Having a mental illness or addiction is one of the hardest battles a person can fight. But having both at once seems impossible to overcome. Thankfully, it’s not.
It’s what we call a dual diagnosis and it’s more common than you may think. Over 1 in 4 adults who have a mental health disorder also suffer with a substance abuse problem.
More importantly, a dual diagnosis is treatable. But it is challenging—both for the patient and the medical staff.
Treatment for one condition the patient has may affect the other. A way must (and will) be found to treat both of these extremely difficult conditions at the same time. Plus, each case of dual diagnosis is as unique as the individual seeking treatment. Being an addiction resource center, Long Island Recovery Center does not provide dual diagnosis treatment. If you are looking for top-notch dual diagnosis treatment, our certified sister facilities have expert addiction doctors, qualified therapists, and experienced nurses to tackle all aspects of addiction.
But, as you’ll see from the guide below, there is hope for those seeking dual diagnosis treatment in Long Island. Read on to learn all you need to know about dual diagnosis rehab.
What is Dual Diagnosis?
A dual diagnosis is when a patient suffering from a mental health disorder has also developed a substance abuse problem. This is also known as co-occurring disorders.
The most challenging part of a dual diagnosis is that there are so many different ways they can happen. For example, one dual diagnosis could be social anxiety plus alcoholism, while another could be depression plus heroin abuse. With endless combinations of possible co-occurring disorders, each one is a unique challenge the doctor has never faced before.
Furthermore, a treatment for one condition may worsen the other. Doctors must be extra careful when treating both the patients conditions.
How do Dual Diagnoses Develop?
It usually starts as a single mental health disorder/addiction that then leads to the addition of another. For example, an alcoholic who’s ashamed of his addiction may become chronically depressed because of it. Then, the depression leads to more self-medication with alcohol.
Or, the individual might be chronically depressed first and then develop the drinking problem to self-medicate. Either way, you can see how both disorders reinforce each other. This adds to the challenge of treating a dual diagnosis.
Are Dual Diagnoses Common?
Yes, dual diagnoses are quite common. 7.9 million adults in America suffer from a dual diagnosis. More than half of them (4.1 million) are men.
And that means that medical professionals have been treating millions of dual diagnosis cases for many years. So, although each one of these cases is still a unique challenge for doctors and medical staff, there is at least years of data and resources for them to work off of.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment is Personalized
There’s another plus side to having a unique condition. Because it’s unique, it requires special attention.
There’s no generic, textbook cure. There’s only attentive, personalized care—the very best.
Dual diagnosis patients receive more attention and a more carefully crafted/monitored treatment plan than those with less complex problems.
Both Conditions Are Treated Together
Due to the nature of a dual diagnosis, both conditions must be treated together. The reason is because, most often, both disorders feed off of each other.
We mentioned already how one’s alcoholism can contribute to depression. So, if you treat the alcoholism but not the underlying depression, the patient is more likely to return to drinking to self-medicate.
If one of the conditions goes untreated, it essentially derails any attempt to treat the other. The only solution is to treat both at once. This integrated approach also means that patients are typically treated for both disorders under one roof.
Treating Conditions Separately Is Ineffective or Worse
Not only do the conditions of a dual diagnosis affect each other, but the treatment of each will affect the other also. Sometimes, treating one condition can affect the other in a negative way.
For example, a medication for a mental health disorder might be very bad for someone who is addicted to certain substances. This is another reason why the doctor must treat both problems—the whole problem—and not only part of the problem. Of course, the doctor can only treat both conditions if he is aware of them.
Dual Diagnosis Misdiagnosis
For the above reasons, it’s extremely important that the doctor knows all the details of a patient’s co-occurring disorders in order to treat them. Unfortunately, it happens all too often that the doctor is in the dark about one of the patient’s disorders.
The biggest reason is that the patient is reluctant to disclose the information. It is, after all, very personal. While the patient may be comfortable telling the doctor about his social anxiety, he may not be comfortable speaking about his heroin addiction.
Then, the doctor will provide ineffective treatment, not knowing it should be adjusted for a co-occurring disorder.
Other times, the patient is unaware of the second condition. They may realize they have a drinking problem. But they may not realize that they have depression.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Works Like a Mediator
As you can see, an important part of dual diagnosis treatment is the doctor seeing the whole picture. He crafts a treatment plan that’s appropriate for both conditions and how they affect each other.
Also, part of the treatment is helping the patient see things this way, too. If the patient can learn to see the way these two conditions feed off of each other, it can help them stop the cycle. Then, they can fight both disorders more effectively.
This takes education and training with a therapist. CBT and other psychotherapy techniques might be employed.
Patients Are Legally Allowed Time Off For Dual Diagnosis Treatment
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to give employees time off for medical/family issues. Both mental health disorders and addiction treatment are included under this act.
Individuals are entitled to 12 workweeks of medical leave (unpaid) for each 12-month period. You cannot be fired for seeking dual diagnosis treatment. Family intervention for a loved one receiving dual diagnosis treatment is also covered by the FMLA.LA as well.
Do You Need Dual Diagnosis Rehab in Long Island?
Do you or a loved one need dual diagnosis treatment? Please don’t wait to get help.
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