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Dual-Diagnosis Treatment: What Is It and How Can It Help Recovery?

Many who develop addiction also have or later develop a co-occurring mental health diagnosis and vice versa. The high prevalence of dual diagnosis between mental health and substance use disorders does not necessarily mean that one has caused the other, however. It can be very difficult to identify and establish which illness presented first. Dual-diagnosis disorder is defined as two or more conditions appearing in a person.

More and more people are suffering from a combination of substance abuse and mental health problems. Alcohol and/or drugs are often used to relieve the symptoms of a mental illness, side effects from their medications or just to cure symptoms they are having at the time. Alcohol and drug abuse can increase original risk for mental disorders and can make symptoms of a mental health problem worse. Substance abuse and mental illness commonly co-occur due to genetic factors, environmental factors, a brain disorder and/or a development disorder.

Do I Need Dual-Diagnosis Treatment?

Research suggests that substance abuse and mental health issues may be caused by overlapping issues, such as genetic factors or early exposure to trauma or stress in childhood. Trauma and adverse childhood experience can often cause an increased risk for drug use or substance use disorders. Mental illness has shown to also be directly correlated with developing a substance use disorder. It is often said that those with mental health issues may “self-medicate” with drugs or alcohol to remediate any mental health symptoms.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that “many people who are addicted to drugs are also diagnosed with other mental disorders and vice versa. Compared with the general population, people addicted to drugs are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorder, with the reverse also true.” When a person develops a mental illness, brain changes may enhance the rewarding effects of substances, predisposing the person to continue using the substance. Additionally, substance use and addiction may change the brain in ways that make a person more likely to develop mental illness.

Individuals who struggle with dual-diagnosis disorder often struggle to live normal, healthy lives and to find the care they need to treat their illnesses. The treatment of dual diagnoses often requires collaboration between providers such as therapists, psychiatrists, medical providers, and case management services. Several behavioral therapies have shown that coupled with medications, they can successfully treat someone struggling with dual diagnosis. Some of these therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), and motivational interviewing (MI). These types of therapy should be used to focus on both the substance abuse and the mental illness together rather than separating one from the other.

Dual-Diagnosis Care at Recovery Unplugged

At Recovery Unplugged, a treatment team is put in place upon a client’s admission to provide them with the care they need for all dual-diagnosis treatment issues. Clients will receive medication management as well as many forms of therapeutic interventions to support them in learning more about their illnesses and ways to treat them successfully. Recovery Unplugged works with the clients to identify the root causes and sustaining factors of the illnesses and identify the relationship between both the mental health concern and addiction. From medical detox to comprehensive behavioral rehabilitation that explores and identifies the relationship between addiction and mental health issues, Recovery Unplugged offers a thorough treatment approach to mitigate continued struggles.

Recovery Unplugged also offers music-focused therapy techniques through Music Assisted Treatment® which allows the client the healing power of music to assist in regaining their mental health in recovery. Music has proven to provide alleviation of many health issues, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and even chronic pain. Recovery Unplugged is determined to help clients heal while navigating the difficulties of lifestyle and care concerns in combination with dual-diagnosis issues. Call now.

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