According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in 2019 approximately 51.5 million people were living with a mental illness. That means that 1 in every 5 people have some type of mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, or borderline personality disorder. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically increased these numbers. Today 13% of American adults reported new or worsening substance use in 2020, with another 11% reporting thoughts of suicide. While we may still be on the newer end of COVID-19 and its effects, what we do know is that mental health disorders and substance use disorders often occur alongside one another. When it comes to substance abuse and counseling, we know that when both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder are treated at the same time, individuals can begin to effectively recover.
What is Dual Diagnosis?
The term “dual diagnosis” is used to describe a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder that occur simultaneously. Roughly 45% of people struggle with dual diagnosis — making it one of the most pressing public health concerns of our time. Because it’s not always clear which came first — the addiction or mental health disorder — it can often be difficult to identify a dual diagnosis disorder. Unraveling a dual diagnosis is important so individuals can do the substance abuse and counseling work that will help them find meaningful recovery.
Substance Abuse and Counseling: What Types of Therapies are Used to Treat Dual Diagnosis?
Mental health disorders, substance abuse and counseling are a common combination. That is because nearly half of the American public grapples with a dual diagnosis. While many mental health disorders are lifelong conditions, this treatment enables individuals to live healthy lives free of the distressing symptoms associated with their dual diagnosis.
The baseline for all dual diagnosis treatment is therapy and counseling. There are many evidence-based therapies that have proven to be effective in treating those experiencing both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Some of the most common types of treatment for dual diagnosis are:
Individual therapy occurs on a one-on-one basis with a patient and a therapist. These sessions allow for the most common of all therapies – talk therapy. Therapists can guide patients as they work to get to the root of their diagnosis.
Arguably the most effective form of counseling available for those with a dual diagnosis, group counseling brings together individuals who share similar issues and who are trying to recover. A therapist leads the group in activities and exercises to enhance their recovery.
Mental health, substance use and counseling for both of these conditions are not only available for the individual directly affected, but also their loved ones. A dual diagnosis can quickly become a family disease, leading to breakdowns in family dynamics. Family therapy works to help family members rebuild a strong foundation, which fosters growth and healing.
Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy are two of the most widely-used behavioral therapies for substance abuse and counseling treatment. They focus on having the individual develop healthy, positive ways of coping with distress, balancing their emotions, improving communication, and identifying thought patterns that contribute to negative behaviors.
Trauma therapy, such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), is highly beneficial for someone with a dual diagnosis. This therapy allows patients to safely work through the traumatic events in their lives that have contributed to their condition so that recovery can be possible.
Additional, more specific therapies used to treat dual diagnoses can include motivational interviewing, contingency management, art therapy, wilderness therapy, exposure therapy, and more.
Benefits of Therapy for Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders, substance use and counseling are a powerful combination because with counseling, mental health disorders and substance use can be treated. Treatment for dual diagnosis has a host of benefits, include:
- Increase relapse prevention techniques
- Development of proper coping skills
- Improved communication
- Deeper personal spiritual connection
- Stronger understanding of one’s mental health disorder and substance use disorders
- Establishment of a support system both in and out of therapy
- Access to medications that may be helpful in treating certain mental health disorders
- Have a safe space to talk about difficult topics and properly work through them
- Improve behaviors that would otherwise lead to continued poor mental health and substance abuse
Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Orange County
If you are struggling with a mental health disorder and addiction to drugs or alcohol, reach out to our team at Pacific Sands Recovery today. Call us at (949) 426-7962 to speak with one of our administrative professionals to get started on your road to recovery right now.
Do not wait any longer. Call us today to get the help you deserve.