The term ‘dual diagnosis’ is, in simple terms, the simultaneous treatment of both addiction and mental illness in the same facility. Such methods have proven very successful in recent years as the patient can experience a focused and direct analysis and treatment of the underlying issues which may be the root cause of their addiction whilst also experiencing a more holistic approach to treatment than traditional rehabilitation centers. Dual diagnosis treatment centers pair psychiatric therapies with medical care and practice to ensure the patient can begin a full and conjunctive recovery from addiction and mental illness.
Although the term may seem particularly specialized, the system of dual diagnosis and treatment is, in fact, a widespread practice, with many drug and alcohol addictions stemming from mental illnesses as common and frequent as depression and anxiety disorders. The link between drug and alcohol abuse and addiction and mental illness has become increasingly apparent in recent medical research, as those suffering from certain mental illnesses (bipolar disorder, anxiety or personality disorder and depression) are more likely get involved with drug and alcohol abuse. There has also been evidence that continued drug and alcohol abuse can lead to an increased risk of developing certain mental illnesses. Thus, the need for dual diagnosis treatment centers has become increasingly apparent.
Difficulties in Dual Diagnosis Treatment
As many dual diagnosis patients experience issues of increased complexity, treatment tends to be a much more intense system of diagnosis and treatment than traditional drug or alcohol rehabilitation. Thus, only limited and specific treatment centers with specially dedicated and trained medical and psychiatric staff are capable of implementing the correct measures and rehabilitation systems to accommodate and address the complexity of dual diagnosis patient treatment.
With such complex and intense rehabilitation, in addition to the inherent difficulties in treating mental illness, there is also the need to complete treatments as and when the patient feels ready and prepared. Slow progress can often lead to increased failure rates as the patient cannot see results as rapidly as they may have expected compared to a more direct drug or alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation.
Successful treatment and recovery depends on creating a network of professional and personal support for the patient and the knowledge and use of psycho-therapeutic medications (such as antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications) that are non-addictive but aid in the continued treatment of the patient’s mental health.