What to Look for in a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center?

The reality for most clients is that the substance abuse challenges came along with, or as a result of, other pressing problems. Mental health disorders have long been associated with a variety of impulsive behaviors such as compulsive gambling, excessive indulgences, and substance abuse.

Despite the relationship between these two conditions being common knowledge, little has been done until recently regarding developing a treatment program that could acknowledge and treat both conditions simultaneously. Finally, the importance of identifying a dual diagnosis and recognizing the need for a treatment plan that encompassed both have been established. Since dual diagnosis treatment centers are now an option, and for many people the best option, this article will discuss what to look for in such a facility.

What Does a Dual Diagnosis Facility Treat?

Most dual diagnosis treatment centers aim to address both the mental health concerns and substance abuse history and challenges with their clients. Different treatment centers will, of course, offer different approaches towards healing the entire person. Generally speaking, there are two standard approaches in a dual diagnosis facility.

The holistic approach integrates a treatment plan that impacts the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects that make up a person. Since each of these components were impacted by either mental health or substance abuse challenges, it is important to uncover and treat each individual area. The holistic approach is successful because people are impacted by the reciprocal conditions of both mental health and substance abuse. In some cases, it is possible to say that one causes the other. Discovering which is the cause and which is the effect is sometimes the goal of holistic based therapy sessions.

Another approach to dual diagnosis treatment centers is to treat each condition independently without exploring or expecting a cause and effect relationship. This approach is useful in a number of different scenarios. For example, a client may present with mental health challenges but not admit to substance abuse tendencies. Alternatively, an individual who wants to overcome a substance abuse challenge may not realize that they are being driven by an underlying mental health condition. As either one of these new situations becomes apparent during the treatment process, it may be advisable to update an individual treatment plan to include the new development and move forward with another approach.

Finding The Right Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center

If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for a dual diagnosis, choosing a treatment facility is a process that requires some thought and a little planning. During the research phase, it is important to ask some relevant questions about the treatment program in general and more specific questions about treatment options for a specific diagnosis. Some questions to keep in mind are outlined below:

1. Is this treatment program proven or experimental?
2. Is there a priority treatment plan?
3. Will core issues of substance abuse be addressed?
4. Will mental health and trauma history be addressed?
5. What ongoing supports are in place during treatment?

Each of these items should be addressed in detail either in an orientation or when the treatment plan is recommended. However, it is important to have an idea up front about what options are likely to be suggested and to have an understanding of how the treatment program is designed.

Breaking the cycle of substance abuse as a response to unpleasant behaviors or memories is one of the goals of a dual diagnosis treatment center. Successfully treating both conditions requires finesse and commitment on behalf of the client and the facility. Both parties have rights and responsibilities in the process and if they are not fulfilled, the treatment plan may not be fully effective.

What to Expect During Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The recovery process will be unique for every client. Dual diagnosis treatment is not more or less difficult than any other treatment plan. However, it is a little different and should be approached with clarity and a positive attitude. Keeping the end result in mind helps most people stay focused during the process of recovery.

Essentially, this particular treatment program requires working on two major life hurdles at the same time. Although they are different in nature, they are interrelated and both are likely to cause internal emotional and mental turmoil. Many patients discover that they were utilizing various substances as a way to avoid or numb the pain they felt from a history of abuse or trauma. Present day anxiety, depression, or self-doubt may trigger an unexpected reaction and result in the desire to revert to unhealthy patterns of behavior.

Recovery Through Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Avoiding temptation or refusing to backslide into damaging territory is not merely a mental process. Clients who want to be successful in recovery cannot simply think their way into sobriety. If that were the case, they would already be clean and would not need to continue toward recovery in a treatment center. The case of a mental health co-occurring disorder complicates substance abuse treatment to a certain degree. Some mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety cause clients to believe they are healed when the feel better for a day or two.

A comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment plan will address realistic expectations with clients and their loved ones. These treatment centers will also be transparent about their recovery methods and stress the importance of client participation in the process. The dual diagnosis approach is overwhelmingly successful when clients and staff work together toward recovery.

When the right dual diagnosis treatment center is selected and the recovery process is taken seriously, the chances of success are exponential. The more you put in, the more you will obtain from the treatment program. This road to recovery is not a race to be won, but rather a path to be forged.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder that has resulted in a substance abuse problem, or vice versa, you should know that you are not alone. Recovery is definitely possible. If you are ready to change your life for the better, contact St. John’s Recovery Place today. An admissions counselor will help you get on the right path as soon as possible.

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