So, what is a dual diagnosis after all? To understand what a dual diagnosis treatment center is, we must understand this term. Having a dual diagnosis means that one can be diagnosed with some type of addiction disorder and, at the same time, be diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness, or mental health disorder. Some examples of dual diagnoses are:
• Borderline Personality Disorder and an Addiction to Narcotics
• PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and an Addiction to Sex
• Schizophrenia and an Addiction to Gambling
• Major Depressive Disorder and Alcoholism
Individuals who suffer from mental illness often lack the ability to make the smartest decisions necessary to live a stable, drug and addiction free life. Thus, the addictions and substance abuse disorders come into play. An individual may be so depressed that they drown that depression with alcohol, drive and harm themselves, someone else or both. Another individual may suffer from a personality disorder and become addicted to narcotic medication and create fraudulent prescriptions to meet the amount necessary to dull their emotions and end up in prison.
Individuals abused as children or adolescents often suffer from depression as adults. Statistical evidence shows that one out of every three individuals suffering from depression has also suffered with a substance abuse disorder. It doesn’t stop there. Half of the individuals who might suffer from a disorder materialized as social anxiety have also suffered with substance abuse disorders and addiction.
Why substance abuse? Because using substances covers up and dulls the feelings associated with a mental illness and its’ side effects and symptoms. It deadens the emotions and feelings that the individual so desperately wants to run away from.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers
Dual diagnosis treatment centers began in the late 21st century. Until this time, a person experiencing symptoms that were akin to anxiety disorders, depressive type disorders, and so on, would be treated separately from a person who was experiencing an addiction to substances. If a person was not sober and out of the ‘addictive woods’, so to speak, he or she would be denied treatment for any mental health issues.
This has often been to the detriment for an addict, as addictions usually have underlying mental health issues that desperately need treatment first and foremost.
Dual diagnosis treatment centers concentrate on treating these different disorders all at once, as part of a continuous series. These treatment centers combine addictions treatment with treatments for mental illnesses.
This leads us to our next question: How does one get diagnosed dually?
Having a Co-Occurring Disorder
Drug Rehabs have one sole aim: to treat the drug abuse and addiction so that the individual can go one and live a happy, healthy, drug-free life. But for most addicts, this just isn’t enough. There is so much more going under underneath the surface that needs attention for the individual to stay happy, healthy and drug-free. The mental aspect needs attention, too. This is where a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center can come into play.
An individual with symptoms leading to a mental health disorder diagnosis (major depressive disorder, a personality disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and so on) and for an addictive-type disorder (alcoholism, drug abuse, an addiction to gambling, a sex addiction, and so on) can now be identified as an individual suffering from a dual diagnosis when he or she enters into treatment.
The good news is that most clinicians, working in the field of addiction treatment, can now obtain the adequate credentials for the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of these diagnoses. Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers offer services individualized for those diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder.
Are Dual Diagnosis Centers even considered anymore?
Many drug rehabs are available for anyone and everyone suffering a substance abuse or other addiction. It’s not hard to find them, sign up and participate. It’s not even difficult for one to graduate. But will it help to alleviate the symptoms long-term? Most of the time the answer will be No.
Finding a dual diagnosis treatment center these days-even with the advancement in science, health and technology-is difficult. Could this be because the credentialing process for practitioners is too high a goal to attain? Do many of these clinicians weigh the pros and cons of getting credentialed and decide that it’s just not worth the time and money? There is no clear answer for these questions. But the need for care in all areas is even higher than it was in the 90’s.
The domino effect is playing a big part in society. A child is traumatized, an adolescent is then depressed, the young adult suffers depression still, the young adult finds the coping strategy of using a substance to temporarily cure this depression, the adult has become addicted to the substance, the adult becomes homeless after losing a job, and so on. It’s not just the individual that suffers. It’s a ripple effect among families and in our society.
Dual diagnosis centers remain the core to aiding these individuals and helping them become members of the working-class society again. These centers aid in lowering recidivism rates among the individuals that have been incarcerated due to their addictions and mental illnesses.
What lies ahead for the individuals who still suffer?
Getting the word out and promoting dual diagnosis treatment centers is crucial to the increase in help that these individuals so desperately need. Those who suffer need to be educated about possible co-occurring disorders so that they can then began the healing process necessary to live a happy, healthy life.
Social media, marketing, word of mouth, and the like, are all very important for dual diagnosis treatment centers to continue to operate and remain in practice.
For the individuals out there who suffer from a mental illness and an addiction, there is hope. For the individuals out there who question their actions and thoughts, there is hope. For the families who have a loved one suffering from symptoms of an addiction and a mental illness, there is hope. There is hope.