Addiction and mental illness often go hand-in-hand. Treating one and not the other is ineffective. It’s paramount for an addiction treatment center to identify co-occurring disorders and to treat them in tandem with the addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment is a relatively new innovation in the field of addiction recovery. Not until the 1990s, people who were experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder – such as anxiety, depressive episodes or mood swings – were treated separately from those who sought help for drug or alcohol abuse.
What is a Dual Diagnosis?
When a person has a dual diagnosis, it means that they are affected by both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, which is oftentimes the underlying reason why people turn towards substances to mask more deeply rooted issues. This condition can also be referred to as having a co-occurring disorder.
Addiction and mental illness both affect how the brain processes and responds to information. Sometimes addiction occurs first and contributes to mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression, and sometimes people use drugs or alcohol as a way to ease the symptoms of a mental illness.
There is not always a clear answer as to whether one occurred first or caused the other. Integrated dual diagnosis treatment helps individuals to effectively and simultaneously manage their mental health and overcome addiction.
Years of experience and research have shown that to effectively heal, individuals must address substance abuse and mental health issues simultaneously. That is why Northbound offers fully integrated dual diagnosis treatment centers in California(Orange County), Seattle, and St. Louis. Given the complex nature of dual diagnosis, Northbound implements a variety of evidence-based therapies and modalities in the treatment process. These approaches are highly researched and effective in treating addiction and its underlying causes. Responses to different therapeutic approaches vary. Having a large tool box to draw from enhances our ability to meet each client where they are and serve them in a way that will be most impactful and effective as they develop their recovery.
Types of Co-occurring Disorders
There are many different types of co-occurring disorders. Substance abuse can include alcoholism or the compulsive use of illicit or prescription drugs. Mental health disorders may include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, schizophrenia, personality disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or a variety of other conditions. Both conditions occur independently of one another although there can be overlap. One disorder does not necessarily cause the other but can be a contributing factor. The good news is that both conditions are treatable.
Codependency and Alcoholism
Codependency—where two people in a relationship depend on the other for happiness—often becomes an issue for those suffering from an alcohol dependency. Sometimes both people are suffering from alcoholism; sometimes one person is the alcoholic while the other is the enabler.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment – Orange County
Everyone at Northbound’s dual diagnosis treatment Orange Countylocation
recognizes the profound impact that addiction has on a person’s life and those around them. In addition to addiction, many clients are also dealing with mental health issues, whether they realize it or not.
Evidenced-based therapies at Northbound include (but are not limited to) cognitive-behavioral therapy(CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy(DBT), motivational interviewing, experiential therapies, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing(EMDR).
The choice of modality is based on the client’s unique needs, preferences, and predispositions. No one modality has been shown to be universally effective. At Northbound, clinicians take the time to develop a strong rapport with their clients and implement therapeutic techniques best suited to meet that individual’s needs.
To ensure quality treatment is provided, every individual undergoes a biopsychosocial assessment. This assessment clarifies the physical, mental, and social manifestations of addiction and mental health issues in the individual’s life, as well as providing valuable insights into ideal treatment planning and therapeutic approaches.
Gender-specific dual diagnosis treatment programs for men and women are geared toward each person’s unique needs. Men and women are affected differently by co-occurring disorders and are treated in separate settings. In every case, substance use and mental health are addressed at the same time.
It is important that individuals undergoing addiction and mental illness understand the impact that each disorder has on the other, and how this affects their recovery. If only one disorder is treated and the other ignored, it greatly increases the risk of relapse.
Individuals work through the challenges that dual diagnosis can present in all areas of their life. Through individual therapy, process groups, evidence-based modalities, family programs, support groups, and other approaches, individuals are actively engaged and empowered in the recovery process.
In addition to psychiatric care, all individuals undergoing dual diagnosis treatment are assigned both a therapist and a case manager. This comprehensive team works alongside our medical staff and provides individual and small group therapy, addiction counseling, and dual diagnosis education, as well life-skills development coaching and recreational activities aimed at helping the individual foster a truly thriving and sustainable lifestyle of recovery.
What does this look like, in practice? Every individual who enters Northbound undergoes a psychiatric evaluation upon admission and continues to receive psychiatric care as needed throughout treatment. Many are recommended for short-term medication protocols to safely detox their bodies from the substances they have been abusing. Some benefit from longer-term psychotropic medications to help stabilize their mental health symptoms and allow for the deep work of recovery to begin.
Throughout this approach to healing, mental health plays an important role. Evidence-based therapies are used to promote meaningful introspection, positive thinking, and healthier coping mechanisms. Both substance use and mental health disorders are treated simultaneously to provide the most comprehensive and effective dual diagnosis treatment.
Substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders do not have to control your life or the life of someone you love. With effective treatment methods and a full continuum of care, long-term recovery is possible. Therapists, case managers, and other knowledgeable and passionate people at Northbound work with you each step of the way and provide the level of care and support you need to establish a healthier future and achieve your goals.