Dual diagnosis for addiction is a treatment method that simultaneously addresses substance use and a mental health disorder. Treating these co-occurring disorders together provides patients with a better chance of fully recovering and avoiding relapse. Historically, medical professionals and rehab centers focused their attention sequentially. This meant treating addiction by itself before attempting to address a mental health disorder. Contact BoardPrep Recovery Center® at 866.796.4720 to learn about how we can support you or a loved one with mental health and addiction.
Sequential and Parallel Treatment
Sequential treatment was the norm for decades. The driving theory behind this method is that addictions and mental health disorders require different treatment. By stabilizing one aspect of a patient’s life, doctors hoped they could address the co-occurring disorder more efficiently. Unfortunately, this method did not achieve the desired results regarding supporting patients to addiction-free lifestyles and avoiding relapses.
A growing understanding of the interplay between addiction and mental health led to the development of concurrent treatment. This method recognized the need to address mental health and addiction at the same time.
However, these treatments remained uncoordinated. One provider handled the addiction side of things while someone else led the mental health treatment. This lack of coordination and cohesiveness continued to result in lesser outcomes.
Most Common Co-Occurring Disorders
Any mental health disorder can co-occur with addiction. Mental health and addiction experienced together often create a vicious cycle. Each disorder negatively compounds the other. Some of the most common mental health disorders experienced at the same time as addiction are:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Bipolar disorder
Self-medication is one of the most common paths to being diagnosed with co-occurring disorders. Someone may start out dealing with just a mental health disorder. Then, they begin using substances as a way to alleviate their mental health issues. While this self-medication may offer temporary relief, it is also shown at times to result in an addiction.
The Importance of Dual Diagnosis
Many modern rehab centers still use sequential and parallel treatments despite their poor results. One problem that remains in some areas of the medical field is the view that a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, is sufficient for addiction treatment. While support groups are an integral component of addiction recovery, they are not enough alone.
Dual diagnosis for addiction recovery is also commonly referred to as an integrated approach. This method provides patients with mental health and addiction treatment at the same time from the same provider. Dual diagnosis for addiction generally involves the following elements:
Other considerations that emphasize the importance of dual diagnosis treatment are the unique experiences of men and women when it comes to mental health and addiction. For instance, men experience substance abuse at higher rates than women, making co-occurring disorders more likely in men. At the same time, women are diagnosed with anxiety and depression at higher rates than men, putting them at greater risk of developing a substance abuse disorder. In either scenario, co-occurring disorders result in a dual diagnosis approach being the surest pathway toward full recovery.
Seek Treatment at BoardPrep Recovery Center®
BoardPrep Recovery Center® offers dual diagnosis for addiction recovery that is more than just rehab. We help you build coping skills and a relapse prevention action plan to set you on a path to long-term recovery. Our specialized care supports your healing from mental issues and addiction simultaneously. Through these distinct treatment options, we help you break the vicious cycle.