Figuring Out if Dual-Diagnosis Treatment is For You

There are a number of different paths that can result in alcoholism or drug addiction. Nobody ever intends to become addicted to alcohol or drugs, but after experimenting with substance abuse individuals begin to lose their self-control. They begin by believing that they will be an exception to the rule, able to remain in control of their substance abuse behavior and stop themselves before they become fully addicted. However, as they continue to escalate the frequency of their substance abuse and increase their intake, the body begins adapting to the continuous presence of chemical substances. As a result, the body becomes reliant on an individual’s substance abuse, even for processes that occur naturally such as in the production and activation of neuro-chemicals.

Although there are many treatments and several recovery channels available to those in need, we are continuously researching addiction in the hope of developing methods that are even more effective. Another important research goal is to learn the specific, underlying causes of addiction, which might lead to prevention as well as better treatment. As such, it’s been found that there is a high instance of comorbidity among individuals suffering from addiction. This means that many of the individuals who suffer from addiction also suffer from a co-occurring, or comorbid, mental or emotional disorder. In such cases, an individual would need an addiction treatment program that address both the symptoms of his or her addiction as well as the symptoms of the secondary disease.

What Exactly is Dual-Diagnosis Treatment?

When it comes to addiction treatment programs, individuals are able to personalize their programming so that their treatment address their specific recovery needs and preferences. For instance, it’s becoming increasingly common for alcohol and drug rehabs to offer holistic therapies, which include things like acupuncture, guided meditation, massage therapy, equine therapy, and so on. Alternately, those addicts for whom religion is a prominent part of daily life might prefer a faith-based addiction treatment program. However, for individuals who suffer from both an addiction and a comorbid psychological disorder, there’s a type of programming that can account for the needs one has for both conditions.

Dual-diagnosis support, or dual-diagnosis treatment, is the term used to describe such programming in which an individual is treated for both an addiction and a comorbid, or co-occurring, disease in one program. In fact, addiction shares symptoms with many other disorders, making this a very logical or basic offering. A relatively recent innovation in addiction treatment curricula, dual-diagnosis support in recovery programs is built upon the idea that addiction and mental disorders are part of a single continuum rather than being two completely different types of illnesses. Until recently, it was estimated that only 12 percent of individuals who suffered from addiction and a comorbid illness received treatment for both conditions. This is especially tragic considering the complicated relationship between addiction and mental illness. When programs began to treat both conditions simultaneously, it was found that individuals experienced lower rates of relapse, indicating that dual-diagnosis support was comprehensive and more effective.

Comorbidity: Addiction & Co-Occurring Diagnoses

grl suffering from co-occuring disorders

In many ways, alcohol and drug addiction — and even the various behavioral addictions — resemble mental illnesses. In fact, addictions are sometimes referred to as substance use disorders and impulse control disorders, highlighting the prominent role that one’s cognitions play in the development and longevity of a substance abuse problem. Additionally, studies also show that addiction has a very high rate of comorbidity, which means that many addicts also suffer from a co-occurring psychological disorder. Therefore, there have been countless studies that have tried to understand the exact nature of the relationship between addiction and other illnesses. In particular, researchers wanted to understand whether addiction caused these secondary disorders, whether mental and emotional disorders caused addiction, whether addiction and other mental illnesses involve similar areas of the brain, or whether these two afflictions have a high instance of developing simultaneously yet independently.

Identifying When Dual-Diagnosis Support is Needed

For a number of addicts, dual-diagnosis treatment may not be needed. However, conservative estimates suggest that as many as six out of every ten addicts also suffer from a psychiatric disorder. Additionally, substance abuse can be a symptom of a mental or emotional disorder, making it impossible to overcome addiction without treating its cause. Individuals who experience symptoms of a mental or emotional disorder should have dual-diagnosis support integrated into their treatment curricula. In many cases, such individuals will be aware of some of their symptoms, but counselors and intake coordinators have a variety of screening tools that can be used to detect whether an addict might be suffering from a comorbid illness and be in need of dual-diagnosis treatment.

Free Yourself from Addiction with Recovery Hub

Becoming an addict is a very different journey for everyone who falls under the thrall of substance abuse. Likewise, the journey from addiction to sobriety is different for every addict. It’s important to determine one’s recovery needs and find the treatments that best address them. For more information about recovery or to discuss the available treatment options, call Recovery Hub at 1-888-220-4325. Our specialists and intake team are always available to those in need. At Recovery Hub we are personally invested in each and every patient. It’s our goal to help you or your loved one begin the healing journey and achieve lasting sobriety.

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