Chemical addiction has become a prevalent problem. The availability of illegal substances, such as cocaine, heroin, crystal meth and marijuana, has facilitated the spread of drug and alcohol addiction. Many American households include at least one drug-addicted family member. Sometimes, chemically dependent people do not know how to recover from their addiction. They may seek the aid of recovery programs, such as those provided by drug rehabilitation centers. However, chemical addiction may be difficult to overcome, and conventional drug rehabilitation centers may not address all of the conditions exhibited by drug-addicted patients.
Most patients who have a substance abuse problem also show signs of mental illness. In the past, few people understood the linkage between substance abuse and mental disorders. However, recent studies suggest that more than 60 percent of patients who are addicted to drugs or alcohol also display symptoms of mental illness. The mental disorders of the chemically dependent patients can vary. Patients may have symptoms of bipolar disorder, general anxiety disorder, schizophrenia or clinical depression. Nevertheless, regardless of the type of mental illness that is displayed, dual-diagnosis treatment centers are the best form of treatment for co-morbid patients.
Co-morbidity occurs when a patient displays multiple medical conditions at the same time. The concurrent presentation of the patient’s illnesses can make it difficult for medical professionals to treat the patient effectively. As a result, a co-morbid patient who does not undergo dual diagnosis treatment may only receive care for one of his disorders. Yet, treating the mental disorders of a patient without addressing the chemical addictions is rarely effective. Likewise, a co-morbid patient who only receives treatment for his chemical dependency tends to relapse. Full recovery requires the treatment of all of the patient’s conditions.
The conditions of a co-morbid patient are frequently interrelated. For instance, a clinically depressed patient may drink alcohol excessively. In fact, many chemical addictions develop from a desire to self-medicate. People who display symptoms of mental illness may seek relief by abusing alcohol, illegal substances or prescription drugs.
Dual diagnosis treatment focuses simultaneously on all of the conditions of the co-morbid patient. It employs the most effective drug rehabilitation treatments and the most successful care options for mental illness. The resulting treatment allows chemically dependent patients who have a mental disorder to heal effectively.
Dual diagnosis treatment often occurs in dual diagnosis treatment centers. The centers, which are located throughout the United States, are long-term treatment centers. Patients who receive care in dual diagnosis treatment actually live at the centers as they recover. The facilities provide a safe, nurturing recovery atmosphere. In addition, the patient’s ingestion of substances can be monitored and controlled.
Dual diagnosis treatment typically begins with a full patient assessment. The co-morbid patient must submit a complete medical history. In addition, the patient undergoes a physical examination and submits to a thorough interview. The information obtained during the assessment can be used to determine the best dual diagnosis treatment options for the patient.
Following the assessment, the patient undergoes a period of detoxification, which is used to rid the patient’s body of addictive substances. Since withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, the patient may be offered non-addictive medications to help lessen the discomfort of the symptoms. The time required for detoxification can vary based on the severity and type of chemical addiction displayed by the patient.