What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

“Dual diagnosis” describes when two or more mental illnesses are co-occurring, or affecting a single patient at the same time. A dual diagnosis can take many distinct forms, in large part because there so many possible combinations of mental disorders. One patient may be suffering alcohol addiction combined with anxiety while another individual may be struggling with a drug addiction and depression.

Even worse, dual diagnosis cases are fairly common among people who suffer from addiction. Some studies indicate that more than half of those suffering from drug addiction may also have a dual diagnosis. Likewise, almost 40% of alcoholics are expected to have diagnosable mental disorder. Treating dual diagnosis is much more difficult than treating addiction alone, so the prevalence of co-occurring disorders represents a major challenge for mental health providers.

Some mental illnesses that are commonly present in dual diagnosis patients include:

Which Mental Health Conditions Lead to Addiction More Than Others?

Another study reports that  30% of Americans who have a diagnosable mental health condition are also struggling with drug or alcohol abuse.

Patients with depression are at an especially high risk of developing a substance abuse problem. In fact, individuals with diagnosable depression are twice as likely to develop a drug or alcohol addiction as someone who does not suffer from the disease.

Personality disorders, such as antisocial and borderline personality disorder, also have a high correlation with addiction. Approximately 30% of personality disorder patients are suspected to also suffer from a substance abuse disorder.

Anxiety disorders are actually the most common group of disorders among U.S. adults, but they rank behind depression and personality disorders with regard to dual diagnosis cases. Individuals diagnosed with an anxiety disorder do have an increased risk for substance abuse, however.

Dual Diagnosis Is Difficult to Treat, But Possible

Dual diagnosis is difficult to treat for a few reasons. One of the reasons is that when treating addiction, it can be difficult to get to the root cause of the symptoms being shown. For an inexperienced caregiver, signs of depression could be mistakenly attributed to somebody’s addiction. When, in reality, the person has legitimate depression, and they have become addicted as a way of coping with their illness. A medical professional with experience in treating dual diagnosis is essential to uncovering the underlying problem.

Not all alcohol and drug rehab facilities are qualified to diagnose and treat dual diagnosis. When someone is treated for addiction without being treated for their mental health condition, problems typically occur, such as:

  • Very quick relapse after addiction treatment,
  • High chance of leaving the treatment program early, or
  • Inability to integrate with others seeking help for their addictions.

Maryland Recovery’s Solution: Therapeutic and Holistic Dual Diagnosis Rehabilitation

At Maryland Recovery, we’re confident we have the right team and programs in place to help people recover from both addiction and co-occurring disorders. We offer Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient services in the beautiful, quiet town of Bel Air, Maryland.

In our highly customized programs, patients are treated to highly effective counseling and holistic therapy services. This usually means activities such as group and individual counseling, meditation, yoga, ear acupuncture and more, but it all depends on the patient’s individualized recovery plan.

At Maryland Recovery, dual diagnosis patients generally receive extra counseling and holistic services than an addiction-only patient. Our focus is on rewiring the brain of a dual diagnosis patient so that he or she better comes to terms with past issues and learns how to manage stress without having to resort to substance use. Our psychiatrists and holistic instructors are vigilant when it comes to helping rebuild the strength of a patient’s mind, body and spirit.

If you want your best shot at putting substance abuse behind you for good while learning how to mitigate and manage your co-occurring disorder symptoms, Maryland Recovery has the team and resources to make that wish become reality.