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What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment

What is dual diagnosis treatment? This is a specialized type of substance abuse treatment that addresses both the drug abuse and another co-existing health condition. This is typically a mental disorder, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disease, PTSD and OCD, although the scope of dual diagnosis treatment is certainly not limited to just those examples. Dual diagnosis treatment for chronic pain is also becoming increasingly more common. Some people who begin opioid treatment for legitimate chronic pain become addicted to their prescribed opioid. This is partly a function of how opioids work in the brain and partly because of individual risk factors, such as genetics. Genes play a pivotal role in the chances of someone becoming addicted to a substance.


Opioids, Chronic Pain and Addiction

This is not to say that all people who take opioids become addicted. In fact, under proper medical supervision, most do not. But, perhaps as many as one-quarter do, and these are the individuals who can benefit from dual diagnosis drug treatment. All drug rehabs will discourage the regular use of opioids for any reason, even for chronic pain. As part of dual diagnosis treatment, they will attempt to find alternatives. This could be holistic therapy, such as yoga or meditation, certain non-addictive medications like pregabalin or celecoxib or behavioral modification therapy. Some of these include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Of course, most rehabs include some type of behavioral modification therapy for all clients, not just for dual diagnosis ones.

People get into trouble with opioid abuse when they begin to use the drug to self-medicate for reasons other than which the drug was prescribed. They may use opioids as a mood elevator, when their true problem is untreated depression. This kind of self-medication does nothing to address the underlying problem that may be fueling the addiction in the first place. Self-medication almost always makes the problem worse.

However, there is a distinction between physical dependence and addiction. They are not the same. Anyone who takes an opioid for any length of time will develop a tolerance and a physical dependence on it. They will require higher doses and will experience withdrawal symptoms if the drug is suddenly stopped.

This is also true for addiction, but the difference lies in the psychological aspect. An addict has come to rely on their drug of choice as a coping mechanism that they rely on to get through every day. A non-addict sees the drug only as a way to relieve their pain and are highly unlikely to display drug-seeking behavior. Someone who is addicted will be unable to reduce their dose on their own. Someone who is not will be easily able to reduce their dose any time they desire to.


Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Depression

Depression is a fairly common brain disorder. It’s often mistaken for just the blues, but clinical depression is more than that. Everyone feels down sometimes; it’s part of life. Perhaps a relationship didn’t work out, or you lost your job. It would be normal for someone to feel a bit depressed under those circumstances. However, this type of depression is self-limited and generally clears up relatively quickly without treatment. True clinical depression is caused by an imbalance of a brain chemical called serotonin. Medications called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, help to balance this chemical by increasing the amount of serotonin available to the brain cells. Once the depression is relieved, it will be much easier for someone to concentrate on their substance abuse recovery. Some people can discontinue SSRI therapy without recurrent symptoms. Others may need it for much longer or even permanently.


Dual Diagnosis: Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depression. It typically causes wild swings of emotions from very high to very low. The high phase often includes euphoria and boundless energy. In the low phase, someone can sink so deep into a black depression that they may commit suicide. Some people with this condition don’t realize they have it and attempt to medicate their symptoms with drugs of abuse that only make the problem worse. Bipolar disorder can be successfully treated with mood-stabilizing drugs like lithium. Whatever the concurrent health condition, long-term sobriety is unlikely unless and until it’s successfully treated.


We Can Help

Dual diagnosis therapy is a specialized type of drug rehab not necessarily offered at all drug rehabs you may want to attend. If you need help choosing the best dual diagnosis treatment center for you, just call us anytime at 833-820-3812. Our professional staff of drug counselors will be happy to discuss your issues and guide you to the help you need.


There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to addiction. Every person is unique and deserves the proper placement in the right program to best avoid potential relapse. Our “Phase Back to Life” outpatient programs combine the love, care, compassion and structure of a traditional rehabilitation center – along with a real life recovery program. We know you just want your loved one back and some peace of mind. That’s exactly how we designed our program. Call us today to learn more.

Our well-appointed facilities will ensure that your loved one is comfortable and safe.  We have taken great care to ensure that each individual feels at home from the start, so they are ready to engage in a life of recovery.  We have thought of everything to make sure it’s all taken care of.

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What is Dual Diagnosis treatment?

Drug abuse is a significant health problem worldwide. It can make a person feel isolated and reduce their self-esteem. This happens when those around you, such as family and friends, notice symptoms of abuse such as needle marks. Studies show that people who abuse drugs have a high chance of getting a mental illness. Mental illness can vary from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or psychosis.

Similarly, people who have mental illness are likely to abuse drugs. When the two disorders co-occur, it is referred to as dual diagnosis. Dual disorders require both disorders to be addressed; treatment is useless if only one disorder is treated. This is because the other disorder could cause a relapse of the other disorder soon enough.

What is dual diagnosis treatment?

Dual diagnosis treatment refers to the treatment offered to patients who abuse drugs and also have a mental illness. For example, you can have alcoholism and also have depression. Similarly, you can use cocaine and have post-traumatic stress disorder. Dual diagnosis aims at addressing symptoms of both the post-traumatic stress disorder and enable you to detox from cocaine use. This form of treatment has revolutionized the field of addiction and rehabilitation by making rehabilitation programs more effective.

Before the 1990s, the medical field separated patients of mental disorders from those with addiction problems, not knowing that the two disorders occur together. You would be denied treatment for a mental illness until you have undergone a rehabilitation program and stopped abusing the drugs you were once addicted to.

After extensive research was done, it was discovered that an underlying mental disorder is the route course of substance abuse. This is why many patients who had substance abuse problems and mental illness always relapsed to their addiction after a certain period. After a few treatment trials on patients with dual diagnosis, it was discovered that the most successful aspect of treatment is one which encompasses treatment for both disorders, dual diagnosis treatment. The need for dual diagnosis treatment has made clinicians working in rehab centers to undergo training exclusive to dual diagnosis treatment so that rehabilitation programs can be more effective. Each dual diagnosis treatment is personalized for every patient depending on the disorders you experience.

Why do addiction and mental illness occur together?

There are three theories put across that explain why substance abuse and mental illnesses co-occur in over half the population of people suffering from addiction. The theories include:

  • Some drugs of abuse cause mental illnesses.
  • There is a high likelihood of a person who has a mental illness to abuse drugs.
  • Both mental illness and addiction have the same risk factors.

Certain drugs of abuse can lead to the development of mental disorders. A drug like marijuana, for example, has been known to cause psychosis in certain patients. Heavy and prolonged use of marijuana is a significant determinant of whether or not you will develop psychosis.

When you feel depressed or have anxiety, it is easy for you to resort to drugs that can relieve the condition. People with anxiety often resort to alcohol while those with depression resort to drugs that cause a euphoric feeling such as marijuana and cocaine.

If you have been exposed to a risk factor such as sexual abuse, you are likely to fall into depression or have post-traumatic stress disorder. You can also indulge in drugs of abuse to help you forget the traumatic experience. Stress is also another factor that can lead to the two disorders.

When you have a dual diagnosis, symptoms of the two conditions exacerbate each other making it impossible for you to completely recover from both symptoms when only one condition is addressed.

What does dual diagnosis treatment involve?

Dual diagnosis treatment encompasses a variety of therapies that help you to fully recover from both conditions and also minimize the risk of relapse. Some of the therapies encompassed include:

  • Behavioral and cognitive therapy.
  • Medication therapy.
  • Interpersonal therapy.

Cognitive therapy involves understanding why you take self-harming choices like drug abuse and addressing those reasons. On the other hand, behavioral therapy involves leaving behind your negative behaviors and adopting positive ones.

This involves the use of drugs to treat your mental illness and drugs to manage withdrawal symptoms of your addiction.

Interpersonal therapy is all about knowing how to communicate with those around you. You will learn how to manage stressful situations to avoid relapse.

Our clinic In Columbus, Ohio offers dual diagnosis treatment plans for patients with dual diagnosis living in the Northeast United States. However, you are welcome to visit our clinic if you live in other parts of the country and wish to seek help with your addiction and mental disorder. If you are ready to start the program, call us today on 833-820-2922.