What Are Dual Diagnosis Services?
What Is Dual Diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis services are a type of treatment approach designed for individuals who have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. These two kinds of disorders often interact in complex ways. Effective treatment must address both disorders simultaneously.3
For example, depression and alcohol addiction, or anxiety and opioid dependence are common co-occurring disorders. Each disorder can exacerbate the symptoms of the other, making them more challenging to treat.
Key Elements of Dual Diagnoses Treatment
Long-Term Treatment Approach
Access to Community Resources
Common Mental Health Disorders That Co-occur With Substance Abuse
There are some mental health disorders that may co-occur with substance use. Common mental health disorders often seen in conjunction with substance use disorder include the following:
- Depression: Substance use can be a form of self-medication for individuals with depression. Conversely, substance use can also lead to or worsen depressive symptoms.
- Anxiety Disorders: Similar to depression, individuals with anxiety disorders might use substances to cope with their symptoms. Also, certain substances can cause or worsen anxiety.
- Bipolar Disorder: Individuals with bipolar disorder may use substances during manic or depressive phases as a means of coping. Substance use can also trigger mood episodes or make them more severe.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Trauma can lead to both mental health disorders like PTSD and substance use problems. Substance use might be a way of coping with distressing trauma-related symptoms.
- Schizophrenia: Co-occurring substance use disorders are common in people with schizophrenia. It’s believed that some individuals may use substances to manage or self-medicate symptoms.
- Personality Disorders: People with personality disorders, particularly borderline personality disorder, often have co-occurring substance use disorders. This may be due to impulsivity, difficulty with emotional regulation, and other factors.
Why Is Integrated Treatment Important?
When left untreated, one condition can often exacerbate the other. For instance, a person with untreated bipolar disorder might use substances more heavily, and heavy substance use can, in turn, make the disorder more severe.
To effectively treat co-occurring disorders, professionals need to have a comprehensive understanding of both types of disorders. Dual diagnosis services provide this integrated understanding.
How Dual Diagnosis Services Differ From Traditional Treatment Programs
Traditional substance use disorder treatment programs primarily focus on addressing the addiction component. On the other hand, dual diagnosis services integrate the treatment of both substance abuse and mental health disorders.
Dual diagnosis programs employ professionals who are trained in both addiction treatment and mental health care. This is different from traditional programs, where staff may only be trained in addiction treatment.
Dual diagnosis services understand that both mental health and substance use disorders are chronic conditions.
These conditions require ongoing management. They often offer longer-term treatment and support compared to traditional programs.
Treatment Types and Opportunities
Dual diagnosis treatment services offer specialized approaches to effectively treat co-occurring disorders, including:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT can effectively treat both mental health disorders and substance use disorders. It helps individuals understand the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
- Motivational Interviewing: This is a client-centered counseling style that enhances motivation to change through exploring and resolving ambivalence. It’s often used in dual diagnosis treatment to encourage engagement in treatment and recovery behaviors.
- Medication Management: Many individuals with co-occurring disorders benefit from medication to manage symptoms of mental health disorders. Dual diagnosis services include medication management as part of integrated treatment.
- Peer Support Groups: These groups provide individuals with a safe and supportive environment to share their experiences and learn from others dealing with similar challenges.
- Family Therapy: Family can be an important source of support for individuals with co-occurring disorders. Family therapy can help family members better understand these disorders and learn how to provide effective support.
- Case Management: Case management can help individuals navigate the healthcare system, connect with community resources, and coordinate various aspects of their care.
- Trauma-Informed Care: Many individuals with co-occurring disorders have experienced trauma. Dual diagnosis services professionals incorporate trauma-informed care principles. This approach aims to create a safe, supportive treatment environment that minimizes the risk of re-traumatization.
Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Services vs. Separate Treatment
Understanding Dual Diagnosis Services
Although dual diagnosis services might initially seem more expensive due to their comprehensive nature, they often prove cost-effective in the long run.
Why Integrated Care is Important
Commonly Used Therapies in Dual Diagnosis Services
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Integrated Group Therapy (IGT)
Dual Recovery Therapy (DRT)
DRT involves individual therapy sessions that address both psychiatric illness and substance misuse. The therapist helps the patient to understand the relationship between the two and develop a recovery plan that addresses both.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
MAT involves using medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to treat substance use disorders.
Challenges Involved When Implementing Dual Diagnosis Services
Considerations for Care
Here are some specific considerations:
- Staff training
- Integration of services
- Systemic barriers
- Accessibility and outreach
- Assessment and treatment planning
- Family involvement
How Can Rise Above Treatment Help?
At Rise Above Treatment, we provide integrated, comprehensive care for individuals struggling with substance use disorders and mental health conditions.
We also incorporate medication management and peer support. We know that every person is unique; thus, we use a whole-person approach, addressing both disorders simultaneously. If you or your loved one need dual diagnosis services, please do not hesitate to reach out today.
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