Dual Diagnosis is when someone has both a drug or alcohol problem and a mental disorder. Dual diagnosis programs in California are some of the most respected in the country. Dual diagnosis is a common factor in addiction with 37% of alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers having at least one mental disorder. The mental or emotional disorders than often come with an addiction are:
- Depression or bipolar disorder
- Anxiety disorders including panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder
- Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and personality disorders
These are often seen in drug and alcohol abuse as those with the disorders commonly self-medicate with mind altering substances; especially if they haven’t been diagnosed or treated for their mental disorder. In some cases the substance abuse occurs prior and can be the cause of the psychiatric/mental condition such as depressive episodes, rage blackouts or suicidal ideation.
Occasionally the co-occurring disorder cannot be diagnosed until after withdrawal symptoms have passed/alleviated. Withdrawal symptoms from many drugs can mimic symptoms of mental disorders and so a doctor must wait until withdrawals have passed in order to fully diagnose a patient. The first step in treatment therefore is the detoxification process; this can be sped up by treatments such as the Waismann method or detox can be allowed to pass at its normal rate.
After detoxification the individual can begin in a dual diagnosis program; rehabilitation for the substance abuse and therapy for the psychiatric condition. Rehabilitation will often include addiction education, relapse prevention education, group and individual psycho-therapy groups and 12 step fellowship programs. Exercise and proper nutrition are beneficial for recovery and cleanse from a substance addiction. Therapy for the psychiatric condition can come in a variety of different methods through both individual and group therapy. Medications such as SSRIs or NDRIs are commonly prescribed for issues such as depressive and anxiety disorders. Therapeutic tools will include the patient opening up and expressing their experiences, feelings and emotions on daily basis. Styles like cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy are common styles of identifying issues and learning tools to either manage or resolve them.
Dual diagnosis programs in California will offer family programs. This involves family members and friends coming for between a few days to a week and attending therapy with the patient. This is beneficial in a variety of ways, especially educating friends and family on their loved one’s disease and how to cope with it for the future. Family therapy helps strengthen the family system and the patient’s relationships through teaching on better communication skills amongst others. Treatment focuses on teaching the patient how to live a functional and fulfilling life without the use of mind-altering substances.
Dual diagnosis programs in California come with a substantial variety of facilities to choose from. The majority of California rehabs will also treat for issues such as depression, anxiety and trauma.
California has a strong community and fellowship of 12 step programs and is an effective and understanding environment in which to treat and recover from addiction and mental disorders. These 12 step programs allow members to build support networks of people suffering from the same diseases and are highly recommended as part of a program of recovery.