What is Dual Diagnosis Drug Treatment

December 3, 2010

Research has determined that simultaneous treatment of mental illness and addiction is far more effective than performing them separately. Just a decade or so ago, it was common to help an individual with a dual diagnosis get sober for a time before delving into their mental illness issues. In other words, treatment counselors might focus on addiction topics for days or even weeks before they addressed mental illness concerns.

Simultaneous Treatment For Dual Diagnosis

Here’s the reason simultaneous treatment is so important. In many dual diagnosis situations, the mental illness symptoms preceded the drug or alcohol use. Some people with mental illness self-medicate to make life feel better. They may not even be aware that they have a treatable problem. Some mental illnesses show difficult behavioral symptoms like aggression, impulsivity, irritability, and poor organization.

If the underlying cause isn’t treated properly, the person may use drugs or alcohol out of desperation coping with their condition. They often unknowingly create a much bigger problem for themselves. But at the moment, their drugs of choice may provide the only psychological relief they can count on.

The Focus On Drug Addiction

Research-based drug addiction treatment commonly includes two different styles of talk therapy. Group therapy is regarded as the most powerful platform for personal change. Individual therapy is also provided for each person as a more private way of working out problems.

Other activities can include physical exercise such as aerobics, nature hikes, yoga, obstacle courses, and horse back riding. While these may seem to be somewhat unconventional for a drug treatment program, they do a lot to enhance the talk therapy approach. It’s not just a mental experience, it’s a whole body, mind, and spirit experience.

Why Treatment Is So Important For Dual Diagnosis Situations

Mental illness and addiction must be taken seriously. They are serious conditions that require professional help and a lot of support. Either one of these problems can be devastating if not treated properly, and can be even worse if they are combined. Drugs and alcohol can inflate depressive feelings and suicidal thoughts. Some drugs can amplify the difficulties of anxiety, especially if a person goes through withdrawal.

Drugs and alcohol can impair judgment, push emotions to extremes, and reinforce self-destructive behavior. If a person doesn’t get help, the problems will simply grow and create havoc. These are not problems that a person outgrows or gets over. Treatment is the only sure way to manage a mental illness and addiction.

Because of the chronic nature of these problems, a person with a dual diagnosis may need some form of support or treatment across their life span. Halfway houses or sober homes are good options for transitioning out of residential treatment. Outpatient treatment can be customized to deliver the right amount of support for a person’s specific needs. Also, many recovering addicts and alcoholics (dual diagnosis or not) are encouraged to join some form of peer support group like AA or NA.

Dual Diagnosis Drug Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment programs are specially designed to meet the needs of their clients. They understand how the addiction works with the mental illness and they are ready with the latest treatment methods. If you need to know more about dual diagnosis treatment, call us today with your questions. We’re here to help.

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