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Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis services

Dual diagnosis requires treatment that is specifically geared toward the co-occurring conditions. This means if you suspect you have co-occurring disorders, your treatment facility should reflect that need for dual diagnosis treatment. Many facilities don’t offer the ability to treat two simultaneous disorders in one treatment plan. At Agape, you can build a treatment plan that includes the most effective methods for treating addiction and co-occurring disorders.

What is a dual diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis is a situation or condition where you will have both an alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, as well as another mental health concern. In some cases, alcoholism or substance use disorder is the result of self-medicating undiagnosed mental illness.

Sometimes, these mental illnesses are incredibly significant. This often results in the patient trying to self-medicate the symptoms of:

In other cases, however, the patient may simply have an undiagnosed mental illness, such as an anxiety disorder, in conjunction with their substance use disorder or alcohol addiction. Rarely are the two unrelated, but they are also incredibly hard to diagnose in many cases.

The diagnosis of co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis itself can be very difficult to diagnose. Every disorder will have symptoms, and in many cases, the symptoms of dual diagnosis are hidden or altered by substance or alcohol use. Cases like anxiety can be very difficult to diagnose if the patient is covering it up by abusing one or more depressants. This would not only hide the symptoms of substance use but may also hide the symptoms of mental illness as well. Issues like this are one of the reasons that dual diagnosis is so hard to diagnose properly, and so rare to see treatment for.

What makes dual diagnosis treatment different?

Dual diagnosis treatment involves treating two or more co-occurring disorders at the same time. The biggest difference with dual diagnosis treatment, however, is that it involves treating both conditions at the same time. 

Once the main hurdle of diagnosis is cleared, the dual diagnosis treatment can begin. Before the treatment can begin, the patient must be completely free of alcohol or drugs, other than prescribed substances. The treatment program starts by educating the patient about their own diagnoses and helping them to begin to cope with having multiple disorders. 

In most cases, there will be a considerable amount of therapy needed, both individual therapy as well as group therapy sessions. There will also be psychoeducational activities, and attending support group activities. There may even be advanced behavioral therapies and medication prescribed to help with symptom management.

The connection between mental health & addiction

While there is a connection between mental health and addiction, there is little evidence that clarifies the picture any more than that. In many cases of substance abuse and mental illness, it becomes a typical “chicken or the egg” situation. The health professionals cannot determine if the mental illness caused the addiction, or if the addiction caused the mental illness. 

This is what frequently sets dual diagnosis facilities apart from others. While many may try to figure out which disorder is causing which, the dual diagnosis treatment method treats them both at the same time. This is done to try and minimize the potential new issues that can present as a result of treatment but can add considerable complexity to the process.

Common dual diagnosis mental health conditions

There are countless mental health disorders that can occur alongside a substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder, but some have become more common than others. There are also some combinations of substances and disorders that are also more common than others. 

Some of the most common mental health conditions in a dual diagnosis:

  • ADHD is one of the most common conditions, and those with ADHD may be at a greater risk for substance abuse as a method of coping with symptoms. They have often prescribed stimulants which can be easily misused and eventually abused.
  • Bipolar disorder is another very common disorder. It can be a significant factor in self-medication, and drugs and alcohol are often used for temporary relief.
  • Depression is a condition that about 10% of adults experience, and it can lead to significant self-medication with drugs or alcohol. They may relieve symptoms temporarily, but they often return stronger following the high wearing off.

Getting help at agape

If you or someone you care about has a dual diagnosis, finding a treatment center that can offer you the treatment methods that you need can be a challenge. However, by reaching out to the addiction professionals at Agape, you will be able to discuss your co-occurring disorders and substance abuse treatment needs in a confidential environment. You will be able to select from several integrated treatment methods at Agape, including outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs

These different options allow the patient to receive the level of care they need, for both the substance use or alcohol use disorder, as well as the mental illness. While each program will require a differing level of commitment by the patient, they will all provide a strong foundation for recovery going forward. Creating a treatment plan with Agape Treatment Center is the best first step you can take in beginning your dual diagnosis treatment.

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