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Dual Diagnosis – West Chester

When someone with an addiction has a co-occurring mental illness, it’s known as a dual diagnosis. Because each illness in a dual diagnosis is a separate disorder, it must be treated separately from the other. However, for the best possible chances of long-term recovery, treatments should be integrated. The treatment professionals at Drug Rehab Centers West Chester understand the complexities of these disorders and work together to provide the most comprehensive treatment available.

The Prevalence of Dual Diagnosis

Co-occurring disorders are more common than once believed. Research has found that around one-third of people with an alcohol addiction and one-half of those with a drug addiction also have a mental illness, and one-third of people with any type of mental illness and one-half of those with a serious mental condition are also addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Experts explain the high prevalence of dual diagnosis by pointing out that people who have a mental illness are likely to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, and drugs and alcohol almost always make a mental illness much worse and can even cause the onset of a mental condition that didn’t previously exist. To receive a thorough evaluation and treatment, call Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers West Chester at 347-542-5767.

Common Mental Illnesses in Co-Occurring Disorders

While any type of mental illness can co-occur with an addiction, some occur more commonly than others.

Anxiety disorders are characterized by irrational fears, intense distress, and panic attacks, and those who suffer from an anxiety disorder may use drugs or alcohol to alleviate these feelings.

Depression causes sadness and feelings of self-hatred and hopelessness. People with depression often use drugs or alcohol to improve their mood or to numb their feelings altogether.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition that’s marked by intrusive and obsessive thoughts that cause compulsive and repetitive or ritualistic behaviors. Those with OCD may use drugs or alcohol to suppress the intrusive thoughts or to alleviate the intensity of the compulsions.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can set in weeks or years after witnessing or being the victim of a traumatic event. PTSD causes emotional instability, insomnia, nightmares, and flashbacks. People with PTSD often use drugs and alcohol to “forget” or to help them sleep without nightmares.

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders in a Dual Diagnosis Center

Although traditional treatment centers can effectively treat each disorder in a dual diagnosis, choosing a treatment program that specializes in co-occurring disorders helps improve the chances of successful long-term recovery. The programs at Drug Treatment Centers West Chester are set up to treat each illness through a holistic and integrated approach that draws on a high level of collaboration among mental health and medical professionals.

Various therapies are used to address each illness in a co-occurring disorder.

  • Pharmacotherapy utilizes medications to treat the mental illness.
  • Psychotherapy promotes self-awareness surrounding each condition and equips patients with the skills, techniques, and strategies they need to cope with triggers and cravings, reduce stress, and replace destructive behaviors and thoughts with those that are productive and healthy.
  • Behavioral management leads patients to examine how their thoughts affect behaviors and work toward building motivation to identify and change harmful thoughts and false beliefs that lead to unhealthy behaviors.

Aftercare Services

Once the treatment phase of rehab is complete, an aftercare plan is devised to help prevent a lapse or relapse once the patient leaves rehab. The aftercare plan is highly individualized and designed to provide ongoing support for both the addiction and the mental illness.

Typical aftercare plans include ongoing therapy, joining a community support group like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Smart Recovery, and ongoing monitoring of the mental condition and any medications being used to control its symptoms. Other components will be included in the aftercare plan to address the individual’s specific needs, such as additional transitional support through a sober living facility or vocational rehab to help them develop essential workforce skills.

To find out more about the treatment options for dual diagnosis patients at Drug Treatment Centers West Chester, dial 347-542-5767.

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