Dual diagnosis clients are hit with a double whammy when it comes to needing help. On the one hand, they are living with a mental health issue, and on the other, they need treatment for substance abuse issues. It can be difficult to determine whether a person started using drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate and cope with an underlying mental illness or whether drug abuse may have triggered changes in brain chemistry that led to a mental health issue. No matter how the situation developed, trying to lay blame on a loved one who has two serious issues does nothing to deal with the problem and may discourage him or her from getting the specialized dual diagnosis treatment he or she needs.
Both Conditions Require Treatment
Friends and family members may have lost patience with a loved one who has a complicated health situation like a dual diagnosis. More than likely, they have been through many situations involving anger, frustration, shame, embarrassment, guilt, and other strong emotions over months or years. By educating themselves about mental health and addiction, they will understand the situation more clearly and realize the addiction and the mental health issue must be evaluated and treated separately if their loved one is going to get well.
Find the Right Kind of Help for a Dual Diagnosis Client
The best place to get help for a person who is living with a mental illness and an addiction is at a mental health residential treatment facility. Once he or she arrives, the first step will be to undergo detoxification (detox). The staff will need to get the effects of any chemicals of out the way to determine the true nature of the mental health issues that the client is experiencing. Having a proper diagnosis is a crucial part of the process when helping clients who have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder and who are struggling with addiction.
Once the staff understands the nature of the client’s mental health concern, they will be able to devise an individual treatment plan. The addiction is treated concurrently to the mental health issues using a combination of strategies, which may include individual and group counseling, attending 12-step program meetings, and engaging in various recreational activities to encourage healthy, sober living. Dual diagnosis treatment facilities do an excellent job of offering a holistic approach to meeting the needs of their clients to ensure that both aspects of their health concerns are dealt with appropriately.