Josh Chandler | March 3, 2017

What to Expect From Addiction and Mental Illness Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Addiction and Mental Illness

Stats show that addiction and mental illness often go hand-in-hand. If you’re considering dual diagnosis treatment, here’s what to expect.

The stats show that addiction and mental illness are often interlinked. As a result, many people have turned to dual diagnosis treatment as a more effective long-term solution.

However, with only 7.4% of individuals receiving treatment for both conditions this leaves a large percentage who may be missing out on the benefits – maybe even including you.

In this short post, we will look at what you can expect from dual diagnosis treatment and how to get on the road to recovery.

What is dual-diagnosis?

Often known as concurring disorders, dual diagnosis is the condition of suffering from both a mental illness and substance addiction at the same time.


No two cases are similar and often one condition leads to the other.

It is common for people who have a mental illness to self-medicate using drugs leading to an addiction. The opposite is also possible where substance abuse leads to mental health illness.

For the most part, it doesn’t matter which came first, what matters now is finding out treatment options and moving forward with them.

Original causes for a drug problem or mental illness can include things  like:

  • Trauma.
  • A recent loss.
  • A medical diagnosis.
  • Stress.
  • Financial problems.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Unresolved conflict.

Often a cycle can develop rather quickly of using drugs to treat emotional/mental issues.

This is often the reason why many drug addicts who successfully go sober can relapse – because they haven’t dealt with the underlying mental and psychological issues or vice versa.

Common treatments for dual diagnosis.

1. Detox.

Usually, the first step is to detox from any addictive substances.

Primarily this is undergone in a detox program or center where an individual can be monitored by medical professionals along every step of the way.

Cutting off a drug that you have been using for a long time is an extremely difficult process, but it is an important first step that acts as a foundation for other treatments.

2. Therapy.

As part of your dual-diagnosis treatment, you may be assigned multiple forms of therapy including:

  • Art therapy – many people are surprised by how helpful they find art to express emotion, and process through situations. It’s also a great new hobby to pick up during the recovery process and beyond.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – a tried and proven method that attempts to retrain negative thought patterns to break out of unhealthy cycles. A lot of addiction is in the mind and CBT helps address this.
  • Counseling – talking with a trained professional to vocalize thoughts, feelings, frustrations and walk through things in your life that you may not have processed is a great way to improve your mental wellbeing.

Individuals with dual diagnosis can find these therapies a very freeing and healing experience, not to mention an important aspect of recovery.

3. Community.

Often being cited as the best treatment, community certainly plays a key role in dual diagnosis treatment.

Community comes in all shapes and forms.

Group sessions are often very helpful for individuals with dual diagnosis to show that they are not alone, hear other people’s stories and even share their own.

This can be extremely encouraging and prove that recovery is possible and there are others striving for it as well.

Family/friends rallying behind someone with dual-diagnosis can make all the difference.

That’s why at our programs we offer ‘Family Weekends‘ where family members can visit their recovering relative for the weekend at our facility and even undergo some family sessions/therapy to support parents, spouses and kids on this journey as well.

4. Medication.

In some cases, medication can be an appropriate part of treatment for dual diagnosis.

Different meds can be prescribed to address both the mental illness and the drug addiction. Tackling both of these issues with medication at the same time can make a huge impact.

A medical professional will prescribe the appropriate types and dosage of medication that is best suited to treat your specific case.

5. Diet, exercise, routine and sleep.

Nailing these basics is often the secret weapon to recovery.

Cleaning up your diet will help balance out hormones and chemicals in your body allowing you to detox from the drugs and is even good for your brain.

Exercise can act as a great release for frustration and restlessness during recovery. Not only will you be training your body to improve your fitness, but you will also be retraining your body to produce endorphins, allowing you to experience a naturally high instead of an artificial one.

Routine can help establish control and healthy, consistent patterns in your life.

All of the above will help you enjoy a great night sleep, the building block of a healthy body and mind.

6. Joining a program.

Implementing all of these treatments would be extremely burdensome and in some cases even dangerous to do on your own.

That’s why we suggest joining a program with professionals who can see to your needs so that you can focus on getting better.

What to expect from dual diagnosis treatment.

It’s no secret that this is going to be a long and difficult process.

There is no magic medication prescribed to ‘cure’ dual diagnosis overnight. That’s why it’s important to expect the following:

  • It will take a lot of effort.
  • It will take time.
  • This will be completely worth it.

As challenging as the process is, it is without a doubt a journey worth taking to get you back on the path to a healthy, happy and satisfying drug-free life.

What’s next?

From here the rest is up to you.

We have shown you what you should expect from dual diagnosis treatment but only you can make the first step towards recovery.

If you would like more information about our services for you or a loved one, be sure to contact us today – it may be the most important phone call you ever make.

Thanks so much for reading this post on ‘what to expect from addiction and mental illness dual diagnosis treatment.’ We hope that you found it helpful and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Addiction,Dual Diagnosis,Mental Health,Recovery,Rehab,Treatment,
Josh Chandler
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