With the right professional help, individuals living with a dual diagnosis can take steps toward achieving optimal physical and mental health. Depending on the specifics of the case, treatment may include medications to manage mental health conditions, individual and group therapy sessions, family counseling, lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise programs, and recreational activities.
At 449 Recovery in Mission Viejo, California, our dual diagnosis treatment center offers a comprehensive approach to addressing both mental health and substance use issues. This type of treatment involves identifying and treating both disorders simultaneously, as well as providing substance abuse treatment and resources for long-term recovery.
Dual diagnosis treatment refers to a therapeutic approach that treats people who are suffering from both substance abuse problems and mental health issues. Substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions often go hand in hand. These conditions may even trigger the other. For example, substance abuse can exacerbate mental health issues or even trigger the onset of a mental disorder.
At a dual diagnosis treatment center, the focus is not just on treating addiction, but also on addressing the underlying mental health condition. This approach often involves a combination of therapies, including medical detoxification, individual counseling, group therapy, medication management, and aftercare planning.
Dual diagnosis treatment can be complex because it has to address two different, but closely related, conditions. However, it’s particularly effective in helping individuals to recover fully and prevent relapse.
Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnoses, refer to the simultaneous presence of a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. Here are some common combinations:
- Depression and Alcoholism: People with depression may turn to alcohol to ease their symptoms, but chronic drinking can also lead to depression.
- Anxiety Disorders and Benzodiazepine Abuse: Benzodiazepines are often prescribed for anxiety disorders, but misuse can lead to addiction.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Opioid Abuse: Individuals with PTSD may use opioids to numb their emotional pain, leading to dependence and addiction.
- Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse: People with bipolar disorder have high rates of substance abuse, possibly as a way to self-medicate their mood symptoms.
- Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse: Individuals with schizophrenia are much more likely to have a substance use disorder than the general population, particularly with nicotine and alcohol.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Substance Abuse: Stimulant medications used to treat ADHD can be misused, leading to addiction.
- Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse: People with eating disorders may misuse drugs or alcohol as a way to control their weight or cope with body image issues.
- Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Abuse: Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder often have problems with substance misuse.
These are just a few examples of co-occurring disorders. It’s important to note that having a mental health condition doesn’t guarantee that an individual will develop a substance use disorder, and vice versa. If you suspect you or someone you know has a co-occurring disorder, it’s crucial to seek help from a healthcare professional. They can provide a proper diagnosis and guide you toward the appropriate treatment options.
Dual diagnosis can be dangerous if the underlying mental health disorder is not treated along with the addiction. Without proper treatment, individuals may experience an increase in their symptoms and may be at greater risk for relapse or self-harm. Additionally, without comprehensive care that addresses both aspects of dual diagnosis, individuals may struggle to maintain long-term sobriety or mental health wellness.
Thus, it is important for individuals who are facing a dual diagnosis to seek out mental health treatment in Mission Viejo that incorporates strategies to address both aspects of the disorder. By doing so, individuals have an increased likelihood of achieving long-term sobriety and improved management of their mental health disorder.
Co-occurring disorders in California are more prevalent than some may let on. Some statistics include the following:
- According to a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an estimated 5.3 million adults age 18 and over (22.3%) in California live with mental health disorders.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2019 survey found that nearly 1 in 4 adults (23.3%) age 18+ reported having a mental illness or substance use disorder in the past year, and an estimated 5.4 million Californians were found to have dual diagnosis during the same period.
- The California Health Care Foundation’s 2017 survey revealed that more than half (54%) of adults age 18+ with mental health care needs reported not receiving any type of treatment, while an additional 39% only received medication.
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness experienced in California, affecting an estimated 3 million adults aged 18 and over (12.5%). Recognizing the widespread impact of these conditions, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of anxiety treatment as a core component of mental health services.
- An estimated 1.3 million Californians age 65 and over have Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, representing 1 in 10 of all people in this age group.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2017 survey found that close to 4 million adults (15%) in California had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
The challenges of dual diagnosis treatment are multifaceted and require a comprehensive approach to effectively address both the substance use disorder and mental health disorder. One of the main challenges is that many individuals with co-occurring disorders may not be adequately diagnosed, making it difficult for them to receive appropriate care. Other potential barriers can include the following:
- Lack of insurance coverage
- Limited access to specialized treatment programs
- The stigma associated with mental health and substance use disorders
- Difficulty remaining engaged in treatment over the long term.
In addition to this, some individuals may lack insight into their mental health disorder or be reluctant to seek help due to fear of judgment or negative consequences. Providers must create an environment that is both supportive and treatment-oriented to develop an individualized dual diagnosis treatment plan. This includes understanding and addressing the root causes of substance use, symptoms of both disorders and any associated risks or triggers.
The goal of dual diagnosis treatment is to provide individuals with the tools they need to manage their mental health issues and substance use in a healthy, productive way. Providers individualize treatment plans based on an assessment of the person’s needs and goals, as well as any co-occurring mental health disorders.
Treatment may include counseling, medication management for both mental health conditions and substance use, case management to connect clients with resources in their communities, and other interventions to promote self-sufficiency.
- Improved Quality of Life: Dual diagnosis treatment allows individuals to manage both their mental health issues and addiction symptoms simultaneously, leading to a better overall quality of life.
- Effective Treatment: Having two diagnoses allows treatment to occur faster and be more effective for many people. It also aids in creating a comprehensive plan for treatment services.
- Better Health Outcomes: Integrating both screening and treatment for mental and substance use disorders leads to improved care quality and health outcomes.
- Treatment of More Severe Cases: Studies have found that dual diagnosis capable programs can admit and treat patients of more significant severity.
- Lasting Sobriety: A dual diagnosis program can help individuals achieve lasting sobriety by treating both their substance use disorder and mental disorder simultaneously.
- Personalized Medication Management: Mental health professionals involved in dual diagnosis treatment can provide medications that work for people who are dealing with both addiction and specific mental disorders.
Dual diagnosis treatment is an effective way of treating those suffering from both mental health and substance use disorders. This approach combines both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction, allowing for comprehensive treatment plans that address each issue separately, as well as how they interact with one another. It typically involves medications, psychotherapy, support groups, and lifestyle modifications designed to improve an individual’s overall well-being.
Dual diagnosis treatment is a comprehensive, integrated approach to treating people who have both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. It involves a combination of therapies, medication management, support groups, and other tools. Here’s what dual diagnosis treatment might look like at different levels of care:
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
Partial hospitalization programs are intensive outpatient therapies where patients spend several hours a day in treatment but live at home or in a sober living environment. PHPs generally provide services five days a week for several hours each day. These programs often include:
- Group Therapy: This is typically the primary method of treatment in PHPs. Patients share their experiences and learn from others in similar situations.
- Individual Therapy: One-on-one sessions with a therapist help patients explore their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors related to their dual diagnosis.
- Family Therapy: Involving family members can be crucial in the recovery process.
- Medication Management: Medications might help manage symptoms of mental health disorders or cravings for substances.
- Support Groups: These can provide peer support and shared experiences.
Inpatient treatment provides 24/7 medical and clinical care. It’s an intensive form of treatment for those with severe dual diagnoses. Inpatient treatment may involve:
- Medical Detox: The first step often involves detoxing from the substance under medical supervision.
- Individual Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other forms of therapy may be used.
- Group Therapy: Like in PHP, group therapy is a crucial part of inpatient treatment.
- Medication Management: Medication can be essential in managing withdrawal symptoms and psychiatric symptoms.
- Support Groups: These provide a community of individuals who understand the struggles of living with a dual diagnosis.
Regardless of the level of care, dual diagnosis treatment also often involves:
- Holistic Therapies: These can include yoga, meditation, art therapy, music therapy, and more. They aim to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms of their disorders.
- Life Skills Training: This can include things like stress management, communication skills, and healthy lifestyle choices.
- Relapse Prevention Planning: Learning how to identify and manage triggers can help prevent relapse after treatment.
Remember that the best course of treatment depends on the individual’s unique needs and circumstances. It’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate level of care and treatment plan.
When it comes to treatment, addressing both disorders is essential for long-term recovery and wellness. With a dual diagnosis approach, individuals have the opportunity to receive comprehensive care from multiple specialists who focus on treating both substance use disorders and mental health disorders simultaneously. This approach increases the likelihood of sustained sobriety and improves overall mental health.
Additionally, individuals enrolled in dual diagnosis programs are encouraged to engage in activities that promote physical and emotional well-being, such as yoga or mindfulness practice, journaling, and art therapy.
If you are concerned that you may have a substance use disorder and/or mental illness, it is important to speak with a mental health professional. A trained healthcare provider can assess your symptoms and determine if there is any overlap between them or if they exist independently.
To identify dual diagnosis, the healthcare provider will ask questions about your medical history, current mental health status, and any substance abuse you may be engaged in. Additionally, the healthcare provider will discuss your family history and any other relevant information to help determine a dual diagnosis.
If it is determined that you have co-occurring disorders, your healthcare provider can provide treatment options such as medications, individual counseling sessions, support groups, and/or Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Treatment for co-occurring disorders will vary depending on the individual’s specific needs. The goal of treatment is to help manage both disorders so that you can function better in everyday life. With proper treatment and support, you can take control of your mental health and lead a productive life.
Dr. Warren Taff MD, graduated from the University of Birmingham, England School of Medicine, with a BA from Rutgers University. He then went on to UCLA School of Public Health in Los Angeles Health and Human Services and received an MPH. He also attended an internship in internal medicine, with the Veterans Administration. Dr. Taff’s residency includes General Psychiatry at USC, with elective residencies at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia, and Royal College of Psychiatry. Board certifications include American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Taff has extensive experience in both psychiatry and addiction medicine, extending from 1979 to present. He has held professional titles that include Chief of Staff and Medical Directorship in both hospitals and private sectors.