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How Do You Choose a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program?

How Do You Choose a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program?

When a person has a dual diagnosis, it means they suffer from both substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating these co-occurring disorders requires specialized expertise, and not every addiction treatment facility is equipped for such cases. If you or a loved one have a dual diagnosis, choosing the right dual diagnosis treatment program is critical for long-term recovery.

What Is So Complicated About Treating Dual Diagnoses?

A dual diagnosis is more complex than the name suggests. Although co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders are becoming more well-researched and understood, people affected by dual diagnoses are often not properly treated. Oftentimes, health professionals are not sure whether addiction or mental health treatment should take the lead. This creates barriers to proper and comprehensive treatment for both conditions.

The most common dual diagnosis conditions include bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia alongside a substance use disorder. The signs of a dual diagnosis may vary between individuals. They also depend on the type of substance and the severity of the co-occurring conditions.

For the above reasons, it is imperative for people with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders to find highly-trained mental health professionals and recovery experts who work together to design customized treatment plans. It requires interdisciplinary collaboration to diagnose, treat and support a recovering individual with a dual diagnosis. A good treatment facility for dual diagnosis is one where experts cooperate in designing the treatment plan.

What Are the Top Considerations in Choosing a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center?

Apart from having well-trained health experts in both fields work together, a program should offer a long enough treatment stay to fully address the complicated nature of co-occurring issues. The traditional 30 days residential programs may not be effective for someone with a dual diagnosis. Specialized treatment can take up to 90 days of inpatient treatment to stabilize recovering individuals.

Dual diagnosis treatment centers must have state licensing and meet industry standards. They ought to offer a full continuum of care, including a supportive environment, therapy, support groups, continuing education, transitional or sober housing, life skill training, and strong aftercare programs. These programs should all be evidence-based and well-staffed with certified health professionals.

Why Is Customization Key for Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Because people with dual diagnoses may suffer from different mental health disorders, “cookie-cutter” programming cannot meet the needs of complex co-occurring conditions. A good dual diagnosis treatment center should prioritize customization because some methods may work better for some people in recovery than others. Treatment plans for people with dual diagnoses often include a combination of programs, including medically-assisted detoxification, cognitive-behavioral therapy, experiential therapy, family therapy, 12-Step groups, and stress management coaching.

To understand the range of services a treatment center offers, you can consider asking the following questions of a given facility:

  • Will an assessment or evaluation be done by licensed health professionals with experience in dual diagnosis?
  • Are both disorders considered interconnected health issues or separate conditions? 
  • Do you offer customized treatment plans? What factors are considered?
  • Is there structured therapy to treat a dual diagnosis?
  • What relapse prevention plans are in place for people being treated for dual diagnosis?
  • Does the facility offer aftercare programs that support dual diagnosis treatment?

What Happens During Residential Treatment for Dual Diagnosis?

Recovering individuals will receive regular education and coaching about their mental health issues as well as substance addiction. It is important for them to understand how these conditions interact with one another. With coaching, they will develop more self-awareness about how the body reacts to treatment.

There will also be daily therapy sessions mainly addressing the mental health conditions. Recovering individuals usually attend both individual and group therapy sessions. Both forms of counseling serve different purposes. In individual therapies, the therapist will ensure their confidentiality and teach them how to process and manage emotional stress. Group therapy can help people feel heard and be encouraged by people who have similar struggles.

Like other treatment programs, people with dual diagnoses are highly encouraged to connect with a strong recovery community. Surrounded by people with similar experiences, they will not feel isolated. The sense of regained identity and community can motivate them to make further progress. This is especially true if a treatment center is connected with sober living homes, where people can keep up with accountability and support structures while transitioning back to normal daily life.

Some treatment centers offer trauma-informed care to help people whose dual diagnosis is rooted in traumatic experiences. Unlike many traditional treatment approaches that focus only on reducing symptoms, trauma-informed care addresses the root cause of dual diagnosis conditions with careful attention placed on healing trauma and avoiding retraumatization. With this kind of comprehensive care, recovery is within reach.

Are you looking for a treatment facility that treats dual diagnoses? Do you know how to choose the best treatment center for you or a loved one who is struggling with both addiction and mental illnesses? At Laguna Shores Recovery, our staff and therapists believe in personalized, evidence-based treatment plans for dual diagnosis. You will enjoy a tailor-made plan, which will give you the necessary tools to avoid triggers and relapse. Laguna Shores Recovery offers treatment plans such as detox, medication, 12-Step groups, and relationship skills coaching. Our staff will walk alongside you during treatment and help you design a relapse prevention plan for you when you transition to your home environment. We also offer outpatient programs that you can use after finishing residential treatment. Schedule an appointment with us today at Laguna Shores Recovery to begin your journey to sobriety and mental wellness. Call us at (866) 229-9923.