Dual diagnosis treatment is recommended for individuals who are suffering from a substance use disorder and an additional mental illness at the same time.
The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Substance abuse and mental health concerns are often experienced simultaneously. For example, if you’re mentally ill but you aren’t receiving treatment, you may attempt to numb painful symptoms by using alcohol or another drug. At the same time, chronic substance abuse can cause the onset of certain mental health conditions, or exacerbate symptoms of existing concerns.
A dual diagnosis treatment program uses a multidisciplinary approach that gets to the root of both types of concerns.
Who Needs Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Imagine that you have an anxiety disorder and a dependence on alcohol. Perhaps you use alcohol to dull your symptoms, but you’re now struggling to control your drinking. If you enter treatment for alcohol abuse, you might find some immediate relief and learn some helpful skills to support your sobriety. But without addressing your anxiety disorder, you may be tempted to start drinking again when met with a worrisome situation.
As this example illustrates, the best way to conquer co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse is to address both concerns head-on. With help from a quality dual diagnosis treatment program, you can work towards sobriety while you get your mental health under control.
What to Expect in a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program
Dual diagnosis programming uses many of the same types of interventions found in the traditional residential care setting. What sets these services apart, however, is their focus on the interplay between substance abuse and mental illness.
You can expect to have access to many of the following treatment modalities when you engage in dual diagnosis treatment:
- Individual therapy
- 12-Step programming
- Detox (as needed)
- Family therapy
- Medication management services (as needed)
- Recreational therapy (for example, art or music therapy)
- Physical health and wellness activities
- Psychiatric services
- Case management
- Group therapy
- Discharge and referral planning
Life After Dual Diagnosis Treatment
No doubt you’ve heard it said that recovery is a lifelong process. As you prepare to exit your dual diagnosis treatment program, you might be worried about maintaining success with less intensive supports. Rest assured that there are many community-based services that can help you stay on track.
When you leave your dual diagnosis program, you’ll have a personalized plan in place for aftercare. This means you’ll know exactly which supports your treatment team recommends for your continued success in sobriety and recovery. This plan could include individual or group outpatient therapy, 12-Step meetings, or other forms of psychiatric care.
Quality dual diagnosis treatment programs begin planning for your departure upon your arrival. The staff will monitor your goals, progress, and setbacks during treatment, and shift their recommendations for aftercare accordingly.
While in treatment, you’ll benefit from the support of others who are walking a similar path, and these relationships will give you strength for the road ahead. But know that there are countless individuals throughout the world and in your community who’ve also struggled with a dual diagnosis.
By taking advantage of the support of your local recovery network, you’ll have strength and accountability as you work towards lifelong recovery.