Mental illness and addiction are terms that go back for centuries; however, it has only been in last two decades that we have begun to see them used together in the form of dual diagnosis treatment. In the 1980s dual diagnosis treatment meant attending therapy for mental illness and for addiction co-currently. It was not until the mid 1990s that researchers and psychologists began to see the extensive effects that each of these disorders had the on the other and the benefits of dual diagnosis treatment.
There are now hundreds of facilities nationwide that offer dual diagnosis treatment for those suffering from addiction as well as an emotional or psychiatric disorder. When an individual suffers from a mental illness or psychological disorder, they often turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to forget or relieve the pain associated with the disorder. This serves only to increase the disorder and the addiction. If one or the other is not properly treated, the problem will continue to get worse.
One of the benefits of dual diagnosis treatment is the recognition both problems. Although many programs still treat the addiction and the disorder separately, they are aware of both problems and the effect they have on each other. By treating each one separately they are better able to track the progress the individual is making in both areas. If one is left behind and not treated completely, it can bring the other down with it. By dealing with both issues together, therapist can identify other factors that could be intensifying the addiction or the mental illness. When all the problems have been addressed, recovering addicts are less likely to return to the addiction than if they had been treated for the addiction alone.
Dual diagnosis also recognizes the importance of individualized therapy. No one set of theories or treatments will work with everyone. Each person works at their own pace and in their own way. Allowing for individualism will help the ensure that the patient is receiving treatment that will help them as well as make them feel more involved in their recovery. When the patient is included in setting goals and helping plan their recovery, it makes the journey out of addiction and mental illness that much easier.
Overall, dual diagnosis treatment is the best method for treating addiction and mental illness. It allows for both issues to be addressed and treated; therefore lowering the likelihood of relapse. It also makes the recovery process more personal and allows the individual to be more involved than in traditional treatment. These issues do not usually occur alone, so if you or someone you love is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction or a mental illness the time to discover it is now. To ensure the greatest chance of recovery get tested.