When a person checks into a typical rehab center, the facility will likely do a great job of making sure that person detoxes, goes through withdrawal safely, and learns to live a normal life without substance use. However, if that person were suffering from a co-occurring mental illness, the facility wouldn’t have the staff, knowledge, or the resources to treat the substance use and the mental illness.
This is problematic because there’s a strong two-way correlation between substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, meaning you can’t treat one successfully without treating the other. Dual diagnosis treatment centers, on the other hand, have the skills and expertise to treat mental illness and substance use together and understand safe and effective treatments for both.
What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?
A co-occurring disorder, or dual disorder, is when a mental illness or psychiatric disorder occurs in conjunction with an addiction. The addiction could include alcohol, illegal narcotics, prescription medication, or painkillers. Some of the more common mental illnesses that often appear alongside addiction include:
- Anxiety and panic disorders
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Mental illness and addiction often occur together in this way because addiction can cause mental illness and vice versa. Trauma, emotional issues, and genetics all play a role in substance use, which can lead to certain mental illnesses. However, many people who are suffering from a mental illness will often self-medicate with drugs, and this can cause addiction. A co-occurring treatment center will understand the links between addiction and mental health, and has the expertise and staff to successfully treat them simultaneously.
Addiction Treatment and Psychiatric Care: The Best of Both Worlds
A dual diagnosis treatment center offers all the benefits of a rehab center combined with the knowledge and resources of a mental health facility. While these two types of facilities are most often kept separate, the level of integrated care offered by a dual diagnosis treatment facility is necessary in most addiction cases where there’s also a mental illness at work.
These treatment centers specialize in personalized care that includes medically supervised detox and rehab to treat the physical addiction, counseling with licensed specialists to treat the cause of the addiction, psychological testing to achieve an accurate diagnosis regarding mental illness and a variety of therapies and medications to treat the mental illness.
Many co-occurring treatment centers also offer outpatient aftercare programs that provide ongoing treatment and support after the patient leaves the rehab facility. Along with proper rehab treatment, medication, and therapy, this sets patients on a solid foundation for lifelong recovery and sound mental health.
When substance abuse occurs in conjunction with mental illness, a regular rehab facility or psychiatric care facility won’t provide the comprehensive treatment needed to successfully treat both issues.
A dual diagnosis center, however, has licensed medical and psychiatric staff available for personalized treatment. The staff understands the relationships between mental illness and substance abuse and has the resources and experience required to treat addiction and mental health problems at the same time. When treatment is complete, patients leave sober, with access to ongoing support, and with the tools necessary to continue with successful recovery in the future.