Dual diagnosis is more common than most people realize because mental illness and addiction can be closely related. Pre-existing mental conditions are often a major contributing factor to causing addiction. In some individuals, addiction can also lead to the development of mental illness disorders that were not previously present. There are a number of conditions associated with addiction but the most common are depressive disorders such as bipolar disorder and major depression, anxiety disorders like panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder as well as other psychiatric problems like schizophrenia and personality disorders. Psychological issues can develop at various stages of addiction but in most cases, it is a pre-existing condition that makes a person predisposed to engaging in substance abuse. Those with mental illness problems may attempt to “self-medicate” through the use of drugs or alcohol in order to reduce their symptoms of depression or anxiety. The result of this self-medication is that a patient is left with two complicated issues that must be treated simultaneously. In some cases, substance abuse is the primary problem that eventually leads to mental health issues like hallucinations, depression or anxiety which can complicate their addiction treatment. In either situation, specialized dual diagnosis treatment is necessary for the patient to reach a full recovery and avoid relapsing.
If symptoms of a mental illness are present when a patient enters our rehab center, they can be assessed by a physician to determine the nature of the psychiatric problem. Doctors can evaluate each patient in order to find what treatment plan would work best for them. After completing detox, it can be easier to define which of a person’s symptoms are resulting from an addiction and which are caused by a mental health disorder. Once a patient begins treatment they will be offered the type of support and care that can help them manage both their addiction and psychological symptoms. Patients are provided with clinical care, individual counseling, group therapy, educational groups and a number of other healing activities that can all be effective in completing recovery. A dual diagnosis patient can require special attention and prescription medication to keep symptoms under control. Physicians and psychiatrists can ensure that each dual diagnosis patient is receiving the type of medication they need for their mental health condition without endangering the success of their recovery from addiction. Individual counseling is one of the most important aspects of recovery for any patient dealing with a dual diagnosis. Therapy in a one-on-one environment can help them identify the issues that contribute to their addiction as well as those that are related to their mental health disorder. Patients with co-occurring disorders can benefit most from cognitive-behavioral therapy because it helps them manage their symptoms by learning to adapt their behavior and cognitive processes. Psychotherapy gives them the tools and the ability to replace harmful patterns with healthier habits. The individual attention a patient receives in their therapy sessions can be instrumental in their recovery from both addiction and mental illness.
Group therapy is another key element in recovery that can be important for patients with a dual diagnosis. People suffering from addiction may struggle with their interpersonal skills and psychological conditions can also interfere with healthy social relationships. Regular sessions of group therapy can be helpful in allowing patients to share their feelings with peers in a safe environment and improve their ability to relate to others. Coping with a dual disorder is a challenge full of unique obstacles which can only be overcome through the appropriate treatment program. Pax House offers rehab options for dual diagnosis that are effective at helping patients manage both issues simultaneously. A psychological condition can be a major risk for relapse if it is not treated in connection with the addiction. Integrated treatment for dual diagnosis can yield better results as patients receive the support and individual attention that they need to recover.