What to Look For In a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center

Mental health challenges can undermine your ability to enjoy a full and satisfying life. Addiction can inflict devastating physical and psychological damage. When you are dealing with both of these challenges at the same time, it can be difficult to see a path out of the darkness. Thankfully, when you find the right dual diagnosis treatment center, the path to improved health becomes much clearer. Learning more about dual diagnosis, treatment, and recovery can prepare you to find the care that’s right for you.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is the clinical term for the simultaneous presence of a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder (addiction). Though many people may not be familiar with the term dual diagnosis, it is far from uncommon for people to be dealing with mental illness and addiction at the same time.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), dual diagnosis affects about 7.7 million adults in the United States. NIDA also provided the following statistical breakdown of dual diagnosis:

  • 38% of people who have a substance use disorder also have a mental illness
  • 18% of people who have a mental health disorder also have an addiction
  • 53% of people who have dual diagnosis did not receive help for either condition in the previous year

If you have been living with both mental illness and addiction, you may need to receive comprehensive care at a dual diagnosis treatment center. If you get treatment that addresses only your addiction or only your mental health challenges, you may be far less likely to experience true and lasting healing.  

What to Look For in a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center

When you are evaluating dual diagnosis treatment centers for yourself or someone that you care about, here are some important questions to ask: 

Is this treatment program proven or experimental?

Dual diagnosis is a complex challenge. Experimental programming is, by definition, not an established protocol. You may be better served at a dual diagnosis treatment center whose services are backed by established evidence and substantial research.

Is there a priority treatment plan?

Effective treatment for dual diagnosis begins with a thorough assessment and the development of a personalized treatment plan. This ensures that the provider understands the full scope of your needs and has identified the types of care that are right for you. Be wary of centers that don’t prioritize these essential steps. 

Will core issues of substance abuse be addressed?

Addiction impacts how you think, feel, and act. Certain medications can alleviate some of the physical pain of withdrawal – but treatment must also address the issues that pushed you into substance abuse in the first place. If these core issues are ignored, you may find it virtually impossible to achieve long-term recovery. 

Will mental health and trauma history be addressed?

A comprehensive approach to mental health treatment should include trauma-focused care when appropriate. Untreated trauma can exacerbate mental health symptoms. It can also be a fundamental cause of a substance abuse problem. Be sure to find a dual diagnosis treatment center that can incorporate trauma services as necessary.

What ongoing supports are in place during treatment?

Addiction is not a curable condition. Instead, treatment teaches you how to respond to triggers without relapsing into substance abuse. Mental health treatment also involves helping you learn how to manage the symptoms that had previously been sources of significant distress. In both cases, lifelong vigilance and support may be necessary. Including support services into treatment can put you in the best possible position for sustained success.

What to Expect in Dual Diagnosis Treatment

When you enter a reputable, effective dual diagnosis treatment center, here are a few features that you should expect:

  • A thorough assessment to identify your specific needs
  • A personalized treatment plan to address these needs
  • A safe environment where you are encouraged to share your thoughts and voice your concerns
  • A team of professionals who empower you to play an active role in all aspects of treatment
  • Multiple forms of therapy, educational opportunities, and support services
  • The ability to receive treatment at multiple levels of care
  • Detailed discharge planning to connect you with the services that can support you after you have transitioned out of treatment

Above all, you should expect to be treated as a unique individual who deserves quality care. When you find a dual diagnosis treatment center that provides person-focused services in a safe and supportive environment, you may have found the right place for you.

Recovery Through Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The progress you make while in dual diagnosis treatment should help you gain a strong foothold in early recovery. This includes helping you develop the specific skills and strategies that will enable you to live a drug-free life. 

Group therapy can be a vital part of this effort. During group sessions, you can discover the power of community and the benefits of sharing support with others who are working toward similar goals. You can also practice communication, problem-solving, and conflict-resolution skills. These can all be valuable tools throughout your recovery journey.

Establishing healthy relationships and making strong connections to supportive individuals can be essential to your continued recovery. While you’re still in treatment, you can begin to build your personal support network.

Begin Dual Diagnosis Treatment in South Florida

If you have been struggling with both a mental illness and an addiction to alcohol or another drug, Ambrosia Treatment Center is here for you. Our facility in South Florida offers personalized dual diagnosis treatment at the inpatient, intensive outpatient, and outpatient levels. The dedicated members of the Ambrosia team will work closely with you to identify the full scope of your needs and provide the customized care that’s right for you. Contact us today to learn more.

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