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Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program

One of the most unfortunate effects of substance addiction is the way in which it affects the overall functioning of the brain.

Dual Diagnosis ProgramDual diagnosis treatment pinpoints the multiple factors contributing to drug addiction, many of which are mental health disorders. Mental health disorders include: mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and eating disorders. Because the brain’s natural chemistry has been altered by these substances, it is inevitable that severe substance addiction can bring about the occurrence of these disorders. All of these disorders can fuel addictions and complicate the recovery process. In identifying these overlapping conditions, we are able to create targeted and parallel treatment plans to help manage and overcome your dual diagnosis. Our trained team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and behavioral specialists have your best intentions at heart, and are always here to support you.

What is a Dual Diagnosis or Co-Occurring Disorder?

Dual diagnosis is a situation where substance abuse exists in an individual, as well has a mental health problem, a behavioral issue, or both. There are two contrary theories describing the cause of dual diagnosis. Some believe that mental health problems, or behavioral issues are the leading cause of substance addiction, leading the mentally ill who self medicate, down the spiral to addiction. The second theory is the opposite, stating that prolonged substance abuse creates mental health and behavioral issues.

Advocates of the latter theory argue that the physiological and biochemical effects of addictive substances disrupt the brain’s normal cognitive functioning. Additionally, these substances have somehow changed the way neurotransmitters in the brain behave. For example, if a person is abusing a substance such as cocaine or crystal methamphetamines for a prolonged period of time and suffers from depression as well. Supporters of this model would say the depression is largely brought about by the decreased level of dopamine and the substantial reduction of dopamine receptors, due to the user’s prolonged use of these substances. Even if there is an overabundance of dopamine, since there is now an insufficient number of receptors, the effects of dopamine are not felt.

Whatever the case, there is a documented and substantial relationship between substance addiction and changes in mental health status. Due to this, addiction treatment centers will continue to be vigilant in creating the best techniques to identify and treat all aspects of co-occurring disorders.

How Do You Know Someone Has a Co-occurring Disorder?

Since substance addiction is closely related to the development of a mental health problem or a behavioral issue, it is imperative to educate family members of the signs of co-occurring disorders. Family members are fundamental to the early discovery and treatment of dual diagnosis in other family members. Indicators of addiction include:

  • Compulsion to regularly use the addicting substance;
  • Inability to stop using the substance;
  • Ensuring constant availability of the substance;
  • Finding any means necessary to obtain the substance, even if it’s illegal;
  • Obsession with the perceived benefits of regularly using the substance; and
  • Displaying risky behavior such as driving while under the influence.

Family members should also keep an eye out for the following mental health problems, as they are very common, and are most frequently associated with substance abuse. These common mental health problems include:

  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Other anxiety disorders

Another clue that the individual might have a co-occurring diagnosis is the history of repeated relapses, especially after completion of addiction treatment programs. The issue in most of these cases is that there are more underlying issues, or mental disorders that have not been properly treated, causing the person to relapse. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, this person may never achieve prolonged sobriety.

How is Dual Diagnosis Managed?

Managing dual diagnosis first requires a thorough assessment of the individual’s physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual health. This specialized process determines any patterns of mental or behavioral issues that may otherwise be overlooked in typical examinations. If dual diagnosis is even suspected in an individual, they will require careful monitoring and even closer observation. Since, no two people are exactly same, the dual diagnosis treatment program is highly individualized.

The management of dual diagnosis is modeled after the management of psychiatric mental health disorders. Individualized counseling through cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) will be provided, as well as, group and family therapies. The inclusion of the family in the dual diagnosis treatment is important because they will form the fundamental support team aiding in the continuing recovery of the individual after treatment. To augment the CBT we advocate the following: yoga, exercise, nutritional counseling, equine therapy, music therapy, art therapy, meditation, and psychodrama. All can can be utilized depending on the preferences of the individual.

This is what we offer a more holistic approach to dual diagnosis treatment and we guarantee our that we devote our love and efforts into helping every individual get sober .


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