Dual Diagnosis Treatment

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Dual Diagnosis and the PCI Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program

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What is dual diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis, also commonly called co-occurring disorders, is a term used to describe when someone is struggling with two different diagnoses happening at the same. Most commonly, someone who receives a dual diagnosis has a substance use disorder and a mental health issue.

Dual diagnosis can be related to many mental illnesses and addictions. Whether the mental illness or addiction presents itself first, these two diagnoses are often diagnosed together. It is important to note that misuse of substances, especially addictive substances, often worsens mental illness over time. People with mild to severe mental conditions have difficulty coping, so they turn to drugs and other addictive substances to manage the problem and numb the pain. This is how they become addicted to these substances, which starts a horrible cycle of using addictive substances like alcohol or drugs to manage and cope with the mounting stress and difficulty.

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Who should get treatment?

It is of the utmost importance to seek out treatment for dual diagnosis if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness of some kind along with a substance use disorder (alcohol or drug addiction). You must receive treatment for both issues, not just one of them.

If you have been previously diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness and some sort of substance use disorder, then treatment for dual diagnosis is the way to go for you. In addition, to ensure that you should be seeking treatment, you can take the following measures:

  • Speak with your primary physician about it
  • Speak with a licensed mental health professional
  • Speak with us here at PCI
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treatment center for dual diagnosis

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How would you or a loved one find a treatment center for dual diagnosis?

Every individual is different when it comes to mental illness and addiction. No two mental illnesses are alike, just like no two addictions are alike. Even if two people have the same mental illness or addiction, they present it in vastly different ways. For this reason, treatment for dual diagnosis is not the same for everybody and is individualized for each patient and their specific history, condition, and psychiatric needs. Each treatment center, including us at PCI, takes consideration and the utmost care when working with individuals to meet their personalized treatment needs to ensure the best possible recovery.

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What should you expect during the dual diagnosis treatment process itself?

When you arrive for care at your treatment center of choice, you will be surrounded by licensed professionals and knowledgeable staff who have your best interests in mind at all times. They all desire to assist you in transitioning from alcohol or drug addiction to sober living and healthier life.

Regarding the length of treatment, every individual is different, and every individual's needs will be different. The most common treatment for someone just starting out with getting treated is residential treatment. This is especially common if the diagnoses are more severe, and, commonly, the individual's treatment would have to be more prolonged. The individual would need to be monitored around the clock, meaning they would need to reside at the treatment center for an extended period. This type of treatment is called residential treatment. Here at PCI, we can connect you to a trusted network of facilities that have established a good track record of treatment. This is extremely common, especially for substance use disorders co-occurring with some sort of mental illness, as these two diagnoses often go hand-in-hand.

Usually, detoxification for the substance use disorder would begin first, as this helps the individual to become more clear-headed. After the detox process is over, we can start the primary care portion of the process for the mental illness side of the dual diagnosis.

While treating the individual for their dual diagnosis, it is also fairly common to participate in support groups, such as Alcohol Anonymous (AA), Al-Anon, and SMART recovery meetings. This is a fantastic opportunity to interact with other people who may share a similar story as them. This also helps them feel less alone when going through this process.

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dual process

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Are there any potential risks associated with this type of care?

The benefits of this type of treatment far outweigh the risks of treatment. In fact, it is riskier to go untreated, both for the individual and their family and the general public, especially if the presenting symptoms are more severe.

The risks for the individual if it goes untreated are:

  • Obvious health-related risks—the addictive substance of choice (especially alcohol and hard-core drugs) can take a severe toll on the individual's internal organs, including the kidneys, liver, and especially the brain. This includes the kidneys and liver shutting down and just not working anymore. The lungs would eventually become blocked and/or have a lot of "gunk" building up, causing the individual to have more difficulty breathing (this is more common in chain-smoking and heavy smokers).
  • If the substance and/or alcohol abuse persists even more, then the brain can eventually start shutting down, as well.

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Additional benefits of dual diagnosis treatment program.

However, when the individual gets treatment for their dual diagnosis, they get:

  • the support of licensed professionals and staff who have their best interests in mind.
  • Even though the detox process for alcohol and drug abuse disorders may be challenging to get through, you are supervised by licensed medical professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the entire duration of treatment.
  • You also get to participate in support groups during your stay at the residential treatment facility.
  • It is a highly safe place to be when going through this process.
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completing a dual diagnosis program

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What are some key concepts to keep in mind when completing post-treatment care and relapse prevention planning after successfully completing a dual diagnosis program?

Relapse is prevalent for those recovering from an addiction, especially a dual diagnosis that includes drug and/or alcohol addiction. It is not expected for the individual in recovery to be 100% perfect in the process. In the case of a relapse, there are a few steps to take.

  1. The first step would be to discuss it with someone who you trust, such as a family member or friend or a sponsor, and then get to an AA, NA, etc. meeting, preferably one that is happening sooner rather than later (the sooner you get to a meeting, the better). The highest chance of relapse is likely to occur within the first 90 days (first three months) after treatment completion.
  2. Next step would be to go back into treatment, even for a shorter period. You will not necessarily need to be in therapy for an extended time for a relapse (unless the relapse was severe enough to warrant going back into a residential treatment program for an extended period).

The sooner you get help in recovery, the better it will be for you and your overall health and well-being. It is also essential to have people around you who will support you in your recovery journey. It is a lifelong journey with many peaks and valleys. It is often a difficult journey, but it is worth it if you want to overcome your addiction and get a better handle on your mental illness and erase the stigma of mental illness. If you're going to take the first step in getting treatment, give us a call at PCI at 1 (747) 222-7464.

We look forward to working with you in your recovery journey!

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