When we go to the doctor, we expect a clear diagnosis as to what is wrong. Unfortunately, a specific diagnosis isn’t easy when dealing with mental health issues.
Many mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, can be convoluted by substance abuse. This makes it difficult to diagnose specific problems. If a person suffering from depression is using drugs, it may be hard, for instance, to tell if they have bipolar disorder or are just experiencing symptoms of drug abuse.
When a person has mental health issues combined with substance abuse problems, both of these problems must be treated at the same time, since both of these issues are connected. The best treatment comes from a multidisciplinary team of experts who specialize in co-occurring disorders.
But a patient must first receive a correct diagnosis, which may take some time.
Treatment time is longer
Treating co-occurring disorders is often a slow process. The patient often has complicated negative behaviors that need to be resolved. Therefore, treatment must be expected to take longer than a normal substance abuse treatment.
The patient may be irritated or aggravated at how slow they seem to be progressing through their treatment. This in turn may cause them to lose the desire to either remain sober or continue with the treatment.
Medication is normally needed to lessen the mental health symptoms. This helps the patient to be more stable mentally, thus enabling them to concentrate on their substance abuse therapy. The patient and their family are made aware of the importance of rigid observance of taking medication.
Danger of setbacks
Having a setback or relapse happens frequently among recovering addicts. For those suffering from co-occurring disorders, the chance of relapse is even greater. Typically, the patient starts feeling better and comes to a decision that they no longer need their medication. When they stop their medication, their mental health symptoms come back. With the recurrence of symptoms, they return to their substance of choice in an attempt to self-medicate.
Since the chance of relapse is so high for persons with co-occurring disorders, they need continuing care after their treatment is complete. They should continue their medication and see their doctor or psychiatrist on a regular basis. Receiving outpatient treatment, ongoing therapy, or attending 12-step meetings is to their advantage.
Dual Diagnosis therapies
Everyone is different and responds uniquely to different types of treatment. However, Sovereign Health of California has an unparalleled record of success in the treatment of dual diagnosis. They offer a variety of therapies, including expressive art therapy, life skills training, spirituality groups, trauma resolution groups and many others. Each of their treatment options includes the 12 steps program.
Patients need to be well informed about mental health and substance abuse and Sovereign Health of California emphasizes that. Each patient has regular meetings with therapists who are experts in mental health and addiction. Patients also meet regularly with the psychiatrist who oversees their treatment.
Sovereign Health of California prides itself on its team approach, where the clinical director, psychiatrists, therapists and other staff members discuss patients’ progress weekly. Patients benefit from having professionals who evaluate and work with them from differing viewpoints.
Another benefit of Sovereign Health of California is that they remain involved with the patients after they leave the facility. Patients can return for weekly and monthly alumni meetings. Also, they can choose to visit the center and share their recovery story with the current patients. Since patients at Sovereign Health of California form strong bonds and relationships with their therapists, they are more inclined to pursue follow-up care or to return if they suffer a relapse.
Looking forward to a normal life
Even though treating dual diagnosis is a difficult process, recovery is attainable. By working through an integrated treatment program, patients suffering from co-occurring disorders can learn how their addictions and mental health problems correlate with each other. When a patient begins living a healthy, sober lifestyle, they have a greater ability to address the underlying issues that are affecting them. They can learn how to cope with their symptoms and how to maintain a normal lifestyle.
The most important thing for people suffering from dual diagnosis to remember is that their diagnosis does not define who they are. Life can definitely be improved.