Did you know that addiction can have surprising underlying causes?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as many as 40% of people struggling with addiction ALSO have a mental health disorder (and that only includes those who have been diagnosed, and been done so properly).
A combination of a mental disorder or underlying trauma alongside addiction means you or your loved one struggling with addiction has a “co-occurring disorder.” Someone in this situation needs to treat and manage their co-occurring disorder in order to recover from their addiction as well.
In order to do this, an addiction treatment center needs licensed clinicians on staff, and meet high standards for a dual diagnosis program.
Sometimes, addiction is the result of trying to cope with symptoms of mental illness, or an attempt to drown out past trauma. Since most rehabs do not have trained or properly licensed clinicians who can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication for those underlying co-occurring disorders, many people will relapse again and again. They don’t have the tools they need to cope with the real problem at hand, their mental illness.
So, when someone finally gets into a program that treats the co-occurring disorder too, they often describe it as a breath of fresh air, and the program finally begins to work. When dual diagnosis treatment is added to evidence-based care, lasting recovery can be achieved for those with underlying mental illnesses and past traumas.
Now that you know that dual diagnosis might be the missing piece for successful recovery for yourself or a loved one, how do you know what to look for in the right program?
A lot of people pour over the Internet, trying to find the best dual diagnosis treatment centers, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
Many factors go into a top program dealing with mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, or PTSD, and how they factor into substance abuse.
And it’s critically important to know which ones are quality treatment centers, because unfortunately, some centers say they have dual diagnosis, but can’t fully put dual diagnosis treatment into practice.
Mental health issues can predate the first signs of addiction by a handful of years, so it doesn’t come as a shock to know that most people who have begun to abuse drugs are also trying to cope with a mental health struggle. That’s basically why addiction treatment centers need to diagnose mental health and addiction together.
If a rehab focuses ONLY on addiction, which, if we’re being honest, most of them do, then they cannot treat the root causes of addiction – the mental health struggles that caused people to use in the first place, whether those causes have been diagnosed yet or not.
If You or a Loved One Needs Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment, Call Promises Behavioral Health Today: (855) 529-2506
Why Do We Need Dual Diagnosis So Badly?
Even if you have heard of co-occurring disorders or known how common mental illness is in the addiction recovery community, dual diagnosis is more common than you would think.
The majority of the time, people fighting an addiction had mental or emotional struggles driving them to find an escape or a coping method, and that is why they turn to drugs and alcohol.
Most people do not become addicted because they just felt like partying or doing drugs for fun. They become addicted because they are stressed and need to cope.
This might not sound right to some, given the party-drug narrative that many of grew up with, but the research confirms it.
Dual diagnosis can apply to any number of mental conditions. For example, someone who already had anxiety, then experienced trauma and developed PTSD, then became addicted to alcohol to cope, needs dual diagnosis treatment.
Any combination is covered. The name dual diagnosis itself is a little misleading, because it can cover more than two conditions at once, as well as the addiction, like in our example above.
Below are some of the most common disorders that co-occur alongside addiction:
- Bipolar Disorder
When many men and women who are struggling with addiction come to get treatment at a dual diagnosis center for the first time, they are usually surprised to find out that they had a mental health condition for years that simply had not been diagnosed yet.
How Does Mental Health Play Into Addiction as a Whole?
Because there is a stigma attached to mental illness, many people who suspect they are affected will not seek treatment or a formal diagnosis.
Then there is additional stigma attached to addiction, which may be part of the reason that, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only an estimated 11% of Americans with substance abuse problems seek treatment each year.
This makes it tricky to pinpoint exact numbers when it comes to mental health, let alone mental health AND addiction.
In 2014 alone, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) recorded 7.9 million adults experiencing co-occurring disorders. And this number is based only on formally diagnosed individuals.
Because of the stigma mentioned above, lack of access to care, and other factors, those numbers are likely even higher, when you account for those who have not sought treatment and therefore not been diagnosed.
It’s unfortunate that stigma makes it seem like addiction and mental illness are taboo subjects to be swept under the rug, but the reality of the matter is that addiction and mental illness are not uncommon, and you and your loved ones are not alone.
For Compassionate Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment, Call Promises Behavioral Health Today: (855) 529-2506
Why Do We Have to Treat the Co-Occurring Disorder Along With the Addiction?
The importance of discovering a dual diagnosis while in treatment cannot be stressed enough. Mental illnesses are difficult to live with and manage, especially when we don’t even know that we have them.
Not knowing how to manage symptoms and the stresses attached to mental disorders drives many people to use and, even after the first time in rehab, can contribute to how many times someone relapses.
People with a substance abuse disorder might not be able to control their addiction if they do not understand why they turn to drugs to begin with.
Finding a real root cause for substance abuse in treatment will help people with mental illnesses understand how to stay clean and prevent them from wanting to use again in the future, by giving them the tools they needed all along to manage their mental condition.
When we give people a diagnosis beyond just their addiction, Promises Behavioral Health can then take action to help the addiction AND the mental condition that has been dragging our client down.
Mental illnesses can be treated and managed through therapy, learning coping techniques, and medication where required. When it goes untreated, more problems with addiction are bound to come up along the road, and become stumbling blocks in the path to recovery.
How Do I Know If A Center Is Really Dual Diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis hasn’t been the norm, but recently, many treatment centers have been advertising about it.
But just because a center mentions it on their website does not necessarily mean that they have the ability to fully treat the complete range of mental illnesses alongside addiction.
Recognizing a dual diagnosis is one thing, but treating it is completely different. Because two different conditions are interacting, it can be challenging to know which condition has caused which symptoms.
Only Master’s Level, clinically trained therapists can make that determination. And once they have, prescriptions may be required, which can only be written by the properly licensed doctors.
If a center does not have Master’s Level clinician on staff, full time, that is a warning sign that they cannot put dual diagnosis treatment into practice.
Some centers operate using addiction treatment counselors, who don’t have the same level of education and licenses as Master’s Level clinicians. Places like these, while well-meaning, are not equipped to help you or your loved one if dual diagnosis is an issue.
Dual diagnosis centers also generally have a more holistic approach to addiction treatment, from the moment patients arrive, to keeping family involved, to a range of behavioral therapies teaching important life skills, and putting DETAILED aftercare plans into place when clients are ready to leave.
Some items to look out for in a QUALITY dual diagnosis treatment center are:
- Master’s Level or higher clinical staff
- Someone on site with the ability to prescribe medication
- Individual therapy sessions (not just group activities)
- Detailed after care plans, complete with recommended coping skills, and a new therapist to continue treatment for your mental illness with
- Evidence-based treatment (ask about cognitive behavioral therapy, individualized treatment plans, and alternative addiction treatment programming)
For a Center that Meets All of These Criteria, Call Promises Behavioral Health Today: (855) 529-2506
Where Do We Go From Here If Someone Has a Dual Diagnosis?
For yourself, if you recognize that you are addicted, the first thing to do is team up with a loved one for support if possible, and find a treatment center.
If you know your addiction also falls under dual diagnosis, then follow the steps above to makes sure you weed out any programs that aren’t clinically appropriate for your needs.
For a loved one, it may help to ask them if they think they have been struggling with a root cause of their addiction. Treat the subject with the utmost of compassion, and let them know that the societal stigma of mental illness does not matter to you.
If they have tried rehab before, and it hasn’t worked, ask them about dual diagnosis. Ask them if they were offered one-on-one sessions with a therapist who fully checked them out for any underlying mental illnesses.
And then call Promises Behavioral Health and see if your loved one is a good fit for one of our many centers: (855) 529-2506
Do You or a Loved One Need Help with Addiction and a Co-Occurring Disorder?
Recovering from a drug dependency is hard enough when your mind and body are fighting against what you know is best for you, and adding a mental disorder and the stresses that come with that into the mix can be incredibly daunting.
It is so important not to be overwhelmed or intimidated though. Now you know how to find a center that will help with BOTH problems, and untangle the ways that they affect each other.
A lot of centers cannot do that. Even if you have been to rehab in the past, and it didn’t work, rest assured that we will get an individualized plan to figure out the root problem in place and take the best possible care of you or your loved one.
Promises Behavioral Health has 11 locations in 6 states, and every single one of them offers dual diagnosis treatment, with individualized treatment plans.