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Dual Diagnosis Interventions
Dual diagnosis interventions are useful tools for situations in which a loved one is dealing with both a mental illness as well as an addiction to either drugs or alcohol. While dealing with a mental illness can be difficult, it becomes even more challenging when you add an addiction. Both drugs and alcohol can have a devastating impact on a person’s mental and physical health. When a person with a mental illness becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol it becomes more difficult to determine which symptoms are associated with or caused by which health issue.
The Basics of a Dual Diagnosis
The basics of a dual diagnosis involve the existence of both a substance abuse problem and an addiction to drugs or alcohol at the same time.
In many cases, a drug or alcohol addiction may mask the symptoms of a mental illness. It is only when the person is treated for their substance abuse problem that the signs of a mental disorder become apparent.
Mental illnesses can run the gamut from depression to schizophrenia. Alcoholism or the use of recreational drugs can cause the signs and symptoms of many mental health disorders to become more pronounced.
Many people who suffer from anxiety or panic disorders often use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate and numb themselves. Little do they realize they are creating a whole new set of problems for themselves.
What Are the Potential Risks of a Dual Diagnosis?
One of the biggest risks of a dual diagnosis is that either the mental illness or the substance abuse will be overlooked. Because of the situation, they find themselves in, they may not realize the problem they have is severe. Overlooking one or the other can be devastating. Without treatment one or both disorders can get out of control rather easily. The risk of having both a mental illness as well as a substance abuse problem is that neither of them will receive the treatment they need, leaving the patient in worse shape than ever before.
Treating a Dual Diagnosis
While parallel treatment seems like a logical solution, it is rather ineffective. It can be difficult to determine which symptoms are associated with which problem. Now doctors recommend taking an integrative approach. Instead of having a team develop a treatment plan for the mental illness and a different team develop a treatment plan for the substance abuse, one team will take care of both disorders at the same time. With this type of treatment, one team will be able to observe and make adjustments to the treatment plan, It allows for a more complete treatment program that is more effective and has a better success rate. Having one treatment team also eliminates any miscommunication between doctors that could disrupt the treatment plan.
Performing a Dual Diagnosis Intervention
When it comes to a dual diagnosis intervention, there needs to be a different approach than what is normally used in a substance abuse intervention. A dual diagnosis intervention should be performed in stages. First, family members should engage the patient so they are more vested in the treatment plan being offered. The next step is persuading them to take part in a treatment program that will fully address both their mental illness as well as their substance abuse.
Active treatment often includes interventions that allow the patient to develop the skills and abilities they will need to be able to effectively manage their mental illness while helping them remain focused on their substance abuse recovery. Interventions are also set up that will help to prevent relapses. These strategies are put in place to help the patient face many of the more common obstacles that often lead to a relapse. They are able to identify patterns that often lead to a relapse and provides them with tools they can use during any stage of their treatment plan.
Providing Support for a Person with a Dual Diagnosis
Motivational interventions are also used to help dual diagnosis patients overcome the challenges they face during their recovery. They receive the support they need from both their families as well as their medical team. Motivational interventions provide patients with the ability to set personal goals that will help them identify problems in their lives. This is ideal for patients who are not fully convinced that they have a problem. It gives them a chance to work through many of their health issues and get the treatment they need as they move forward.
Handle Dual Diagnosis Interventions with Care
Dual diagnosis interventions must be handled very carefully. Because a mental illness is present, it will be hard to determine what signs are attributed to it. Many individuals who have a drug or alcohol abuse problem may not even realize they have a mental health condition that is affecting their decisions. As a close friend or family member, it may be easier for you to identify the subtle changes in their behaviors.
Staging an intervention may be the best way to focus their attention on what you are seeing. By calling Addiction Interventions, you will be able to get the resources and help you need for your loved one. A dual diagnosis can be confusing and frustrating for the person dealing with those issues. You may not be able to fix their problems, but you can support them as they go through the recovery process and begin to travel their path back toward better health.