What Is Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment?

Statistics show as many as half of those who seek treatment for a substance use disorder also struggle with a mental illness (or vice versa). In some cases, they may be aware of one diagnosis or the other before realizing they have a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. Although dual diagnosis conditions are closely connected, there is little research evidence to verify whether or not one diagnosis or illness causes the other. However, struggles with substance use or addiction can often lead to maladaptive coping mechanisms and new or worsening mental health conditions. Those who struggle with an undiagnosed or even a diagnosed mental health disorder often turn to alcohol or drugs to reduce the intensity of the symptoms they experience. Unfortunately, self-medicating in this way results in various physical and psychological side effects. 


The Definition of Dual Diagnosis

When someone has a dual diagnosis, they have a substance abuse or addiction diagnosis and a mental health diagnosis simultaneously. It can be challenging for medical professionals to know how to treat because both conditions are often significantly intertwined and share similar or often the same root causes. Dual diagnosis conditions often share overlapping symptoms making treating one disease without addressing and treating the other very difficult and less than beneficial for the patient. If you struggle with a dual diagnosis, the best opportunity for recovery will come from completing a program at a treatment facility like Rise in Malibu, where treatment professionals are trained to address co-occurring disorders.


Why It’s Important to Treat Mental Illness and Addiction at the Same Time

For many years, there was a strong belief within the medical and mental health communities that someone with a dual diagnosis should address each issue separately, in separate treatment programs. The challenge with this train of thought lies in how intertwined the issues are. Although one does not necessarily cause the other, dual diagnosis conditions share many common symptoms. Also, the desire to alleviate mental health symptoms frequently leads to substance use and abuse. 


Therefore, attempting to achieve sobriety often results in new or worsening mental health symptoms as self-medication through alcohol or drugs is no longer an option. The best outcomes for someone with a dual diagnosis are achieved through comprehensive, integrated mental health and addiction treatment. Completing a treatment program that does not address the root causes and symptoms of both your substance use disorder and your mental health symptoms often leads to difficulties during recovery and an increased potential for relapse. 


If you or a loved one struggles with a mental health condition and a substance use disorder, seeking dual diagnosis treatment is crucial to ensure your best opportunity for attaining sobriety and ongoing recovery. Although all addiction treatment centers strive to provide comprehensive addiction treatment services, not all programs are equipped to address the unique nature of dual diagnosis conditions. Therefore, it is critical to choose a program like Rise in Malibu, where our highly trained professional staff understand the specialized nature of dual diagnosis treatment. Our treatment team will work with you to design an individualized treatment plan that addresses the root causes of your addiction and helps you learn more about how addiction and mental health struggles are intertwined. Through traditional, evidence-based therapies and various alternative treatment models, you will have the opportunity to learn and practice new, healthy coping strategies to help you manage triggers and challenging situations as you progress on your sobriety journey. If you are ready to break free of the bonds of addiction and start a new path, free of drugs and alcohol, reach out to the admissions team at Rise in Malibu today. Let our caring and compassionate providers help you learn more about dual diagnosis treatment in Malibu.


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