Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between mental illness, especially undiagnosed mental illness, and substance abuse problems. This connection between mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse is at the heart of the dual diagnosis treatment model.
The dual diagnosis approach to treating a substance abuse problem is built on the fact that drug addiction rarely happens in a vacuum. Rather it is the result of a combination of factors. These factors can include symptoms of mental illness – like paranoia and depression, as well as cravings for drugs or alcohol. By recognizing this connection, the dual diagnosis model seeks to treat both problems simultaneously.
Residential drug rehab treatment centers often use the dual diagnosis model to help their patients get off narcotics and get the help they need to overcome their mental illness challenge at the same time. Instead of treating the drug or alcohol abuse problem on its own, the substance abuse counselors at the rehab facility work hard to treat the underlying mental illness.
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The dual diagnosis treatment model is built on the connection between mental illness and substance abuse. Counselors who are experienced in this method of drug rehab work to help their patients recognize the true source of their drug addiction or alcohol problem. Mental illness is a serious problem, and treating it requires a comprehensive approach involving not only the patient but their friends and family members as well.
The first step in the treatment process is to help the patient recognize the underlying source of their drug or alcohol addiction. By helping them understand what is causing the paranoia, depression or anxiety, the medical staff at the treatment facility can set them on the right course and help them get the help they need once the initial course of treatment is over.
While substance abuse can be connected to just about any type of mental health challenge, men and women who suffer from depression can be at particular risk. This risk rises even higher if the underlying problem with depression has gone undiagnosed and untreated.
When dealing with an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed depression issue, the individual may resort to self-help and try to treat the issue on their own. They may turn to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to make the symptoms better. Over time, however, the problem with drugs or alcohol becomes just as serious as the initial depression. Until the individual gets help with the depression, it can be hard for them to overcome the substance abuse problem that evolved as a result.
Post-traumatic stress disorder has become a big problem in the modern world, in part due to the ongoing wars that have left many veterans struggling to cope. While PTSD responds well to a wide range of prescription medications and counseling services, some people attempt to treat the problem on their own with alcohol or drugs.
At first it may appear that the self-help approach to PTSD treatment is working, but in the long run the cure can be worse than the disease. By focusing on the underlying PTSD while helping the substance abuser get clean, the dual diagnosis treatment model can prove very effective.
Many mental illnesses and emotional challenges go undiagnosed, and if anxiety, depression or PTSD is present it is important that it be properly treated. By focusing on the dual challenges of the substance abuse and the underlying mental illness, experienced counselors can give their patients the tools they need to recover and stay drug free for a lifetime.