Dual Diagnosis 101: What Is It and Why Rehabs Practice It

Dual Diagnosis 101: What Is It and Why Rehabs Practice It

A dual diagnosis refers to individuals who experience a diagnosable mental illness and a substance-use disorder at the same time. The process of offering dual diagnosis rehab can be challenging for treatment centers, given the unique set of challenges that these patients bring with them as they work through their recovery.

Speaking frankly, dual diagnosis can be especially tricky to manage in rehab because of how intertwined these two conditions are. Research shows that people who suffer from both a mental illness and substance abuse are more likely to relapse than those who have one or the other.

As such, dual diagnosis is a category of patients that requires special attention and care in order for them to achieve the best possible outcome from their treatment program.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what dual diagnosis is and why you should consider it when choosing a dual diagnosis treatment center.

What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Dual diagnosis, as highlighted earlier, means that an individual is experiencing simultaneous mental illness and substance abuse. The two are often connected, given that many people turn to drugs or alcohol as a means of self-medicating and dealing with symptoms of mental illness.

The most common combination, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and substance abuse. This is often referred to as “co-occurring disorders,” or a dual diagnosis.

Treating a dual diagnosis is a complex process because the two conditions are so closely linked. For example, many drugs trigger or worsen mental health symptoms. And many mental illnesses can make a person more susceptible to drug use, especially if they’re left untreated.

Why Rehab Centers Practice Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If you’re considering a dual diagnosis rehab program, you’re probably wondering why rehab centers highly recommend this approach. After all, isn’t treating one of them enough?

Well, not exactly. For starters, research shows that treating mental illness without treating substance abuse is largely ineffective. The same goes the other way around. On the other hand, treating both conditions simultaneously will help ensure that neither is left untreated and that you’re getting the best possible outcome from your time in treatment.

Another major benefit of dual diagnosis treatment center is that it opens up a broader range of treatment options for individuals. While most rehabs offer options for treating a variety of substance-use disorders, many do not offer the same range of treatment plans for mental health issues. This can be especially important when treating eating disorders and mood disorders, which have a high prevalence in substance abuse treatment.

Final Words

If you’re struggling with a dual diagnosis, know that you’re not alone. Approximately 25% of individuals who receive treatment for substance use disorder have a co-occurring mental health disorder. What’s more, research shows that there is a high degree of comorbidity between the two conditions.

In short, many people experience both mental illness and substance abuse. And these two conditions are often intertwined and need to be treated concurrently in order to achieve the best outcomes.

If you find yourself struggling with a dual diagnosis, you don’t have to go through this alone. In fact, you don’t have to go through it at all. There are many options for addiction treatment. So take the first step and find yourself a dual diagnosis treatment center where you can get the help you need for both your substance abuse and mental illness.


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