The current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, identifies substance abuse disorders as a category of mental illness. And 9.2 million Americans with a substance use disorder have a co-occurring mental illness. That means that treatment needs to address all aspects of their psychological disorders. The benefits of dual diagnosis treatment lead to a sustained recovery.
What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
A dual diagnosis means that you meet the DSM-5 criteria for a substance use disorder and another mental health disorder. This is not uncommon among people seeking addiction treatment.
The reason that substance use disorder often accompanies other mental illnesses, or vice versa, is different for everyone. There is overlap in risk factors for both, such as early childhood trauma and genetics. Addiction interferes with your body’s neurotransmitters and can contribute to mental health disorders. People with existing psychological illnesses may also use medication to self-medicate, developing an addiction in the process.
By all means, someone with a substance use disorder should receive treatment for that diagnosis on their path to sobriety. If they struggle with another mental health disorder, they should also receive treatment for it. Dual diagnosis treatment targets symptoms and sources of both conditions.
We help people with addictions and substance use disorders recover. Get mindfulness training and learn the 12 Steps for deeper healing.
5 Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Research shows that addiction treatment programs with strong dual diagnosis orientation are more effective than those that don’t address multiple disorders. In one study, more participants who went to a dual diagnosis treatment program reported freedom from psychiatric symptoms a year later than participants who only received treatment for addiction. Moreover, they were more likely to have jobs and continue touching base with health professionals to support their recovery.
There are numerous reasons that dual diagnosis treatment is effective in helping you sustain sobriety. The benefits of dual diagnosis treatment go beyond getting and staying clean.
1. Understand Yourself Better
By the time you seek substance abuse treatment, you might feel as though the addiction is controlling you. During detox, it feels like everything has to do with the chemicals. While you might feel physical relief after you’ve gone through withdrawal, your mental anguish may linger. Now that the drugs are out of your system, you are more receptive to peeling off the layers and learning about yourself.
One of the benefits of dual diagnosis treatment is that it helps you understand the root of your addiction. You’ll learn how certain emotions lead to cravings. By developing coping skills for managing symptoms of your co-occurring mental health disorder, you can manage symptoms of your substance use disorder. Uncovering the reasons that you may have begun using drugs can also guide you toward a stronger awareness of yourself.
2. Plan for Your Triggers
Your triggers for substance abuse likely have a lot to do with your other psychiatric diagnoses. Someone with ADHD may use substances due to the impulsivity that accompanies that disorder. An individual with bipolar disorder might use sedatives to calm themselves down when they’re feeling a manic period coming on.
As you treat your co-occurring mental illness, you’ll become more aware of the symptoms that trigger your drug use. A program with a robust focus on dual diagnosis treatment will help you learn strategies for managing the source of your triggers.
Understanding your triggers also helps you avoid them. When they come up unexpectedly, you won’t be surprised. You can draw from the resources that you have gained in treatment to handle them better than before.
3. Feel More Supported
Group therapy models are effective for substance abuse treatment. During recovery, you will likely attend support, psychoeducational, skills development or process groups.
The other clients who enroll in dual diagnosis treatment programs with you may be more relatable than individuals who only have a substance abuse disorder. When your peers are struggling with similar issues as you, you may get more out of those sessions.
4. Better Quality of Life
When your cravings have subsided and you can manage the complex symptoms of your mental health disorders, you will feel better in all areas of your life. All psychiatric disorders can impair your physical health. With dual diagnosis treatment, you receive holistic care that addresses your nutrition, sleep quality and exercise habits to rebuild your physical wellness.
Other parts of your life will improve as well. You’ll establish healthier relationships. Your financial wellness will improve. Dual diagnosis treatment helps you access ongoing motivation and manage your emotions so that you feel better even when things get stressful.
5. Continue With Treatment
If you address your dual diagnosis, you’ll experience better results and more relief from your symptoms than if you ignore your concurrent mental illness. Just like taking drugs sways your reward pathways to want to use again, seeing positive outcomes from your deep inner work motivates you to continue pursuing treatment.
Although substance use disorder can’t be cured, it can be managed. You’re more likely to stay sober if you receive continual guidance and support throughout your journey. Recovery is a long-term journey that is bolstered by holistic mental health care.
What Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Look Like?
Mental health professionals who work in a dual diagnosis treatment program are experienced with the various psychiatric disorders that are recognized by the DSM-5. They also look at the whole person when co-creating treatment plans with clients.
Some of the ways that we address co-occurring disorders at Renewal Lodge include:
• Mindfulness in Recovery
• Family program
• Emotional intelligence skills training
• Aftercare and discharge planning
The modalities that we use to treat mental health, substance abuse and behavioral health challenges are incorporated into every session. We might work on cognitive behavioral therapy to reframe destructive thinking patterns or practice deep breathing. Our evidence-based therapy methods aim to provide solutions for the root of your challenges. It’s our goal to help you stay sober by providing you with comprehensive care while you’re here and setting you up with a dual diagnosis treatment plan for the future.