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How is Dual Diagnosis Treated?

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Substance abuse typically occurs along with other mental disorders. The co-occurrence of two or more disorders complicates recovery as one can make the other worse. If conditions are not treated together, then recovery is unlikely.  

The most common way to treat a dual diagnosis is to use an integrated intervention approach of treating both illnesses simultaneously. 

The 5 Step Treatment Process

  1. Detoxification clears the body of the drugs and/or alcohol.

  2. Engagement in a highly qualified treatment program (options include inpatient, day treatment, intensive outpatient, and regular outpatient settings).

  3. Medications are used to treat the addiction as well as the mental illness.  Medications are also used to address underlying chemical imbalances.

  4. Psychotherapy teaches coping skills and how to change ineffective thinking patterns.

  5. Self Help & Support Groups provide ongoing support to facilitate long-term success.

It can be difficult to find an alcohol or drug treatment facility to treat both substance use and behavioral health issues. It may also be difficult to find a behavioral health treatment facility that will treat patients who are unable to stay sober. 

It is important to treat both illnesses together since mixing medications with drugs or alcohol can be extremely harmful. It is also less likely that you will benefit from talk therapy if you are under the influence.  

How is Dual Diagnosis Treated

What should I expect from treatment? 

  • The benefit of a facility is that one doctor will treat substance use and other co-occurring conditions.

  • You may need to check into a hospital for supervised withdrawal treatment. 

  • You will attend support groups and treatment programs to help you learn how to cope without using drugs or alcohol and how to develop healthy habits for living a sober life. 

  • You may have Talk Therapy (psychotherapy) to work on identifying and managing faulty thinking patterns. 

  • You may be prescribed medication. Different people have different responses to medication, therefore your doctor may try several medications to find the right one(s) for you. It may not be easy, but be patient and give the medications time to work. 

  • Tell your doctor about any medication side effects you experience. You and your doctor should work together to make decisions about medication.

  • You should take an active role in your recovery. Keep a journal of your feelings, medications, and any drug or alcohol use to help you identify pitfalls and successes. 

At Aquila Recovery, we use an integrated approach to treating both addiction and co-occurring disorders. Contact us to start your road to recovery with Aquila Recovery.

Understanding Dual Diagnosis