When individuals suffer from a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder, they must receive treatment simultaneously to receive the best odds of recovery and living a normal life. Clients can’t just go into an average treatment or mental health facility and expect to receive treatment for both at once – you’ll find they only provide therapy for one or the other.
This is where dual diagnosis treatment centers come into play. These treatment facilities have gained significant steam over the last decade, with more evidence proving that the therapy methods applied to lead to lasting results.
The core idea is simple – treat the mental health disorder at the center of the substance abuse disorder. While in theory or on paper, it seems straightforward. However, finding the perfect combination to accommodate each client takes substantial focus, study, and hard work.
Keep reading to find out about dual diagnosis treatment types, what makes them effective, and much more!
What Is a Co-Occurring Disorder?
Millions of individuals worldwide suffer from the clinical condition known as co-occurring disorders. However, what does the phrase mean?
The term “co-occurring disorder” is a form of mental illness and a drug abuse disorder. In both cases, a single individual is affected simultaneously, and the brain regions affected are very identical. Dual diagnosis and co-occurring disorders are often used interchangeably.
It is possible to have a single mental illness and one drug abuse disease, or a combination of the two. For example, many persons diagnosed with depression also have an addiction to alcohol and painkillers.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often accompanied by depression and drug addiction issues in those who suffer from it. PTSD and alcohol use disorders have also been shown to have a strong correlation.
- A few examples of conditions that frequently occur together include:
- Alcoholism and depression go hand in hand.
- Heroin addiction and PTSD are both linked.
- Anxiety disorders and the abuse of pharmaceutical drugs
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and marijuana abuse
There are several common, recurring, significant co-occurring disorders. With proper therapy, many people may recover from these conditions.
What Are Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers?
Dual diagnosis treatment centers are facilities that specialize in providing dual-diagnosis treatment to clients. These centers employ mental health counselors in addition to substance abuse counselors.
Simultaneously, these counselors work together to treat both mental challenges and substance abuse issues. This often delivers the most effective results and decreases the odds of relapse because of the combo of both forms of therapy.
When both are treated together, there’s no risk of one coming back if you only treat them individually.
How Common Is a Dual Diagnosis
Because of the recent increase in dual diagnosis treatment centers, you might assume it’s an isolated issue in the substance abuse and mental health world. However, the actual statistics regarding this condition are staggering.
According to the NSDUH, approximately 45% of Americans suffer from a dual diagnosis disorder. In addition, those who suffer from a mental health disorder are twice as likely to fall victim to substance abuse disorder.
If you suspect someone you know might be suffering from a dual diagnosis, you must be aware of the warning signs of this condition.
How Can I Recognize the Signs of a Dual Diagnosis
Several indicators might alert you to the presence of a dual diagnosis in someone you care about. If you notice any of the following signs, the individual in question may be suffering from a dual diagnosis disorder:
- A sudden shift in behavior or acting out of character. There isn’t one specific type of personality shift that indicates the presence of a dual diagnosis. It just means going from one extreme to the other and acting opposite of how you usually would.
- Placing a considerable distance between friends and family is a huge indicator. Individuals who suffer from co-occurring disorders often isolate themselves, for the most part, seeking solitude even when friends or family try and reach out.
- Using drugs even when conditions aren’t safe. This is defined in several ways, including in a vehicle, with family in the area, or in other situations.
- Taking more risks than usual and generally unpredictable behavior.
- Developing a growing urge to use drugs all the time or feeling like drugs are required to operate and function normally.
- A much larger tolerance than the average recreational user.
Even though the dual diagnosis may seem like a newer term for some, the relationship between mental health disorders and substance abuse goes back quite some time.
The Mental Disorder and Addiction Connection
Addiction and mental illness often coexist, but this does not entail that one caused the other—even if one disease initially arose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are still a lot of issues that need to be taken into account. For example:
People who take drugs may develop signs and symptoms of another mental disease due to their drug usage. Some marijuana users, for example, run a higher risk of psychosis. Even alcohol psychosis can occur in cases of heavy drinking over sustained periods.
Because some people use drugs or alcohol to treat their mental health issues, this can lead to substance misuse. Tobacco products’ nicotine, for example, has been shown to lower the severity of anxiety.
A combination of brain abnormalities, genetics, and early-life stress may also contribute to addictions and mental disorders.
For example, heredity is responsible for 40% to 60% of an individual’s susceptibility to addiction. For both substance misuse and mental disease, various areas of the human genome have been implicated.
There is also a correlation between the onset of symptoms and the onset of addiction. People are still evolving and growing when they enter their adolescent years.
Adolescence is a critical time for brain development because of these changes. Teenagers, for example, are more likely to take risks and act on their impulses than older adults. As prevalent as these activities may be among teenagers, they can increase the chance of developing addiction and other mental health problems.
Finally, drug use problems are significantly more likely among those who have been physically or emotionally wounded. Veterans returning to the mainland should be especially concerned about this link. One in every five returning service members has exhibited post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.
The Risks of Self-Medication for Dual Diagnosis
Self-medication for dual diagnosis is a dangerous practice that many individuals attempt. Self-medication describes several different substances and doesn’t have to be prescription pills.
People self-medicate with opioids, cocaine, meth, prescription pills, alcohol, and other substances. Initially, self-medication may be a conscious decision, but there’s no intent to develop a dependence or substance use disorder.
However, as time continues, dependence quickly takes hold, and these individuals now deal with their original disorder in addition to a substance abuse issue. Risks of problems like overdose and other self-harm are a reality – and highly probable.
Another risk is the possibility of further complicating the mental health disorder. There’s a reason physicians prescribe medication.
When people begin using chemicals to nurse their mental state, they’re playing a dangerous game with the chemical makeup of their brains. This can lead to more permanent damage and potentially worsen an already challenging situation.
This is in addition to the dangers of the common risks involved with substance abuse, like losing your job, family, and friends. People with mental health disorders must do everything they can to keep their support pillars in good standing in their lives.
Choosing a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center
When seeking treatment for drugs or alcohol with a mental health disorder, it’s important to remember that you must seek a dual diagnosis center. If the facility doesn’t explicitly state they provide treatment for co-occurring disorders, there’s a high probability that they don’t treat both issues simultaneously.
Entering treatment and only having your substance abuse issue treated without the mental health disorder will likely result in wasting time. Relapse rates are incredibly high, and you still have a mental health issues. You might feel better initially, but eventually, the mental health disorder symptoms are likely to resurface, leading to a return to substance abuse.
Contact the facility in question and ask them specifically if they treat clients for dual diagnosis. It might also help if you locate a facility that provides holistic forms of treatment.
This isn’t mandatory, but it will certainly help when you’re trying to reconnect with yourself and recover.
Does Insurance Pay for Dual Diagnosis Care?
Does insurance pay for dual diagnosis care? This is a common question in the substance abuse and mental health world.
Because dual diagnosis is still considered a specialty area of practice and requires attending a specialized facility, many assume it’s not covered by insurance. However, this usually isn’t the case.
Most of the time, insurance providers do extend coverage for dual diagnosis treatment. There is usually a catch with this type of treatment, though.
Clients are typically required to obtain what’s known as a pre-authorization form from the facility. This is a specialized statement notifying the insurance company why your entry into their facility is critical.
This is just a provision that insurance companies use to ensure the treatment levels they pay for are going toward worthwhile coverage and the money isn’t wasted. Generally, a pre-authorization form is obtainable within a matter of minutes.
Integrated Treatment for Dual Diagnosis
Integrated treatment is another increasingly popular option for dual diagnosis and in general. This therapy involves holistic methods and integrates every aspect of each client – the mind, body, and soul.
More people are getting on board with holistic medicine than at any other time in history. A large part of this is because many holistic forms of therapy have shown enough positive results to place them in the evidence-based category.
Holistic treatment is no longer solely considered an alternative therapy, as it’s increasingly entering mainstream facilities. Integrated treatment and holistic therapy options are in extremely high demand among clients attending treatment.
A Treatment Plan as Unique as the Client
When you attend therapy for substance abuse and mental health challenges, crafting a unique treatment plan is prioritized. No two clients are the same, and using an umbrella solution to provide treatment for dual diagnosis is outdated.
Because every case is unique, the solution approach must be just as impressive. At an efficient dual diagnosis treatment center, clients work closely with their counselors and other professionals to create a solid personalized treatment plan.
Afterward, carrying out the specifics of the treatment plan is possible through what is usually a diverse group of mental health and substance abuse counselors. Additional activities are provided between counseling sessions, including group therapy with other clients.
Family roles and work on family dysfunction may be included in the treatment for many clients, as healing the dynamic between a client and their loved ones is one of the most critical tasks for those who seek reunification with loved ones. This directly influences the clients’ support pillars, so this must be a priority.
Even in the case of strongly supportive families, enmeshment issues and other concerns can arise, so we work with all clients who are willing to address such issues and provide longer-lasting recovery outcomes as a result.
Achieving Recovery from Co-Occurring Disorders at Catalina
Long-term recovery from co-occurring disorders is a real possibility with the right professional team by your side. At Catalina Behavioral Health, our staff is dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to heal and being a fundamental pillar of strength that you can lean on during your time of need.
We’ll help strengthen you mentally and physically and prepare you to reclaim your life. For more information about how we can help you with a co-occurring disorder or another mental health challenge, contact a member of our admissions team today!