Dual diagnosis is a term you often hear when looking into drug and alcohol addiction treatment. It’s an important concept to understand, too, because many people who end up in treatment for addiction have a co-occurring mental health disorder. If you don’t treat both conditions at once, the addiction treatment may be less effective.
What is Dual Diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis means your diagnosis includes both a mental illness and a substance abuse disorder. The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that 9.2 million people in the U.S. have both a mental illness and an addiction. Mental illness might mean depression, anxiety, panic disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
For some, using drugs or drinking alcohol is a way to self-medicate and control the symptoms of their mental illness. They take heroin, for example, because it eases their anxiety but end up with an addiction in return.
When asking what is dual diagnosis, you first want to know if you or someone you love with a mental illness also may have an addiction. Symptoms of addiction can include:
- Withdrawal from family
- Behavior changes that can happen suddenly
- Substance abuse under dangerous conditions
- Risky behaviors
- Loss of control over substance abuse
- High tolerance for a substance
If you see these symptoms, the next question is, what is dual diagnosis treatment?
What is Dual Diagnosis: Are There Risk Factors?
There are some common risk factors for people with a dual diagnosis. When asking what is dual diagnosis treatment and do I need it, here are some factors to consider. Do mental health conditions or addiction run in your family? Is there trauma in your background? Have you been diagnosed with a mental illness? Do you take drugs to feel better?
What is Dual Diagnosis: Why Do You Need Treatment for Both?
Studies show that individuals who only get treatment for addiction tend to relapse. As soon as the symptoms of the mental health disorder begin again, the need to use drugs or drink alcohol intensifies leading to relapse.
What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
Dual diagnosis treatment is an integrated program that allows you to get care for both the mental illness and the substance abuse disorder. It will start with detox to wean you off the drug. Next is going to be inpatient or outpatient treatment. You want to choose a facility that offers both mental health treatment and addiction care to ensure they come up with an integrated plan.
Westwind Recovery has 15 locations throughout the state of California, and they offer dual diagnosis treatment. Westwind has:
- Six residential beds
- Six detox beds
- 80 outpatient slots
They also specialize in LGBTQ and mental health treatment, along with addiction.
As part of their dual diagnosis program, Westwind Recovery offers innovative solutions like adventure therapy. Their adventure therapy introduces anyone asking what is dual diagnosis treatment to the fun side of mental health care.
As part of the adventure therapy program, you can participate in camping, water sports, hiking, surfing, planetarium outings, and much more fun. They try to arrange a trip out for some adventure at least once a month.
Westwind can also serve as your primary mental health provider. It specializes in those with a primary diagnosis of chemical dependency that also includes bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For instance, if you take drugs or drink alcohol to self-medicate, your primary diagnosis is substance abuse disorder because it becomes more pronounced when you have a mental health episode like mania or depression.
If you have an addiction disorder and think you may need dual diagnosis treatment, give us a call at 855.340.8832. We can help.