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How To Decide If A Dual-Diagnosis Program Is For You

Dual Diagnoses Aren’t New

The term “dual diagnosis” is a relatively (20 years old) new term in the mental health field. It’s used to describe the combination of a mental disorder with an addiction. For example, it’s not uncommon to find a person suffering depression who is hooked on drugs or alcohol.

Varied Disorders Are Involved

A co-occurring diagnosis is difficult to identify and even harder to treat. Many mental and emotional disorders arise from substance abuse. Substance abusers often find themselves suffering mental and emotional disorders, even if they’ve never had them before. The term covers such a wide range of possibilities that health care providers often miss the duality.

Dual Diagnosis By The Numbers

A little over 20 million Americans have a substance ab(use) disorder. Approximately three million Americans are being treated for a dual disorder. Approximately eight million are living with it, not counting the homeless, the non-institutionalized, and the people who have no idea they have it.

Over 50 percent of sufferers receive no treatment for their dual problems. Around three million sufferers work a full-time job while dealing with co-occurring illnesses. Only around 40 percent received treatment for one disorder. Only five percent received treatment for both.

Symptoms Of Dual Disorders Are Not Easy To Treat

Since science hasn’t found specific symptoms of the dual disorder, it does recognize the symptoms of separate substance abuse and mental health conditions. The two conditions feed off of and strengthen each other. Mental health patients are high-risk patients, wide open to substance abuse. Their symptoms have commonalities such as:

>Signs of withdrawal

>Lack of sleep or too much sleep

>Weight loss or gain

>Lack of no personal hygiene

>Unable to keep a job

>Unable to sustain a functional relationship

>They have legal issues

>They have financial issues

>The have out of control mood swings and lack emotional control

The likelihood of a mental disorder leading to a substance abuse disorder stems from the following mental disorders:

>Those with phobias are two percent more likely to develop substance abuse problems

>Those with OCD are three percent more likely to develop substance abuse problems

>Depression and panic disorders? Four percent

>Schizophrenia, ten percent

>Manic, 14 percent

>Antisocial disorder, 15 percent

Dual Disorder Treatment

While most rehab centers are unable to treat dual diagnoses, all are resolved to treat both disorders separately. Centers with a psychiatric treatment center are better equipped to handle both with integrative methods. They take it slow, and they work with the patient at the patient’s pace. Recovery may take months.

The ideal goal is for both patient and treatment provider to understand how each condition affects the other. Then devising a manner of treating both comes next. Not every patient will be treated using the same methods, because each combination of conditions will be different. These are some of the treatment methods:


This is vital to recognizing the causes of the disorders as well as changing mental and behavioral habits. Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT helps patients cope. It also helps them change the ways of thinking and behaviors that led to substance abuse in the first place.


Cleaning the body and brain of the toxic effects of the substances, whether it be drugs or alcohol, is the first goal. Patients have a better chance of recovery if they detox in-house instead of at home. Staff monitors them 24/7 for one week. They may use the substance in steadily decreasing doses in order to wean the patient off the substance. Chemical medications help do the same job.

Chemical Medications

Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, sedatives like Benzodiazepines (act as central nervous system depressants,) and mood stabilizers (for bipolar disorders) not only regulate the mental health disorders. They also cancel the need for drugs or alcohol to obtain the same effect.

Support Houses

Homes in which dual diagnosis patients are surrounded by others like themselves support those sobering up and those trying to stay that way. Independence means a lot to patients in recovery mode, and these homes give them every support they require.

Support Groups

For patients who are out of rehab, these groups provide support in order to remain illness-free. Patients make friends, help each other stay clean, and celebrate each other’s successes. Tips on recovery, doctors or specialists, and other needs are traded as part of that support.

Principles Recovery Center in Davie, FL is a family-oriented rehab center in addition to being a Spanish drug rehab program. If you, a friend, or a family member are in need of dual diagnosis treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about it.

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