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Why Integrated Treatment Approaches Work Best for Dual Diagnosis Sufferers

The combined effects of addiction and mental illness make dual diagnosis conditions some of the most difficult to treat. Dual diagnosis sufferers not only contend with persistent drug cravings, but must also deal with distressing emotional states that further aggravate drug-using urges. For these reasons, finding the right type of treatment becomes all the more important to ensuring a successful recovery outcome.

Rehab treatment options for dual diagnosis are many; however, the two conditions that contribute to the condition must be treated together as one in order to ensure ongoing success in recovery. Ultimately, a person’s individual treatment needs should dictate the types of treatment options considered.

Dual Diagnosis Conditions

Psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety and personality disorders, develop out of chemical imbalances in the brain. Whereas drug and alcohol abuse practices actually create brain chemical imbalances, addiction problems develop out of these imbalances.

In effect, both addiction and mental illness operate as two separate brain diseases that become enmeshed to the point where symptoms of one aggravates the symptoms of the other, according to University of Utah Health Sciences.

Rehab Treatment Options

Rehab treatment options for dual diagnosis conditions run the gamut in terms of treatment intensity levels, types of approaches and overall objectives. Treatment intensity levels range from highly structured residential programs to outpatient care. Types of approaches used include medication therapies, motivational psychotherapies and support group work. For the most part, program type determines the overall treatment objective in terms of the types of issues or challenges addressed at each stage of treatment.

Considering the challenges dual diagnosis sufferers face in recovery, treatment durations tend to run for years as opposed to months. While this may seem extensive, the risk of relapse and resumed drug use runs exceedingly high at all stages of treatment so the importance of staying engaged in the treatment process cannot be overestimated.

Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Integrated Treatment Approaches

A psychiatrist will be a part of your integrated treatment team.

According to Case Western Reserve University, finding a program that uses an integrated treatment approach as well as one that addresses your individual treatment needs is essential to a successful recovery outcome. An integrated program will treat addiction and mental illness together rather than as separate conditions.

This type of approach can better manage the various symptoms that characterize dual diagnosis conditions. In order to do this, integrated treatment programs assign treatment teams to address each person’s needs. Treatment teams typically consist of:

  • Physician
  • Psychiatrist
  • Nurse
  • Nutritionist
  • Therapist
  • Drug Counselor
  • Case Worker

Whether a person decides on residential or outpatient care, programs that use an integrated treatment approach will assign a team of clinicians to his or her case.

Considerations

While maintaining continued abstinence from drug use remains a primary goal in dual diagnosis treatment, this can only be achieved when symptoms of mental illness are well managed. Otherwise, the sense of discouragement and frustration that comes with multiple failed attempts at abstinence only works to make a person’s situation worse.

If you or someone you know struggles with a dual diagnosis condition, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-481-6320 to speak with one of our addictions specialists.

Recognizing Dual Diagnosis – How Anxiety Disorders Increase Chances of Addiction

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