The Power of a Dual Diagnosis therapist

Two medical professionals performing Dual Diagnosis treatment plans.

In the world of recovery, addiction is often a more nuanced topic than many give it credit for.  When someone is struggling with addiction, it is not uncommon for there to be an underlying mental health disorder that either leads to or feeds into the substance abuse.  This is called dual diagnosis, and treatment has to account for both possibilities.

We call this a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis refers to a situation in which a person experiences both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder simultaneously. For instance, someone might struggle with depression or anxiety while also grappling with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Dual diagnosis presents unique challenges in treatment because both conditions often interact and influence each other, complicating the recovery process. This is why it is important to find a dual diagnosis therapist. Effective treatment typically involves addressing both the mental health issue and the substance abuse problem concurrently, often through integrated therapies and support systems.

Which came first?

While determining the causal relationship between the two conditions or identifying which condition manifested first can be challenging, there’s often a discernible link between them. Those grappling with mental illness are often more susceptible to developing an addiction. Statistics show that substance abuse is twice as prevalent among adults contending with mental health challenges. This is often driven by the urge to self-medicate symptoms to find some sort of relief. So while it can be hard to determine which came first, it is hard to deny the correlations. Statistically, individuals suffering from mental illness account for a significant portion of substance consumption in the U.S.

What kind of disorders can a Dual-Diagnosis Therapist treat?

First and foremost, it’s imperative that any psychiatric disorder is properly diagnosed by a qualified clinician. Merely searching symptoms on platforms like WebMD and self-diagnosing or attributing a disorder to yourself or others is insufficient and potentially harmful. Only trained professionals possess the expertise to provide a formal diagnosis, a crucial aspect of dual diagnosis treatment. While you may recognize symptoms within yourself, it’s essential to refrain from speculation about the specific diagnosis. This caution is crucial as misdiagnosis can lead to confusion and hinder access to appropriate treatment for those with confirmed disorders. Additionally, self-diagnosis can perpetuate stigmas surrounding mental health conditions. It’s advisable to articulate your symptoms accurately and seek professional assessment rather than attempting self-diagnosis or accepting non-professional opinions. Below are some examples of disorders commonly identified in dual diagnosis cases:

  • Clinical Depression (distinguishable from situational depression)
  • Bipolar Disorder (including types I, II, or cyclothymic)
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

How a Dual-Diagnosis Therapist can help

A dual-diagnosis therapist is one that specializes in treating both mental illness and substance abuse and can effectively work with their clients to tackle both.  There used to be an unfounded belief that a mental illness could not be treated until one abstained from substances. However with the information we have now, we know that is not the case.  When searching for a dual diagnosis therapist, it is important to have a clear idea on what you want to gain from your experience.

  1. Find a dual-diagnosis therapist you can trust: Trust is important when it comes to finding a therapist. This is a person that you will be processing through painful and oftentimes, traumatic experiences.  While trust is something that has to be built over time, you need to make sure that you feel comfortable starting that process with a potential therapist. Finding the right therapist for you can be similar to dating in that you may need to try a few different therapists before you find one that fits your needs.
  2. Consider finances: When looking for a therapist, you need to determine what your budget will allow for.  While you don’t want to sacrifice quality for cost, you want to ensure that you are able to set yourself up for success in the long-run.  Finding the perfect therapist won’t matter if you aren’t able to continue sessions due to cost.  It is also recommended to utilize your insurance options if you have it.  Many times, your insurance will be able to cover therapy sessions and even inpatient treatment if needed. 
  3. Utilize local resources: If you are suffering from mental illness and substance abuse, it may be in your best interest to seek out support from an inpatient treatment center that is designed to support people in your position. Oftentimes, they already have dual diagnosis therapists on staff that are ready and able to help you. 

Find a Dual Diagnosis therapist at Better Tomorrow

Better Tomorrow Treatment Center’s modern, evidence-based addiction care is designed to foster the personal growth needed to sustain a lifetime of recovery. Find the insight and strength required for the rewarding sober lifestyle your or your loved one deserves. If you or a loved one wants to start their recovery journey, with drug treatment in West Palm Beach, Florida, please contact us at (888) 653-1149, or head over to our website and scroll down to the bottom of the page and fill out our 100% confidential information form and a compassionate member of our team will reach out to you.

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