Addiction Therapy
What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

An individual who is struggling with a dual diagnosis disorder is suffering from a mental health condition and substance abuse simultaneously. Dual diagnosis disorders are very common. In fact, around half of the men and women who suffer from a mental disorder will also struggle with substance abuse at least once during their lives, and vice versa. The two conditions exacerbate one another and symptoms will continue to worsen unless both conditions are treated concurrently.

It can be difficult to determine which condition preceded the other. It is believed that there are three main reasons why dual diagnosis disorders occur:

  • Mental health disorders can contribute to the development of substance abuse disorders – Individuals who are suffering from the symptoms of undiagnosed and untreated mental health disorders often turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of self-medication, hoping to alleviate the symptoms however temporarily. While substance use may work in providing short-term relief, chemical substances will always make symptoms of mental disorders worse in the long-run.
  • Substance abuse can severely compromise mental health – Certain chemical substances will change the way the brain functions by altering its chemistry. In some cases prolonged substance abuse can lead to psychological disorders like depression, anxiety or schizophrenia. The interpersonal consequences that go hand-in-hand with addiction also lead to the development of certain mental health conditions, namely depression.
  • When it comes to these two conditions, there are often very similar risk factors at play – For example, those that undergo trauma early on in life are liable to develop post-traumatic stress disorder and a substance abuse disorder. Some other common risk factors include genetics (both mental disorders and addiction are hereditary), extreme stress levels and environmental factors.

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Immersion Recovery Center has a detailed and effective dual diagnosis treatment program, geared towards men and women of all ages who suffer from a co-occurring addictive disorder and mental health condition.

The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Individuals who present symptoms of a mental health condition and a substance abuse disorder will require more involved and personalized treatment. When symptoms overlap, more integrated care is necessary in order to ensure that all existing disorders are being effectively tackled. It is absolutely essential that both conditions are treated at one time. If they are not, the symptoms of the disorder that are left untreated will eventually lead an individual back to substance use, or back to disrupted mental health. For example, say someone who is struggling with depression and alcoholism only seeks treatment for the alcohol abuse disorder. Even if treatment is effective short-term, the feelings of intense sadness and lack of motivation will prevent the individual from sticking to a long-term treatment plan. Eventually, the symptoms of depression become too much to bear and the individual will return to drinking. On the other hand, if symptoms of depression are treated and substance abuse is left untreated, excessive drinking will compromise the ability to keep up with treatment (taking medication, attending therapy, etc.) When all aspects of existing underlying disorders are treated in one single facility, the results are far more positive and lasting. There are several commonly utilized approaches to dual diagnosis treatment.

We make it a priority to introduce family members to additional outside resources, so as to ensure that they have constant access to the support and guidance they need. While we hold family therapy sessions once or twice per month, we understand that there are some circumstances that may prevent the family members of our clients from being able to make an in-person session. We offer conference calls and video-chatting sessions, and provide family members who are not in Southern Florida with resources in their immediate area. No matter where you are, we have got you covered.

At Immersion Recovery Center we utilize all of the below-listed approaches:

  • An initial assessment of psychiatric health – Upon admission to Immersion Recovery Center each client undergoes a detailed psychological assessment. This assessment is geared towards determining whether or not dual diagnosis treatment is necessary. If it is deemed necessary, a treatment plan will be developed that includes psychiatric care as well as traditional clinical care. Psychiatric assessments are – from then on – ongoing and it will eventually be determined whether or not psychiatric medication is necessary. If it is deemed necessary then a prescribing psychiatrist will closely monitor the effects of the medication over an extended period of time.
  • The development of an integrated mental health and addiction treatment plan – Using the insight that was gained during the initial psychiatric assessment, our addiction specialists, therapists, case managers and psychiatrists will develop a uniquely tailored treatment program that addresses both underlying mental health conditions and substance abuse. Integrated treatment will be necessary in the tackling of all existing conditions.
  • Comprehensive recovery – Dual diagnosis treatment is about much more than treating the psychiatric disorder with medication and treating the addictive disorder with therapeutic intervention. At Immersion Recovery Center our clients learn how their two conditions interact and develop a highly individualized plan of action should the symptoms of any one condition ever crop up.
  • The implementation of behavior modification therapy – It is important for individuals in our dual diagnosis treatment program to learn how to effectively cope with relapse triggers. Our clients learn new coping methods and apply these methods in real life situations. In the final phase of the Immersion recovery process, clients have more personal freedom and they are able to actively apply the skills they have learned and report back to their individual therapist or therapy group.
  • Relapse prevention education – Relapse prevention is essential to every program of recovery, seeing as the main goal of treatment is to provide men and women with the tools they need to maintain sobriety for the remainder of their lives. Our aftercare program provides each client with the support and ongoing care they need to stay sober and stay accountable. The period directly following inpatient treatment can be difficult. Fortunately, it does not have to be – even for those with dual diagnosis disorders.
  • Family therapy and support – Addiction and mental illness are all-encompassing disorders and they affect the loved ones of the sufferer just as much as the sufferer him or herself. At Immersion Recovery Center we offer support and therapeutic services to family members, and offer them guidance on how to best support their loved one when he or she returns home from treatment.

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Common Dual Diagnosis Disorders

Some common dual diagnosis mental health disorders include:

  • Depression – Those who suffer from depression experience a lack of interest in hobbies and activities that were previously enjoyed, persistent feelings of sadness and a marked difficulty carrying out day to day tasks.
  • Anxiety disorders – Those afflicted with severe anxiety will generally feel worried about normal day to day activities and feel a constant state of fear. Anxiety disorders might also be marked by persistent and inexplicable panic attacks, which are usually treated with short-term medications (such as Xanax).
  • Bipolar disorder – Bipolar disorder sufferers experience significant mood swings, generally characterized by intense feelings of euphoria (highs) and intense feelings of depression (lows).
  • Schizophrenia – Those who suffer from schizophrenia suffer from paranoid delusions which can only be successfully be treated with a combination of therapy and medication.
  • Borderline personality disorder – Those with Borderline Personality Disorder will experience mood swings and unstable mood patterns, changes in behavioral patterns and significant difficulties in interpersonal relationships.

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Immersion’s Dual Diagnosis Program

Our dual diagnosis program is geared towards those who have struggled with the symptoms of undiagnosed mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders and have not been able to maintain long periods of abstinence in the past. To learn more, give us a call today.