How Dual Diagnosis is Treated

How Dual Diagnosis is Treated

Dual diagnosis is a complicated condition, but treatment can be effective if you receive the right kind of care. Typically, someone with dual diagnosis will undergo talk therapy as well as medication management in order to address both the mental health and addiction issues at the same time.

However, this type of treatment must be carefully customized to each individual person, depending on their unique needs.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is a complex condition that requires professional help to overcome. Treatment may include both talk therapy and medication management, but this type of care must be tailored to fit the individual person’s particular circumstances and needs. With the right treatment plan, however, many people are able to live healthy, happy lives free from addiction.

Before we take a look at treatment options, let’s first look at some common types of dual diagnosis that people deal with. Keep in mind, however, that this is nowhere near an exhaustive list—there are many different types of dual diagnosis.

Common Forms of Dual Diagnosis

For people struggling with depression and substance abuse: Symptoms of depression may include feeling sad or “empty,” losing interest in things one used to enjoy, having difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and experiencing feelings of hopelessness. People with depression may turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate their symptoms, but the underlying issue of depression must be addressed if someone is going to find lasting sobriety.

For people struggling with anxiety and substance abuse: Anxiety disorders can be characterized by excessive worry, a sense of dread, excessive restlessness, panic attacks, difficulty focusing, and symptoms of depression.

When a person has both anxiety and substance abuse issues, it’s called “dual diagnosis” or “co-occurring disorders.” Dual diagnosis is common; the Anxiety and Depression Association reports that 50 percent of people who have an anxiety disorder will also struggle with addiction at some point in their lives and may need help with depression.

Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

There are a number of treatment options available for people with dual diagnosis. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely used and effective treatments for anxiety disorders, and it has been adapted to treat co-occurring substance abuse issues as well. This type of therapy looks at how people’s thoughts and actions influence their behaviors, and how they can modify this process to create more positive outcomes.

Some people may benefit from medication in addition to therapy, especially if they have issues with co-occurring substance abuse as well as mental health conditions. Anti-anxiety medications are common for treating anxiety disorders, while certain types of antidepressants may be useful in addressing mood disorders. Therapy, medication and other strategies work together to provide the best possible treatment for those with dual diagnosis.

Some of the more common therapies used to treat dual diagnosis include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – This form of therapy can be a particularly effective way to treat co-occurring disorders. CBT is focused on helping individuals change their thought patterns and behaviors, with the goal of improving mental health symptoms as well as managing addiction issues.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) – A form of CBT, this therapy is based on the idea that individuals struggling with addiction and mental health issues often have poor coping skills. This therapy seeks to address this issue and help individuals become more emotionally balanced and better equipped to manage stress.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy skills training (DBT-ST) – This form of DBT is focused on helping individuals learn new skills that can be used to help manage stress, cope with negative emotions and resolve problems.
  • Motivational interviewing – This therapy is based on the idea that individuals must choose to engage in treatment for co-occurring disorders themselves, rather than being forced into it. Motivational interviewing helps individuals make that choice.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) – This form of therapy helps individuals acknowledge and accept the presence of negative emotions and thoughts, and then use those feelings to move forward with their lives.

These are just a few of the common forms of dual diagnosis treatment.

If you believe that you or a loved one is dealing with some form of dual diagnosis addiction problem, like if your boyfriend has a drug addiction, reach out to get professional help today.