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Dual Diagnosis Treatment


When mental health issues are found along with a substance abuse problem, the term “dual diagnosis” is used. Dual diagnosis treatment in Oregon addresses the mental health condition along with the addiction problem. These programs provide more intensive assessment and evaluation to ensure that patients receive the appropriate treatment that will allow them to take full advantage of the therapy that will help them restore their lives after addiction.


What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is a term used in addiction treatment to refer to care provided for patients who have mental health issues along with a substance abuse problem. A large number of addiction patients have some type of mental health problem and often do not know it. They use the drug of choice to manage their symptoms. Sorting out the psychiatric problem from the addiction problem is done through careful assessment and evaluation. After appropriate treatment has been found, patients can more easily engage in the addiction therapies that will help them rebuild their lives.


Mental Health and Addiction

Addiction counselors and specialists noticed that a high percentage of their patients exhibited symptoms of mental health conditions that may have contributed to the need to rely on substances for relief. Patients often used specific types of substances to “self-treat” their symptoms. In addition, the cycle of addiction can initiate anxiety and depression, which only serves to make the problem worse. The need to sort out these patients problems triggered the development of “dual diagnosis programs” to handle their unique needs.


Types of Mental Health Problems

  • Anxiety and addiction – Patients with anxiety often use opiate medications to depress their anxiety so that they can function normally.
  • Depression and addiction – People with depression often use alcohol or stimulants to lift their mood and help them function better socially.
  • Eating disorders and addiction – Individuals with eating disorders often use stimulants to reduce their appetite so that they can lose weight.
  • PTSD and addiction – Post traumatic stress disorder can cause individuals to use alcohol to reduce their feelings of isolation or opiates to help them sleep.
  • OCD and addiction – Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder often use opiate to reduce the severity of their repetitive behaviors.

Statistics for Mental Health and Addiction

The National Alliance for Mental Illness states that one-third of individuals with mental illness also have a substance abuse problem. About half of those with severe mental health conditions will also develop a substance abuse problem. These figures indicate that addiction treatment patients should be routinely evaluated for mental health problems to ensure they get the care they need.


Treatments for Mental Health Conditions

  • Psychopharmacology – Today, a wide range of medications are available to treat mental health conditions. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and anti-convulsant medications can help to manage emotions and behavior so that patients are able to remain drug or alcohol-free.
  • Psychotherapy – In some cases, psychotherapy is needed to help patients understand their symptoms and manage their behavior more effectively.
  • Behavior management – In many cases, patients with mental health issues can benefit from behavior management training that offers practical help for developing strategies that help to manage symptoms in real-life circumstances.


Drug Treatment Centers and Dual Diagnosis Programs

The growing need for dual diagnosis treatment has caused many drug treatment facilities in Oregon to develop programs that help diagnose and treat mental health problems while providing addiction therapy. These programs allow patients to learn to manage psychiatric issues so they are better able to take control of their lives without the crutch of drugs or alcohol. Dual diagnosis treatment programs recognize the complex interplay of addiction and mental health that needs special monitoring and treatment.


Aftercare Services for Dual Diagnosis

Aftercare is an important part of addiction treatment that helps patients prepare for life after a program has ended. This aspect can be particularly important for dual diagnosis patients who need continuing psychiatric care. Referrals to community agencies that can provide mental health treatment, as well as referrals to support groups that specialize in dual diagnosis patients, can be instrumental in providing the help individuals need after addiction therapy.

If you have a mental health condition, along with an addiction problem, call a trained specialist to learn how dual diagnosis treatment can help you.