Dual Diagnosis Not Commonly Treated in Drug Rehabs

Only fifty percent of drug rehabs offer a dual diagnosis programs. Furthermore, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Episode Data Set, most of the drug addiction treatment centers that offer comprehensive dual diagnosis programs are privately owned, not state funded and of that number not all comprehensive programs are integrated sufficiently.

Until the last decade or so, dual diagnosis was typically not recognized by treatment professionals. Today, the number of people entering treatment with a mental health disorder continues to grow. In 2002, it was estimated that 40 percent of alcohol abusers also suffered from an independent mood disorder, and 60% of drug abusers suffered from a form of mood disorder. It has been noted that more women suffer from a mental health disorder and substance abuse than men.

A drug rehab that offers comprehensive dual diagnosis programs should have a multidisciplinary team of addiction certified physicians and behavioral health nurses with expert knowledge of mental health disorders. Therapists must be experienced in mental health disorder treatment protocols as well as addiction treatment protocols or best practices.

The ability of a person suffering from both a mental health disorder (such as PTSD, anxiety, or panic disorder for example), and a substance abuse problem to succeed in long term abstinence and recovery will be much more likely if both health issues are properly diagnosed and treated simultaneously.

A comprehensive dual diagnosis program will provide the patient with:

• Regular psychiatric evaluations
• Individualized treatment plan
• Dual diagnosis education
• Medication management education
• Group and Individual counseling (using a variety of therapies)
• Addiction education
• Life skills training
• Exercise and nutritional counseling
• Spiritual workshops or 12 Step meetings
• Individualized after care plan

Without addressing the problems and symptoms of the mental health disorder and without a thorough understanding of drug and alcohol triggers, the person in a drug rehab for dual diagnosis is at greater risk for relapse and a worsening of the mental health disorder symptoms.

There is an endless cycle of addiction. For example, the addict is depressed and longs to be free of those feelings. In desperation, the addict uses drugs or alcohol to alleviate the symptoms. After a short period of time, the alcohol or drugs no longer provide relief and the body has grown accustomed to the drugs and alcohol and demands more, and the symptoms of the depression worsen.

This cycle is repeated until the cycle of addiction is broken, drug use is abandoned, the patient receives a medically supervised detox, proper diagnosis of the mental health disorder is made, stabilizing medication is prescribed if needed, and addiction treatment is obtained.

It is a complex process to accurately diagnose someone who has both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse problem. This is why it is important for the patient to choose a drug treatment center that is able to manage his or her mental health disorder. The first step is always to stop using substances through the aid of a medically supervised detox unit.


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