Treatment options are better than ever for people with substance use disorders and mental health challenges. Since more people are seeking treatment, counselors and mental health professionals are learning more about how to treat these issues. Dual diagnosis support can be offered in both inpatient and intensive outpatient programs (IOP). People with substance use disorders and mental health issues need help for their challenges. The diagnosis of substance use and mental health issues requires a qualified team of people to handle things and to serve the person in the best way.
Dual Diagnosis Symptoms
A dual diagnosis is challenging for everyone. What happens in treatment offers participants a space to work the substances out of their system and offer them support through the challenges they face with mental health issues. There are different types of mental health issues associated with substance use disorder. The symptoms can vary and are hard to identify specifically, but some of them are similar across the board:
- Uncontrollable cravings and lack of impulse control.
- Severe behavioral changes, not acting like one’s self or engaging in risky activities.
- Displaying radical and uncontrollable behavior under the influence.
- Putting themselves and others in harm’s way.
- Acting erratically, and being hyper-emotional.
- Lack of emotional expression or feelings of emotional numbness.
The most common dual diagnosis disorders, like anxiety, depression, and personality disorders, coincide with substance use disorders because they are hard to live with on their own. Medical and substance use professionals use a screening tool to help determine risk for dual diagnosis and, if necessary, customize a treatment plan that effectively treats both issues concurrently.
People with mental health issues often self-medicate, using substances to deal with the symptoms and often prioritize the “feeling” of temporary relief over their overall health. Alcohol can make voices disappear while other drugs might alleviate depressive thoughts. The effects of self-medicating are short-term, and often the use of substances will increase over time to bring more relief resulting in addiction. This only causes more significant problems down the road as substance use becomes more frequent with the potential to use more potent and dangerous substances. Treatment of mental health issues and substance use disorder is complicated and consists of components that address the person’s specific needs. Both problems involve varying symptoms, with several that may overlap and require unique treatment only available through a treatment facility. There are dual diagnosis facilities that treat these concurrently, and they are the safest way to experience healing from these issues.
Dual diagnosis treatment in an inpatient setting uses the same techniques as outpatient programs. The difference is having the person there all the time receiving treatment and support around the clock. They are not on their own out in the world to deal with challenges that pop up and situations that may drive their desire to use substances early on. Inpatient treatment provides a safe space so residents can focus their energy on recovery. Environment influences human behavior, and for many, an inpatient facility allows the healing to begin with fewer distractions.
Dual diagnosis outpatient treatment is designed for people with manageable co-occurring medical and mental health disorders. This allows the patient to continue working and take care of their family responsibilities while receiving treatment. Outpatient participants can leave the facility once the treatment is over. People with substance use disorders have a higher risk of relapse, but with careful monitoring, this risk can decrease significantly.
Therapy can include anything from one-on-one work to group therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). All therapies are backed by professionals who have years of clinical research and experience behind them to provide the right treatment. Depending on the treatment program, participants may find they respond better to specific therapies. Having a variety of therapies available provides those suffering from dual diagnosis the best chances of success in recovery.
The development of life skills is crucial to success in recovery and includes learning how to handle getting help from others, asking for support, and integrating what was learned into the recovery journey, post-treatment. Group therapies and support groups offer the continued honing of the new skills needed.
If a loved one uses substances to cope with a known mental illness, they should seek dual diagnosis treatment. If they take more substances than necessary, cannot control how much they drink, or loved ones are concerned about their well-being, they likely need help. The goal is to figure out where to find the most supportive space for them and help them find healing in recovery. They may experience anger, frustration, fear, and many other emotions. It helps to let them know they are loved and supported unconditionally. It is helpful to assist them with family counseling, as well, to deal with any enabling and behaviors that have developed within the family system. The person can work through challenges and find hope and healing on the other side of recovery with the help of loved ones.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is an innovative treatment program located on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Ashley provides support for professionals seeking help with addiction. We are able to help people with co-occurring disorders and offer confidential treatment programs to meet your needs. Please reach out to us today at 800-799-4673.