after treatment is over. This may involve going to 12-step meetings, attending self-help groups, or meeting with your therapist on a regular basis.
Dual Diagnosis Recovery Starts Now
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with co-occurring disorders, and you are researching rehab programs, you may reach out to Turnbridge for more information about our treatment center. We specialize in integrated, dual diagnosis treatment for young adults and teens. Our programs are gender-specific, with unique programs for young men and women. Each treatment plan is tailored to the client, personalized based on their needs, and informed by their individual mental health struggles – whether that be with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, an eating disorder, or another condition. We are here for you. Call 877-581-1793 to learn more about our programs. You may also visit us online, using the links below: