What it Means to Have a Dual Diagnosis

woman visiting doctor for treatment

Unfortunately, mental disorders and addiction go hand in hand. Those with mental or psychiatric disorders are likely to try to curb their intense emotional turmoil with alcohol, going down a path they cannot come back from. Over time, health professionals have identified this trend and have worked to find a suitable way to treat those with both mental disorders and alcohol addiction. This search has led to the implementation of dual diagnosis treatment.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis, a concept first introduced over 20 years ago, is the practice of treating individuals who have both a psychiatric disorder and an addiction. It is the belief that the two ailments go hand in hand, so they should be treated as one larger issue instead of treating them as two independent diagnoses. It is the belief that if one aspect is being treated while the other is being ignored, the risk of relapse gets incrementally higher. 

What Combinations Does Dual Diagnosis Come In?

Dual diagnosis comes in many different combinations and forms. Dual diagnosis can include any mix of mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders or borderline personality disorder with addictions such as drugs, alcohol, sex, or gambling. The large number of possible combinations is what makes dual diagnosis such a  complicated type of treatment. 

What are the Challenges That Comes With Dual Diagnosis?

The main challenge is trying to figure out whether various symptoms are caused by the addiction or the mental disorder. For example, if an alcoholic is also severely depressed, is this clinical depression or merely a side effect of the shame and alienation that can come with alcoholism? That is why a professional needs to thoroughly examine the patient and use dual diagnosis treatment to figure out the best way forward.

What is a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program Like?

Since there are so many different permutations when it comes to dual diagnosis, each individual is treated with a unique treatment plan. However, most dual diagnosis treatment programs will include some of the following:

  • Individual Therapy

Individual therapy allows the patient to work in a safe, one-on-one capacity with an experienced therapist with expertise in mental health and addiction treatment.

  • Integrated Group Therapy

Group therapy provides a platform for sharing and healing with others who are going through similar struggles.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy works to help individuals find a healthier state of mind to avoid potential relapse triggers.

  • Dialectic Behavioral Therapy

Dialectic behavioral therapy tries to push back negative thoughts and destructive actions in patients.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs at Alvarado Parkway Institute

Alvarado Parkway Institute in San Diego offers dual diagnosis treatment for those with mental disorders and addiction issues. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and is looking for help, contact Alvarado Parkway Institute today. Give us a call at (619) 667-6125.