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The Effectiveness of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

young man seated in dirty stariwell with head between his knees and arms over his head while a syringe and pills lay next to him

Prior to the 1990s, it was common for mental health conditions to be treated separately from substance abuse. During that time, it was expected that a patient would be treated for one prior to being treated for the other. Ultimately, there was a realization that the most effective way to treat patients who suffered from both mental health conditions and the various addiction disorders was to treat them simultaneously. The result is the dual diagnosis chemical dependency programs of today.

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis occurs when a patient who suffers from either previously identified or unidentified mental health disorders also develops a substance use disorder. Most patients who have a mental health disorder will engage in addictive activities at some point in their life.  Simultaneously, those who are in recovery for substance use disorders have been known to show symptoms of mental health disorders. When someone is fighting both illnesses, it is common to see worsening symptoms on both the mental and the physical sides.

Why Do These Conditions Occur Together?

There are several different scenarios that show how mental health disorders and substance use disorders coexist. These include:

  • Someone suffering from a mental health disorder may self-medicate in an attempt to feel better. Even though the results are only temporary, they continue to self-medicate until they become addicted to the drugs that they are using.
  • Oftentimes, there are changes in the brain due to a mental health disorder that make it easier for that person to become addicted.
  • Long-term substance abuse can ultimately lead to the development of a mental health disorder. It is relatively common for someone struggling with substance use disorders to experience substantial anxiety and depression.
  • Mental health and substance use disorder conditions can share some of the same risk factors such as stress, trauma, or genetics.

How Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Work?

Dual diagnosis treatment works because it addresses both mental and physical issues. First, in order for both conditions to be effectively treated, the patient needs to quit using drugs and alcohol. Many mental health disorders require medications that do not interact well with either illegal drugs or alcohol. Mental health disorders and substance use disorders share some common treatment formats. Group therapy and cognitive behavior therapy are the foundation of most substance abuse programs.  It has long been recognized that no two mental health patients are the same, just like no two substance use disorder patients are the same. When the treatment is customized to each individual patient, they can receive the exact treatment they need for their personal combination of symptoms and challenges.

Connections Wellness Group Dual Diagnosis Program

The Connections Wellness Group has established an effective dual diagnosis treatment program that is centered around the individual needs of each patient. Their holistic approach by highly qualified professionals can help those with a dual diagnosis receive the care and treatment that proves most effective for their combination of challenges. If you or someone you know experiences symptoms of both substance use disorders and mental health conditions, contact us today and let us show you how our Dual Diagnosis Program can help put you on the path to better health.