What Does Dual-Diagnosis Mean?

Written by Jackie Calkins

Dual-Diagnosis is a term used to describe individuals who suffer from both mental health issues as well as substance abuse. It’s a growing issue in the United States, and one that requires specialized treatment.

The complexity of Dual-Diagnosis requires more than just treating the symptoms of addiction. In order for individuals to have successful recovery, it’s important for them to be diagnosed and treated for any underlying psychological conditions as well.

In this blog post, we will explore what Dual-Diagnosis means and why it is so important to seek proper treatment for those suffering from both mental health issues and substance abuse.

Dual-Diagnosis Defined

When we talk about dual-diagnosis, we’re referring to a condition where an individual has both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse problem. It’s important to note that dual-diagnosis is different from having co-occurring disorders, which is when someone has more than one mental health diagnosis.

With dual-diagnosis, the individual’s mental health disorder and substance abuse problem are intertwined and feed off of each other. This can make treatment complicated, as traditional approaches to treating either disorder on its own may not be effective. For example, someone with depression may self-medicate with alcohol in an attempt to numb their symptoms, but this will only serve to worsen the depression.

It’s estimated that around 7 million Americans suffer from dual-diagnosis, and it’s a population that is often underserved by the healthcare system. That’s because many clinicians are not trained to deal with both disorders at once, and so the patient may end up bouncing between different providers with no real plan for treatment.

If you or someone you know is struggling with dual-diagnosis, it’s important to find a provider who is experienced in treating this population, like our facility here at Journey Pure River. With the right treatment plan, it is possible to manage both disorders and live a healthy, happy life.

The Signs of Dual-Diagnosis And Treatment

Psychiatrist making session - journeypureriver.com

While it’s not always easy to tell if someone is struggling with a dual-diagnosis, there are some common signs to look out for:

  • Unusual behavior changes
  • Increased secrecy or isolation
  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Difficulty functioning at work or school
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns

Generally, a doctor or psychologist must assess a patient before making a definitive diagnosis, and to the untrained eye the symptoms can be difficult to spot.

If you’re concerned that someone you know may be struggling with a dual-diagnosis, the best thing to do is to encourage them to seek professional help. A trained mental health professional will be able to properly assess the situation and provide the necessary treatment.

There are several types of dual-diagnosis programs available to individuals struggling with both mental illness and substance abuse. One of the most common types of program is an inpatient treatment program, or residential treatment, which provides 24-hour care and supervision in a hospital or treatment center setting. Other types of programs include outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient treatment programs.

Residential Treatment Programs: Residential treatment programs are the most intensive type of dual-diagnosis program, as they provide around-the-clock care and supervision in a hospital or treatment center setting. This level of care is necessary for individuals who are struggling with severe mental illness and addiction, as they require close monitoring and support. Inpatient programs typically last for at least 30 days, though some may be shorter or longer depending on the individual’s needs.

Partial Hospitalization Programs: Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) provide a middle ground between inpatient and outpatient programs, as they offer more intensive care than outpatient programs but allow individuals to live at home or more likely in a sober living situation. PHPs typically meet for 4-6 hours per day, several days per week. This type of program is best for individuals who need more care than an outpatient program

Outpatient Treatment Programs: Outpatient treatment programs provide less intensive care than inpatient programs, as individuals are able to live at home or a sober living situation while receiving treatment. Outpatient programs typically meet for 3-5 hours per day, several days per week. This type of program is best for individuals who have a stable living situation and do not require 24-hour supervision.

How To Find A Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Center

Not all treatment centers are created equal, and if you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health disorder and substance abuse, it’s important to seek out a dual-diagnosis treatment center. These specialized facilities provide care for both conditions simultaneously, allowing for a more holistic and effective approach to recovery.

When searching for a dual-diagnosis treatment center, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. First, make sure the facility is accredited and licensed by the state in which it operates. This ensures that the staff is qualified to provide high-quality care.

It’s also important to find a treatment center that offers evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy has been proven to be an effective treatment for both mental health disorders and substance abuse.

Finally, make sure the treatment center you choose has experience treating patients with your specific condition. For example, if you’re struggling with depression, look for a facility that specializes in this type of care. This will ensure that you receive the most appropriate and effective treatment possible.

The Perfect Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Center For You

In conclusion, dual-diagnosis is a term used to describe the presence of two or more mental health disorders in an individual. It’s important to note that those with dual diagnosis require specialized treatment and support, as they cannot be managed effectively with traditional interventions alone.

If you suspect that someone may have a dual-diagnosis, it’s always best to seek help from a qualified professional who can provide comprehensive assessment and treatment for both conditions, like us here at Journey Pure River. If you think you might need this kind of treatment, or substance or mental health treatment in general, please give us a call at (615) 410-9260 so we can discuss treatment options.