Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs

Dual diagnosis refers to a condition where the patient has both a substance addiction coupled with a psychological disorder. Common examples of this would be cocaine addiction along with an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia, or it could be the combination of alcoholism and depression which sends the patient spiraling out of control.

Co-occurring disorders are often very hard to diagnose, and also lead to some amount of confusion as to which kind of treatment would be ideal to resolve them. Very often, treatment programs that are used for single addiction problems are wary of accepting patients who have dual diagnosis. This is because most rehabilitation centers tend to specialize in either substance abuse or psychiatric conditions, not usually both. When an addiction is combined with another real disorder, then treating the individual becomes more difficult.

If you or one of your loved one is suffering from dual diagnosis, there are treatment options available. It would be best to consult with your doctor before you make any kind of selection just to ensure that you are doing what’s right for you or your loved one.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Years ago, professionals believed in separately treating each disorder that combined to formulate the dual diagnosis. The effectiveness of this was limited, and there was also a high incidence of relapse.  Now with new dual diagnosis treatment programs in place, it becomes much easier to treat both disorders as one.  Dual diagnosis addiction treatment centers have improved chances for permanent recovery, and in turn, they have minimized chances of relapse.

The first step in treating dual diagnosis involves cleansing the body of all alcohol or drugs ingested.  Often this takes a couple of weeks, but it helps to eliminate all the physiological reactions that are caused by substance abuse. This makes it easier to isolate the rest of the symptoms and attribute them to the other condition and then make a prognosis accordingly.

It is best if this detoxification process takes place under supervision, so that changes can be made to the treatment depending on how the patient responds. If there are side effects or if the withdrawal symptoms need medical attention, then it helps to be in a safe and secure environment instead of being at home or at work. That is why inpatient treatment is recommended to most patients who have dual diagnosis.

When the body has been cleansed of all the substances that were ingested and the patient’s condition has been isolated to one disorder, then medical professionals can start examining it. Since substance abuse has been eliminated, one can conclude that what remains is the psychological disorder and treat it accordingly. Whether it is through therapy, counseling, the use of drugs, or any other method, it is important to note that for all dual diagnosis, treatment must be gradual. It is also necessary for medical professionals to pace treatment at a speed that the patient is comfortable with. If not there could be repercussions, and even relapse.

After treatment has been completed, doctors will test whether the patient is able to sustain an abuse-free lifestyle. It is important to examine this because most dual diagnosis treatment programs are completed in an inpatient facility. The conditions of these are very different from those you would find in normal everyday situations.

Being treated in a special facility makes the environment highly regimented and without the stressful situations that you would usually encounter at work or at home. Therefore, being abuse free within the facility is no guarantee that the patient will continue to keep away when he returns to his regular environment. Since the environment has a lot to do with physiological and psychological problems, it is an important consideration that needs to be taken into account.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dual Diagnosis Treatments

Dual diagnosis treatments have been found to be effective because they recognize the fact that you can have more than one disorder at a time. It is the combination of these that could lead to your substance abuse problem rather than it being one or the other that is responsible for your situation. It also makes sure that both conditions are treated until the patient is in full control of the situation. This is a much better resolution to the problem than treating one or the other, which is what medical professionals resorted to earlier.

Another advantage of this kind of treatment is that it recognizes that each patient is unique. One should recognize that the physical and psychological characteristics interact with the environment in different ways, and it is the combination of all these that together result in the manifestation of the dual diagnosis as we see it. By treating the condition thoroughly, chances of a relapse are greatly reduced.

However, dual diagnosis treatment is not without its disadvantages. Since it needs to be tailor-made to the specific requirements of each patient, it is not always foolproof. It becomes difficult to draw the line between a psychological disorder and one that is caused by substance abuse. And indeed if there is a misdiagnosis, then not only the treatment is a complete waste, but time, effort, and money also go down the drain. Longer treatment is also required which is not something that everyone is prepared for; and considering that inpatient facilities are ideal for treating dual diagnosis, it requires a considerable investment of money.

Despite these disadvantages, dual diagnosis treatment programs are becoming increasingly popular. Not only are they receiving more sanction from experts, but patients also prefer to turn to them because of their easy adaptability and personalization. Research has also shown that most substance abuse problems are not isolated, and there is a high chance that they occur in conjunction with psychological disorders. Dual diagnosis treatment programs are slowly becoming the norm of the day.

If you or someone you care about needs help finding the best dual diagnosis treatment center, please call (877) 757-0656.  All calls are confidential.

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