Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs
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If you’re suffering from drug abuse and mental illness, or any combination of issues, there are dual diagnosis treatment programs that can help you NOW. Your addiction and health issues are taking over your life, perhaps hurting the people closest to you as well as yourself. You can feel its power over you, and you know it’s time to break this bond, but you don’t know how. We are here to help you – call 954-271-5047 and get help now!
The terminology, dual diagnosis, is a term used to describe the coexistence of a drug/alcohol addiction and psychiatric disorder. How a person uses drugs/alcohol to cope with a psychiatric disorder is demonstrated in these examples: a person with a panic disorder using alcohol to calm the feelings or slow down the thought process and the person suffering from depression or major depression using amphetamines or cocaine to provide them with motivation or energy. In either case, it makes diagnosis and recovery very challenging.
As discussed, providing someone with an accurate assessment can be quite challenging. What is listed below will provide you with an idea of what healthcare professionals must consider in providing an accurate diagnosis:
- Long term, consistent drug and alcohol abuse can initiate the development of a psychiatric problem, can cause an existing psychiatric problem to worsen or can create fertile ground for the reemergence of a past psychiatric disorder.
- Long term, consistent drug and alcohol abuse can create symptoms that appear to be those associated with a psychiatric disorder.
- When a person is experiencing withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, the presenting symptoms may appear consistent with those of a psychiatric disorder.
- Chronic drug and alcohol use have been known to hide psychiatric symptoms or psychiatric disorders.
It is not uncommon for people to use drugs or alcohol to deal with the side effects of many of the medications. Decisions like this just create an additional problem to be dealt with. What takes time to find out is if the presenting symptoms were created from the drug and alcohol use or were present all along. If the psychiatric disorder has been present all along, then it will not "clear" when the person completes detox and is abstinent from all substances. If the presenting symptoms were a result of using drugs/alcohol then the symptoms will slowly reduce after detox and continued abstinence. This is why a dual diagnosis is so important.
Research has shown that people with psychiatric problems are much more prone to addiction than others. In addition, more than 50% of the people with recognized addictions experience psychiatric disorders. It is not uncommon, for these two disorders to go hand in hand making the issue of dealing with relapse prevention of paramount importance. To avoid relapse, the dually diagnosed person must keep their disorder in check and take their prescribed medication, and to avoid the deterioration of the psychiatric disorder, the addict must not return to the use or abuse of drugs/alcohol.
To take things a step farther, many dual diagnosed patients decide to discontinue their medications or alter the prescribed dosage. In either case, the person is self sabotaging their recovery from their psychiatric disorder and recovery from drugs and alcohol. As the psychiatric symptoms begin to reappear, due to the increase, decrease or discontinuation of medication, the first thing the addict or alcoholic thinks of is the use of drugs and alcohol as a means to cope with confused thinking or the feelings they experience. The end result will be the reemergence of their drug addiction/alcoholism, as well as, their previously dual diagnosed psychiatric disorder. It is important to never alter your prescribed medications without speaking to your physician first.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs
Historically, addiction treatment programs, drug rehabs, alcohol rehabs and psychiatric hospitals, have treated dual diagnosis separately. This has not proved to be an effective addiction treatment approach, and today most addiction treatment programs, drug rehabs, alcohol rehabs and psychiatric hospitals offer dual diagnosis treatment programs that treat both disorders concurrently.
- Ideally, drug addiction, alcoholism and psychiatric disorders should be treated simultaneously.
- The first step in addiction treatment for drug or alcohol addiction must be detoxification – a period of time during which the body is allowed to cleanse itself of alcohol and/or drugs and manage all withdrawal symptoms.
- Detox should be medically monitored in a dual diagnosis treatment program as medical challenges do occur. Time in detox varies, depending on what substances you are addicted to, the frequency of use and amount of usage.
- Once stable in detox, a psychiatrist will assess you to determine the mental illness and how to best address it. Dual diagnosis treatment programs should take a gradual approach. Those with a dual diagnosis have to proceed at their own pace.
- The goal of quality dual diagnosis treatment programs should be abstinence and medication compliance.
- After completing drug addiction treatment or drug / alcohol rehab, you should be involved in psychiatric follow up and aftercare in the program you have completed in order to prevent relapse.
Not everyone is a candidate for inpatient dual diagnosis treatment programs. It all depends upon the severity of the problems and willingness of the patient. For people whose drug or alcohol addiction is not severe enough to warrant detox, an outpatient dual diagnosis treatment program might be the solution. It is important to note that while outpatient dual diagnosis treatment is certainly an option, it is for those who are extremely motivated. Denial is an inherent part of the problem with dual diagnosis. The person with dual diagnosis often does not have insight as to the seriousness and the scope of their problem. It can prove quite challenging to refrain from drug and alcohol use, while trying to manage psychiatric medications and a mental illness. For many, the structure of an inpatient dual diagnosis treatment program has made recovery from dual diagnosis that much easier.
If you require additional information regarding dual diagnosis or you are trying to locate dual diagnosis treatment programs, call us at 954-271-5047. GET HELP NOW!