Who Can Benefit From Dual Diagnosis Residential Treatment?

May 01 , 2022

In today’s addiction care, special attention is being given to patients who have a co-occurring mental health disorder. These patients benefit hugely from receiving care known as dual diagnosis residential treatment, meaning the patient is receiving simultaneous treatment for both the substance abuse and the psychological disorder. Because these are often intertwined, addressing both issues at once gives the patient the best chance for recovery.

Screening for these types of patients can be difficult. For example, an estimated 10.6% of full-time workers deal with substance abuse, and another 10.2% deal with a serious psychological issue. Though a patient may seem high-functioning, he or she may be walking a tenuous line of coping with a mental health through substance abuse.The problem is that 3 million adults are living with a dual diagnosis and less than 5% will receive treatment for both issues.

This is why all patients presenting with a substance abuse disorder should also be screened for possible underlying mental health issues. There are, however, some groups at higher risk that garner additional concern because of their propensity to develop co-occurring disorders.

Primary care patients

Many people start looking for help through their primary care doctors. This puts those physicians in the right place to screen for co-occurring disorders. By properly educating primary care doctors, more patients with a dual diagnosis can be identified earlier in the progression of their disease. By asking investigatory questions and piecing together the medical and mental health history, doctors can gain insight into the underlying issues behind a patient’s complaints.

Chronic relapses

For patients who have been through multiple courses of treatment for substance abuse, it is important that clinicians investigate to find any underlying psychological disorders. Dual diagnosis residential treatment centers will prove to be more effective than traditional rehab for this demographic. If a patient has an undiagnosed disorder, it could be preventing him or her from a real chance at sobriety. Take, for example, someone with depression or anxiety who drinks to relieve those feelings. Though it may work temporarily, this is an unhealthy coping mechanism that could end in addiction. In this example, the relationship of the addiction and the mental illness prevents true recovery until both are treated simultaneously and equally.

Veterans and other military personnel

With the high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder among veterans returning from active duty, they are a demographic especially susceptible to developing a co-occurring addiction. Some veterans suffering from PTSD will turn to drugs or alcohol to attempt to deal with their inner demons. Unfortunately, there is still a negative stigma attached to mental health care in some social situations, and this may make it less likely for a veteran to seek treatment. The U.S. department of veterans affairs has information available to help clinicians treat individuals suffering from PTSD and other issues, and how these issues relate to substance use disorders as well.

Patients already on medication management

Sometimes a patient with a concurrent disorder will seek treatment for addiction, having already been diagnosed with mental health issues and currently following a prescribed treatment plan. In these circumstances, the medication regimen should be reevaluated upon intake to a residential program. The patient should be observed to determine if there is a problem with over or under medication, or if there are other medications that may be necessary.

These patients present their own problems, but dual diagnosis residential treatment centers are really the best places for them to recover. This is because the 24-hour surveillance of an experienced and diverse clinical team lends itself quickly and easily to fine-tuning custom treatment plans, giving the patient a better chance at succeeding through residential treatment and beyond.