Dual diagnosis treatment is a form of addiction treatment that addresses a mental health disorder at the same time as a substance abuse disorder. This form of treatment has replaced the traditional norm of sequential treatment. Sequential treatment tried to tackle mental health and substance abuse separately, one after another. This approach failed to deliver lasting results. That’s because it is impossible to fully separate the ways that mental health and substance abuse play out for an individual. They are intertwined. As a result, treating them together is, while more complex, necessary to achieve full recovery.
The Need for Treatment for Mental Health and Addiction
A dual diagnosis is sometimes referred to as a co-occurring disorder. Either way, it refers to when someone experiences a substance abuse disorder and a mental health disorder simultaneously. Depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder are some of the most common issues involved in a dual diagnosis. Post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder can also be part of a dual diagnosis.
A few of the key risk factors for both mental health and substance abuse are genetics, stress, and trauma. Genetics are not a prison, but they do matter. In addition, experiencing stress and trauma does not guarantee struggles with mental health and substance use. Nonetheless, these factors play a role in how at-risk someone is for developing one of these issues.
One of the biggest reasons for the prevalence of dual diagnosis is self-medication. This is when someone uses substances to deal with a mental health struggle. While this choice is not favorable, it is understandable. Yet too often, society stigmatizes those who self-medicate or use substances. But this stigmatization does not help and actually gets in the way of people accessing the treatment they need. Many people either do not know how to cope without turning to substances or else truly feel like they have no other options.
What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
Mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders are both common in America today. Millions of youth and adults struggle with one or more conditions. It’s only natural that many people would struggle with both at the same time. The unfortunate reality is that about half of those who struggle with a dual diagnosis fail to receive dual diagnosis treatment.
So what does dual diagnosis treatment look like? It is a comprehensive approach that integrates addiction treatment with psychiatric care to ensure a person’s total needs are met. Oftentimes, this will include behavioral therapy, medications, support groups, educational resources, life skills training, and more.
One common example of a situation that requires dual diagnosis treatment is when someone has depression and an alcohol use disorder. In this scenario, a client would:
- Receive behavioral therapy to address the alcohol use disorder
- Attend 12-step support groups
- Be prescribed an antidepressant to alleviate depression symptoms
- Engage in mental health supports that develop coping skills
- Access educational resources about managing or ceasing drinking behavior in the future
This example is far from the only type of possible dual diagnosis. Any combination of mental health issues and substance abuse disorder qualifies as a dual diagnosis.
Learn More About Serenity Grove’s Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center
Serenity Grove is a leading provider of dual diagnosis treatment through our dual diagnosis treatment center. The right care can help you stay sober and fundamentally shift your lifestyle in ways that support sobriety but also lead to improved relationships, better job performance, and a happier outlook.
You deserve treatment. You deserve to experience lasting recovery. Don’t let anything else get in your way—access dual diagnosis treatment by calling 844.904.3485 or filling out our online form today.