Having both a substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health condition means you struggle with symptoms of both a mental illness and drug or alcohol addiction simultaneously. Treatment providers often struggle to address dual diagnosis conditions individually because the symptoms of each separate disorder are often significantly intertwined. In other words, mental health symptoms build on addiction symptoms, and addiction symptoms can worsen mental health symptoms.
Previously, mental health and addiction treatment providers believed it was necessary to address mental health conditions and addiction in separate treatment programs at different treatment centers. This treatment process often meant that many people did not receive the comprehensive help they needed to thoroughly address their mental and physical health needs. Additionally, one condition would frequently go untreated or undertreated, leading to symptom relapse and the need for further treatment.
Fortunately, the way mental and medical health professionals address dual diagnosis conditions has changed. Today, the unique needs of dual diagnosis patients are better understood. Although research has yet to provide evidence that shows whether one condition “causes the other,” it is clearly understood that the symptoms one experiences when they struggle with simultaneously occurring conditions can lead to harmful coping mechanisms.
As mentioned before, dual diagnosis conditions generally share similar if not overlapping symptoms, making treating one disease without acknowledging and addressing the other impossible and less than beneficial for the patient. Dual diagnosis treatment helps your treatment team focus on all areas of the problem, thereby providing the most comprehensive opportunities for attaining sobriety and achieving recovery. Comprehensive dual diagnosis programs identify and address particular mental health conditions that may lie at the root of maladaptive and addictive behaviors.
Often, substance use disorders and addiction arise out of using drugs or alcohol (or both) as a means to self-medicate the symptoms experienced with mental health conditions. A dual diagnosis treatment program provides specialized treatment models that can help you learn more about how substances are used to self-medicate while learning safer and healthier ways to reduce the severity and intensity of symptoms.
These newly learned coping strategies can help you throughout treatment and in the months and years that follow. Another significant benefit of the dual diagnosis treatment program is identifying and addressing potential triggers. Triggers include people, places, or events that may impact your behaviors or bring about memories of using or the intense urge to use. During treatment, your therapist will work with you to help you create a plan to address triggers in a safe and healthy way to reduce the chance of relapse.
If you or a loved one struggles with a dual diagnosis condition, the best opportunity to safely and successfully overcome symptoms is choosing treatment at a dual diagnosis treatment center in Utah like Spirit Mountain Recovery. It is important to remember that not all treatment facilities are equipped to manage dual diagnosis treatment needs. Therefore, it is essential to do your research before choosing a treatment program.