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What To Look For in a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center

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Mental health conditions and substance use disorders (SUDs) can occur interdentally of one another. However, many people with SUDs often find that some mental health issue led to their substance misuse. Or conversely, their substance misuse led to their mental health issue. In these situations, when you have a mental health issue and a SUD, you need to find a dual diagnosis treatment center.

What is Dual Diagnosis? 

A Dual diagnosis, or a co-occurring disorder, is when a person has a substance use disorder and a mental health illness occurring simultaneously. According to SAMHSA and their 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 9.2 million people had a dual diagnosis. 
Furthermore, dual diagnosis can include polysubstance use disorders when there are also mental health issues. Polysubstance use is when someone uses two or more substances either intentionally or unintentionally. In general, any combination of two or more mental health disorders AND substance use disorders are considered co-occurring disorders.

What to Look for in a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center?

When researching dual diagnosis treatment centers, there are some specific questions you need to ask to ensure the facility is equipped to help you with your SUD and mental health condition, including:

  1. Is this treatment program customizable? You need a program tailored to your specific needs and adjusted as those needs change. 
  2. How long is the treatment program? To fully benefit from treating your co-occurring disorder, the minimum program time should be at least 90 days. This allows you time to stabilize your condition and determine the appropriate next steps. 
  3. Is there a priority in treating the SUD or mental health condition? Ideally, the treatment plan should treat both conditions simultaneously. However, the first step should be going through medically supervised detox. Even at this stage, you can begin treatment for your mental health disorder.
  4. Are the core issues of my substance misuse addressed? Uncovering the underlying causes of your substance misuse is an essential part of learning more about your triggers and how to develop effective coping mechanisms. 
  5. Are the core issues of my mental health disorder and any related trauma addressed? These are other essential issues that need to be addressed during treatment, especially if they were the reason you developed a SUD.
  6. What sort of ongoing support and after-care programs do you offer? Having a solid support system and after-care program in place helps you maintain your sobriety while continuing to work on your mental health disorder if ongoing treatment is necessary. For example, some people may transition from a residential treatment program to an outpatient treatment program.

What Should You Expect During Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The recovery process for someone with a co-occurring disorder is slightly different compared to someone with a SUD. While receiving treatment is not that much different, other approaches are used to help the person address their substance misuse and mental health condition simultaneously. 

Even though they are different conditions, they are usually interconnected in some manner. They often cause a range of emotions and feed off of each other. For example, if you suffered a traumatic experience, you may have turned to alcohol or drugs as a way to avoid having to deal with the pain from the trauma. 

During treatment, you will receive different types of therapies based on your specific needs, including:

  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
  • DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
  • CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy)
  • Talk Therapy
  • Individual Counseling
  • Group Therapy 

These therapies help you address issues related to your addiction and your mental health disorder. Your treatment program should also include health and wellness aspects, such as learning how to prepare healthy meals and daily exercise. Eating well-balanced meals and exercising regularly benefit both your mental health and physical health.

Recovery from Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Just like SUDs, it is essential to remember to take things one day at a time. It is better to focus on today and how you can get through it. As you progress in your recovery at a dual diagnosis treatment center, you will gradually develop the skills and tools necessary to address different situations that often arise after leaving the safe and secure environment of the treatment center.

For example, part of your treatment will include developing coping mechanisms to address a range of issues, such as cravings, triggers, or when your mental health issue is causing you concerns.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Orange County, CA

At Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County, CA, we offer integrated dual diagnosis treatment tailored to your specific needs and requirements. This allows you to focus on your healing and progress. In addition, by following your individual treatment plan, we can move at a pace that is comfortable for you. Our dual diagnosis treatment center also assists you with creating and developing an effective after-care plan and support system. When looking for a safe, comfortable, secure, and supportive environment to receive treatment for your co-occurring disorder, look no further than our IMS and JCAHO-accredited treatment center. Contact us today or visit our admissions page to learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment center.


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