Treating Addiction and Mental Illness with a Dual Diagnosis Program

by | May 4, 2012 | Public health education‎

If traditional drug rehabilitation or recovery programs fail to help an addict recover, it might point to a more severe underlying cause for the addiction. Psychiatric conditions and underlying mental illnesses are the most common triggers that push a large percentage of drug addicts into substance abuse. Substance abuse presents an easier way for patients to deal with their emotional state, and continued abuse very soon makes these substances the only thing that allows them to cope with their problems. The intoxication that patients experience allows patients to ignore their emotional state and ‘escape’ to a happier place—even if the escape is only temporary. The temporary nature of escape is what leads to repetitive use, inevitably leading to addiction.

Recent years have witnessed measures to resolve this problem by achieving a greater integration of psychiatric services into addiction treatment services. These methods gave rise to a dual diagnosis program where both forms of treatment can be provided at a single facility. Most addiction treatment facilities and mental health institutions already have a dual diagnosis program, making it a more common approach to help patients struggling with addiction and mental illness.

Dual diagnosis treatment is required when a patient simultaneously suffers from substance abuse as well as a mental condition of some kind. In many cases, the mental condition is the trigger of the emotions and behaviors that create the addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment addresses substance abuse, provides detoxification and helps patients understand and treat the underlying mental issues that are the root cause of the addiction. The use of alcohol and drugs can make the accurate diagnosis of mental illness very difficult in a typical mental treatment facility. Dual diagnosis programs, on the other hand, are well equipped to diagnose and provide holistic treatment for both conditions.

Cases of combined mental illness and substance addiction can be dangerous to both society and the patient in the absence of timely treatment. Psychiatric illnesses are usually treated with medications. Substances used along with medication can cause adverse reactions resulting in the worsening of the health of the patient. This makes it imperative for the patient to be treated in a good dual diagnosis program instead of a behavioral health facility or a traditional addiction treatment center.

There are many dual diagnosis programs available for those in need of treatment. The better treatment centers offer a comprehensive dual diagnosis program as inpatient and outpatient options. These programs see patients through all aspects of recovery from detoxification to re-assimilation. If substance abuse and mental health issues are destroying the lives of your loved ones it’s time to start your journey to recovery. Committing to the right dual diagnosis program is the first step.

With the right approach, both the addiction and the mental illness that precipitates it can be addressed and treated. Though patients suffering from these two devastating conditions may feel hopeless about making a full recovery, dual diagnosis programs can help them do just that.

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