People struggling with mental health and addiction issues are particularly vulnerable. This combination, known as a dual diagnosis, puts people at risk. With so many people managing a dual diagnosis, it’s paramount that rehabilitation facilities effectively treat concerns appropriately. Historically, clients with dual diagnoses received treatment for one condition before the other. Often, these therapies did not occur at the same treatment center and were not related to one another. In 2021 we now know that integrated treatment that simultaneously treats mental health and substance use disorder is the most effective means of treatment.
At Rise Above, psychiatrists and clinical staff trained in mental health and substance use disorder provide integrated treatment. Some of the substance addictions we help treat include:
Integrated Addiction Treatment at Rise Above
Integrated Outpatient Treatment
Challenges Faced By Dual Diagnosis Clients
The first and maybe the most difficult challenge by dual diagnosis clients is denial. It simply isn’t easy for people to admit that they’re addicted to drugs and alcohol. It’s a hard realization to come to, especially for innovative thinkers who are used to doing things their own way. It’s also difficult for people to come to terms with mental health issues. Instead of seeking assistance, many people with a dual diagnosis ignore their problems and hope they will eventually go away. Over an extended period, this makes both addiction and mental health concerns more difficult to treat. We find that many of our clients carry a tremendous amount of shame that keeps them tied to their addiction. Letting go of that shame takes time.
High Risk of Suicide
Living with addiction and a mental health concern simultaneously can lead to an increased risk of self-harm. A 2009 study that analyzed 3,433 women and men aged 18-65 years for two years revealed that people who have a dual diagnosis are more likely to commit suicide than people who do not have a dual diagnosis.
Treatment Takes Longer to Complete
Rehabilitation for drug and alcohol use disorder takes a considerable amount of time. In fact, rehab for severe substance use disorder (SUD) can take years to complete. But when combined with a mental health concern, the length of treatment often increases substantially. In fact, in some cases, the time needed for rehabilitation can even double.
Difficulty Pinpointing Symptoms
For a client with a dual diagnosis, identifying the root causes of symptoms can be painful and time-consuming. This is because it’s difficult to know where exactly the symptoms are coming from. Are they related to a client’s mental wellness or are they connected to a client’s substance use disorder? For example, a client who is experiencing erratic behavior and severe mood swings could be experiencing the effects of being intoxicated or signs of a mental health condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or panic attacks. Having a team of psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals can make a real difference in helping to stabilize a crisis.
Other dual diagnosis challenges include: