How to Avoid Relapse When You Suffer From Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is the difficult condition of suffering not only from a substance abuse issue, but also struggling with a mental health issue. Whether it is anxiety, depression, bipolar or other issues, it can be difficult to get control of the mental illness while also battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Rehab treatment facilities can help.

Generally, when admitted to a treatment facility for dual diagnosis, both conditions will be addressed and treated simultaneously. That means, in addition to going through withdrawal and treating the addiction, there is also a psychiatric health assessment that must take place. Based on the psychiatric assessment and diagnosis, dual diagnosis treatment may then consist of medication, if necessary, to treat the mental health issue. There will also be an education component to help the person understand the mental health condition.

The treatment will also consist of counseling, which will help the person understand the mental health illness, their addiction, and identify strategies to keep from relapsing once they leave the rehab treatment facility. The counseling portion of the treatment will also help the patient understand the consequences of the addiction and the effects it has had on the person’s life.

The treatment for dual diagnosis will be an individual plan for each patient. It will completely depend on the mental health issue, as well as the type and length of the addiction. It will be specific to the person and the conditions from which they suffer. Many rehab facilities will also include a focus on health and nutrition through this process, encouraging healthy eating habits and exercise in an effort to help avoid relapsing in the future.

A large part of the treatment for dual diagnosis will focus on aftercare and on preventing relapse. Unfortunately, the relapse rates can be high for those suffering from dual diagnosis. It is difficult enough for an alcoholic to stay sober, or for someone to stay on the right path when dealing with a mental health issue…never mind trying to do both at the same time.

That is why most treatment facilities for those with dual diagnosis will also include aftercare. It is important for people to know they are supported even after they leave rehab. Leaving the treatment facility can be scary. When those with dual diagnosis feel scared or anxious, it could see them turn back to their old life and habits. That is why it is so important to include an aftercare plan that will provide solid support.

Whether or not the aftercare plan includes continued counseling, ongoing attendance at meetings or working closely with a sponsor, it is a necessity to have one in place in order to avoid relapse. Dual diagnosis does not have to define a life. With a lot of work, education, and willpower, people are able to overcome these challenges.