Dual diagnosis: the state of living with both a substance abuse issue and a mental health disorder. It’s an issue that plagues about 50 percent of all patients who are living with mental health issues like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and others. That adds up to about 8.9 million people in the United States, with fewer than 8 percent getting the treatment they need to successfully manage both disorders, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). If your loved one is living with a drug dependence and untreated mental health symptoms, you can help them to recover most effectively when you opt for a dual diagnosis rehab program. Here’s what you need to know.
Don’t Attempt to Divide and Conquer
When your loved one experiences mental health issues, he or she may be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as a form of escape from the uncomfortable symptoms or in an attempt to “treat” those symptoms on their own. In the same way, many people who have a mental health disorder find that their symptoms worsen when they abuse drugs or alcohol. Some have more symptoms, more intense symptoms or more frequent episodes as a result of drug abuse. Because the symptoms of addiction and mental health disorders are often intertwined, it is highly ineffective to attempt to treat first one disorder and then the other; the symptoms of the untreated disorder very often put a halt to the treatment of the first disorder, rendering that treatment ineffective. However, a dual diagnosis rehabilitation program that addresses both disorders via intensive treatment can help the patient to make progress against both issues simultaneously and reduce the risk of relapse in either area along the way.
Tenets of Effective Dual Diagnosis Treatment
What should you look for in a dual diagnosis rehab when you’re seeking help for your addicted loved one? Make sure that they offer:
- Extensive evaluation and diagnosis at the onset of treatment to accurately identify all issues that require attention
- Medical care including pharmacological assistance as needed for both detox and mental health treatment
- Intensive and varied therapeutic options designed to address the characteristics of addiction, the diagnosed mental health disorder(s), and the risk of relapse
- Family therapy, couples counseling, parenting classes, and other therapeutic interventions designed to improve dynamics and support at home
- Job skills training to improve employability
What does your loved one need to learn how to manage their substance abuse issues and mental health symptoms? Contact us at Futures today to help your family member to begin an intensive evaluation process and move a step closer to recovery.