Helping a person who is living with an addiction is tough, but when the issue involves a dual diagnosis, they need specialized care from experienced counselors. If you know or suspect that you or a loved one needs treatment for a mental health issue as well as addiction, the approach to treatment will be different than if the issue was addiction alone.
It’s not uncommon for people who have mental health issues to also struggle with addiction. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published these figures:
- Approximately 50 percent of people with severe mental disorders also have substance abuse issues
- Fifty-three percent of drug addicts and 37 percent of alcoholics also have at least one serious mental illness
- Of all patients diagnosed as seriously mentally ill, 29 percent abuse alcohol and/or drugs
Dual Diagnosis Hard to Unravel
The difficulty with addiction and a mental illness is kind of like trying to figure out the old riddle of the chicken and the egg. Some people start experiencing symptoms of a mental illness and start using drugs or alcohol to try to control them. It’s also possible for certain drugs to trigger a psychotic episode in some people. A client who is being treated for a mental illness who is also using drugs or alcohol won’t get the same level of symptom relief as a person who is drug-free.
Detox is First Step in Treatment
Dual diagnosis programs are set up to address both issues concurrently. You or your loved one is going to have to go to detox to get off the drugs or alcohol. It’s the standard starting point for addiction treatment. The physical body needs to be free from the harmful effects of these substances. The detoxification process is performed under supervision by qualified staff.
Treating the Addiction and the Mental Health Concern
After completing detox, an individualized treatment plan will be arranged. Dual diagnosis issues tend to occur in people who have been diagnosed with:
- Personality disorders
Treatment may include a combination of individual therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, and a 12 step recovery program. The addiction treatment and appropriate support for the mental illness must be balanced so that both concerns are treated appropriately by experienced professionals.
Sober Living and Recovery from Mental Illness is Possible
At the Touchstone Ranch Recovery Center, we help our clients learn how to live clean, sober lives. Recovery after a dual diagnosis means an extra challenge, but it is not one that is insurmountable. We can offer the caring, supportive environment necessary for recovery.
Call us at 888-988-5128 to get more information about dual diagnosis and the services we offer. We’re available 24 hours a day.