Dual Diagnosis Treatment

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A significant amount of people suffering from substance abuse and addiction meet the criteria for having additional psychiatric disorders as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The phenomenon of co-existing substance abuse disorder and psychiatric conditions is referred to as comorbidity, co-occurring or dual diagnosis conditions.

About Dual Diagnosis

Treating dual diagnosis patients provides a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Many treatment centers are equipped to handle the issue or even specialize in co-occurring rehab.

The prevalence of dual diagnoses in the population doesn’t necessarily mean that one caused the other. In fact, it’s often quite difficult to establish a causal or directional relationship between the substance abuse disorder and the psychiatric disorder because they often emerge simultaneously. For instance, when some people abuse alcohol or drugs to the point of becoming addicted, changes in the brain occur. These changes might secondarily give rise to psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, and even psychosis.

Alternatively, some people might have pre-existing, or sub-clinical aspects of these anxious, depressed or psychotic conditions and begin using alcohol or drugs as a means to modify the undesirable symptoms they experience. The use of substances to address psychiatric symptoms is known as “self-medication.”

Regardless of whether the psychiatric condition was a factor in the substance abuse or the substance abuse gave rise to the psychiatric condition, treating dual diagnosis patients provides a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Many treatment centers are equipped to handle the issue or even specialize in dual diagnosis rehab.

If you feel you might be suffering from a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and a psychiatric condition, you can find treatment that will meet your recovery needs. For immediate assistance in finding a reputable co-occurring disorders addiction treatment center call for help toll-free at 1-888-744-0069 . Treatment support advisors are standing by to take your confidential call.

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Types of Disorders

With as many as 50% of those admitted to addiction treatment facilities being dually diagnosed, the importance of dual diagnosis treatment as a part of therapeutic practice at all addiction treatment centers is obvious. People struggling with addiction have twice the rates of concurrent anxiety and mood disorders when compared to the general population. The list of dual diagnoses doesn’t end with mood disorders and anxiety disorders, however.

Examples of Psychiatric Disorders Often Diagnosed with Substance Use Disorders

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  • Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, and phobias like agoraphobia (fear of open spaces).
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD).
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Major eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder (BED).
  • Mood disorders, including major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder.
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Personality disorders like borderline personality disorder.
  • Psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

Accurate diagnosis of these and other co-occurring conditions will set the stage for effective treatment design. In all of the above instances, specialized treatment must be provided to address both the substance abuse and the psychiatric condition, and their interactions – doing so will promote effective and long-term recovery.

The Importance of Rehabilitation

For best results, both disorders should be treated concurrently. It is not merely an issue of treating both substance use and psychiatric disorders in parallel, as they have much interplay with each other.

Specialized dual diagnosis treatment will employ a variety of pharmaceutical and therapeutic interventions that will address the separate conditions, as well as the interaction between them:

Sometimes the dual diagnosis won’t be made until treatment is already underway. A person might present to treatment for detox, and only then will a concurrent condition be discovered since substances can cover and distort the expression of mental health symptoms. It will be important at that stage for medical professionals to quickly modify treatment accordingly.

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Treatment Centers

Dual diagnosis treatment can be provided in an outpatient or inpatient facility with the decision depending upon a variety of factors.

Not all treatment centers are the same, just as no two individuals are the same. Patients might require medically-assisted detox, which in some instances will necessitate adjusting the medications used to manage their mental stability and potential symptoms. For many cases of dual diagnosis, the careful balance of medications and targeted therapies required strongly favor inpatient treatment.

Specialized inpatient centers have trained psychiatric and medical staff whose job it is to manage these uncertain and difficult cases.

Guidelines to Choosing the Proper Treatment Center

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Some guidelines to use when choosing the proper treatment center may be:

  • The existence of a substance use disorder and the type of substance.
  • How long the person has been using.
  • How much the person has been using.
  • The frequency of use.
  • Whether the person requires supervised medical detox.
  • The severity of the mental health disorder.
  • Whether a strong support system exists.
  • Whether the person is a danger to himself or others.

Understanding Insurance Benefits, Costs, and Reimbursements

Dual diagnosis treatment centers can be expensive, but many health insurance plans will cover, at least in part, this type of treatment. Additional insurance coverage may be available depending on your income, diagnosis, and working status. These programs, which tend to be inpatient programs due to the higher level of care, tend to have out-of-pocket costs that range between $200 and $900 per day. This cost will vary depending on the program duration, with longer treatment plans generally having lower cost per day. It can also vary by the program location and amenities offered, with more luxurious programs naturally costing more.

If you are having trouble locating an insurance covered treatment center for dual diagnosis rehabilitation near you, you don’t have to go it alone. Call 1-888-744-0069 now to get help finding a treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis. You can start your new life today.

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Eric Patterson, MSCP, NCC, LPC, is a professional counselor who has been working for over a decade to help children, adolescents, and adults in western Pennsylvania reach their goals and improve their well-being.

Along the way, Eric worked as a collaborating investigator for the field trials of the DSM-5 and completed an agreement to provide mental health treatment to underserved communities with the National Health Service Corp.

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