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Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Recovering from Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders

Treatment for Mental Health and Substance Abuse ProblemsBattling an alcohol or drug use disorder on its own can seem like an insurmountable and unmanageable task. Yet many individuals who struggle with substance abuse also have mental health disorders. In fact, the presence of a mental health condition is more common than not among addicts—research indicates that 80 percent of adults with a mental health disorder also have a substance use disorder. This is known a dual diagnosis, or a co-occurring disorder.

Recovering from addiction can be significantly more difficult for patients who are also suffering from a mental health issue, but the good news is, treatment can help. Gateway's dual diagnosis treatment centers have staff members who are specially trained to tackle the challenges associated with dual diagnosis. Gateway is certified as one of the only centers in the Midwest that can deal with co-occurring diagnosis.

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis refers to two or more disorders or illnesses occurring in the same person. Among those with substance abuse problems, the most common co-occurring mental health conditions include depression, anxiety and trauma-related issues. In some cases, people may also struggle with more severe mental health problems like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. According to a survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 7.9 million Americans are living with a dual diagnosis.

"People with a mental disorder are more likely to experience a substance use disorder, and people with a substance use disorder are more likely to have a mental disorder when compared with the general population," SAMHSA reports. And according to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), about 45 percent of Americans seeking treatment for a substance use disorder have been diagnosed as having a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Why is this a cause for concern? According to SAMHSA, the most common reason for substance abuse relapse is an untreated mental health disorder. Both disorders generally exacerbate one another, making it difficult to separate the two—which is why proper treatment is so important.

How Are Dual Diagnosis Disorders Diagnosed?

Co-occurring disorders can be difficult to diagnose because of the complexity of symptoms. There are many possible combinations of dual diagnoses, which means there are many possible symptoms. Gateway screens for potential mental health issues during standard intake procedures in order to determine the appropriate course of care.

Gateway's Integrated Treatment Approach to Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis treatment is still relatively new territory. Until the 1990s, substance abuse and mental health disorders were typically treated separately, and patients whose issues overlapped were often denied treatment until they got sober. As a result, many people failed to get the treatment they needed to overcome their problems.

Today, addiction and psychiatric health are viewed more as part of a continuum, and clinicians are specially trained to deal with patients who have a co-occurring disorder.

Certified as one of the only dual diagnosis rehab centers in the Midwest, Gateway treats dual diagnosis through comprehensive drug rehab programs that use evidence-based approaches and best practices. How can a practitioner and a patient know that the treatment is effective? Gateway measures the effectiveness using established tools such as the Dartmouth Medical School-developed Dual Diagnosis Capable in Addictions Treatment (DDCAT) Index. Gateway programs are assessed and reassessed with the DDCAT in order to modify treatment as needed and strengthen integrated treatment within its programs.

As part of this commitment to effective treatment, Gateway is a member of the national, Dartmouth-based DDCAT Collaborative. In fact, after assessing one of Gateway's programs at the Chicago treatment center, Dr. Mark McGovern, faculty of Dartmouth Medical School and the primary developer of the DDCAT, wrote that the Gateway program was "as dually diagnosed enhanced as any program I have seen."

Our Individualized Treatment Plans

Dual diagnosis looks different for every patient. With more than 50 years of treatment experience, Gateway's professional staff provides patients with the individualized care needed to treat co-occurring problems and get life back on track. Our personalized treatment plans are designed to concurrently address an individual's substance abuse and mental health problems.

Treatment plans vary based on each patient's background and needs, and they can be tailored for men, women and adolescents. Most plans include the following:

  • Detox
  • Diagnosis
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Plans for aftercare

Depending on the level of treatment needed, Gateway offers Outpatient Drug Rehab Programs with a flexible approach that can be customized around school and work schedules. We also operate inpatient dual diagnosis treatment centers, with Residential and Day Treatment programs for individuals who need more structure and support.

How Can I Find a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center Near Me?

Gateway offers services throughout Illinois (including Chicago and the suburbs), the St. Louis Metro East area, and in Delaware. Find a location near you.

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