6 Important Facts That You Should Know About a Dual Diagnosis
The first step to any recovery is deciding it’s time to seek professional help. While many people may have a specific dependency or addition to address, others deal with what’s known as a dual diagnosis. Essentially, this means there’s two issues that must be resolved in order for the patient to regain control of his or her life.
The good news is that finding a rehabilitation centercapable of providing this type of support is not as difficult as some may think. Here are some basics that you should understand whether you are the patient or a loved one who seeking to support a loved one.
It’s a Lot More Common Than Most People Realize
A dual diagnosis typically involves some form of substance abuse coupled with an emotional or mental illness. According to figures found in a 2014 report released by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 7.9 million people experience this type of condition. Of those cases, roughly 4.1 million patients dealing with simultaneous issues are men.
The Range of Combinations Varies
The typical dual diagnosis will involve a mental condition as well as some type of physical dependency. The range of specific combinations vary greatly. Alcohol abuse coupled with moderate to severe depression is an example. A different one involves addiction to a prescription medication and some form of anxiety disorder. Bipolar depression may be paired with an addiction to some type of illegal substance. Fortunately, the process of identifying what’s happening and how to move forward is capable of helping in these and other combinations.
The Approach Depends Greatly on the Patient’s Condition
The patient’s willingness to seek professional help is key to the process. Other factors are also essential if the rehabilitation team is to come up with the best course of treatment. In some instances, both aspects of the diagnosis can be treated at the same time. At other times, the focus may be on dealing with one part of the diagnosis first. When that treatment reaches a certain point, attention is then given to the other issue.
Both approaches are viable and have the potential for success. The key is matching the treatment approach with the condition and needs of the patient. It’s true that the overall approach may be lengthy. Even so, the goal is to help the patient regain control and be able to manage the conditions for the rest of his or her life.
Not All Facilities are Equipped to Deal With a Dual Diagnosis
Not all facilities have the staffing, experience, or other resources to support a patient with a dual diagnosis. This may mean the patient will be referred to one or more rehabs that do have everything needed to pursue an aggressive treatment plan. It’s not unusual for the medical professional who provides the diagnosis to also help the patient identify facilities capable of providing the environment and resources needed.
Pace is an Essential Element in the Treatment Process
There is no one-size-fits-all time frame needed to successfully pursue a treatment for the dual diagnosis. Generally, it will take longer than treating a single issue. The overall process may take years rather than months.
Moving at a pace that’s beneficial for the patient plays a major role. The right pace allows the patient to enjoy measurable progress, even if some type of setback does occur a few times. That pace also empowers the patient, since it allows the individual to feel like a full participant in the recovery process.
Loved Ones Should Seek Counselling as The Treatment Commences
Much of the treatment process for a dual diagnosis rightly focuses on the condition and needs of the patient. Many professionals recommend that loved ones also seek some type of counselling for the duration of the treatment. There’s a couple of reasons why this type of action matters.
Loved ones often want to know how they can support the patient. That process is not as simple as many may think. Counselling helps to provide a better understanding of what actions are likely to provide true support, and which well-meaning actions could actually be a hindrance.
Counselling also helps loved ones to be more competent in terms of providing support. They know what could happen and how they should respond. This is preferable to being afraid to do anything for fear of making things worse.
If you’ve reached a point where you are ready to let go of the past and regain control of your life, seek help from a qualified professional. Even if there is more than one issue that must be addressed, rest assured there are effective ways to work toward a recovery. A year from now, things could look a lot brighter.