3 MIN READ | Clinical Psychology

Dennis Relojo-Howell

Treating Addiction and Mental Health Issues Through Dual Diagnosis Rehab

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Dennis Relojo-Howell, (2019, January 2). Treating Addiction and Mental Health Issues Through Dual Diagnosis Rehab. Psychreg on Clinical Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/dual-diagnosis-rehab/
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It is not uncommon for drug or alcohol dependency and mental health issues to affect someone simultaneously. Dual diagnosis rehab is often considered one of the best methods for treating a patient who is suffering from these kinds of co-occurring disorders.

According to a 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7.9 million people in the US experience both a mental health issue and substance use disorder simultaneously. More than half are men.

The link between addiction and mental health

Someone suffering from substance abuse is likely to develop a disorder such as anxiety or depressionDrugs and alcohol can transform the very nature of your body. When someone uses an addictive substance, they typically experience altered emotional states. These changes can lead to mental health issues. Addiction typically affects a user’s interactions in their everyday lives. In order to continue their drug or alcohol use, a person with addiction often resorts to activities such as lying or stealing. Changes in behaviour and impacted personal relationships can contribute to a poor psychological state.

This connection between addiction and mental health issues can also go the other way. Mental health issues can lead to a reliance on a substance when a patient uses drugs or alcohol to cope with their mental health issues.

Someone suffering from depression, for instance, might look for a substance that causes feelings of elation. Similarly, someone dealing with anxiety might turn to something that will make them feel calmer.

What’s a dual diagnosis rehab?

Because there is such a complex relationship between mental health issues and addiction, it is important for someone to seek the appropriate treatment for dual diagnosis.

Dual diagnosis rehab works by concurrently treating a patient’s substance abuse and mental health issues. Facilities typically utilise an inpatient setting and employ professionals who are equipped to properly treat these conditions.

Benefits of dual diagnosis rehab

Medications are sometimes necessary for someone with a mental health issue to live a normal life. Dual diagnosis treatment centres, however, also recognise that any kind of medication can serve as a trigger for a person with addiction. Staff members understand this complicated balance and work to ensure that their patients’ medications are appropriately managed.

Dual diagnosis counsellors also work to develop holistic recovery solutions. They take into account both substance abuse and mental health issues, determine how they affect each other, and come up with the best course of action.

In these facilities, patients will also will learn about symptoms. During their treatment, patients will be taught how to differentiate between symptoms that stem from their addiction against their mental health issues. After identifying the cause of their symptoms, they will be able to respond in a healthy and productive way.

What services are provided?

Each facility has its own programme, but some of the common services provided include:

  • An initial assessment that will collect your health information, lay out potential costs, and develop a treatment plan
  • For more severe cases, medically-assisted detoxes that help patients deal with withdrawal symptoms
  • Therapies that will help target the root causes of issues, identify the relationship between them, and develop healthier behaviours
  • Discharge planning that ensures patients have the resources they need to stay sober

Other factors to consider

It is important for a person with addiction to select a facility that is certified and has experience dealing with their specific conditions. They will also want to learn about their policies and determine if it is a place where they will feel welcome and comfortable. Dual diagnosis centres are often expensive but can be at least partially covered by many insurance plans. If not treated effectively, however, drug or alcohol abuse and mental health issues can lead to much higher costs down the line.

At the end of the day, the path to sobriety and a more stable mental state can become more within reach, with the right treatment and care. If you or a loved one are suffering from substance dependence and mental health issues, then a dual diagnosis treatment may be the solution.


Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. 

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