A dual diagnosis program is a treatment program wherein psychiatric disorders / mental illnesses, which occur concurrently with substance abuse, are treated.
A dual diagnosis program is appropriate for patients who suffer from psychiatric, mental, and emotional disorders. These disorders include, but aren’t limited to depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, compulsive/obsessive disorders, among myriad other mental health issues.
For patient’s who experience the aforementioned conditions, drugs or alcohol are frequently used as medicinal coping mechanisms to ameliorate the emotional pain, discomfort, and distress caused by these issues. Unfortunately, as a result of the self-medicating, or in many cases prescribed medicating, the patient becomes addicted to prescribed or controlled drugs and/or the alcohol that they use to medicate with, which presents entirely new issues that must be addressed and resolved, most commonly through the services of a dual diagnosis program.
The primary treatment components of a quality dual diagnosis program include individual therapy, small group therapy, psych-educational therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and a multitude of other therapeutic modalities, as they are appropriate for the each, individual circumstance.
Dual diagnoses are very complex and present significant challenges to treat. Treatment in a dual diagnosis program must be completed in a comprehensive manner, which addresses the mental health issues, while concurrently addressing and resolving the substance abuse issues, in order to ensure the best chances of success. Unfortunately, the recidivism rate of dual diagnosis patients who seek treatment in a traditional substance abuse treatment program is extremely high, due to the failure to address the underlying mental health issues that so often drive the addictive behavior.