Steps in Treating Dual Diagnosis

steps in treatmentGetting treatment for a Dual Diagnosis issue of addiction and mental illness can bring a lot of questions to the front of one’s mind. How long will this take? Will I ever fully recover from addiction? Will I lose my job, family or friends? Can I really succeed at kicking my habit? It’s important to know, first and foremost, that recovery is a process that is a lifetime commitment. There is no miracle cure nor does recovery happen instantaneously; breaking free from addiction is a long-term process. It happens with the support of family, friends and, in many cases, substance abuse treatment facilities.

Dual Diagnosis and Addiction Treatment

When a person is dually diagnosed with a mental disorder, treatment facilities that simultaneously treat the addiction and the illness can be highly effective in establishing long-term healthy life choices. Addiction and mental illness can be particularly challenging in treatment. The National Alliance on Mental Illness advises that individuals with Dual Diagnoses tend to be more difficult to treat and must be allowed to proceed with recovery at their own pace. It is critical to take into account the condition of the individual and establish a treatment plan that tackles both issues at once.

The types of treatment options available to an individual are dependent on the individual, the medical illness or diagnosis, and the substance addiction. The steps toward recovery, however, are largely similar among the varying addictions and co-occurring mental illnesses. A report to Congress from the U.S. Department Health and Human Services outlined helpful models for treatment, including steps of recovery.

  1. Transition. This is a vital first step in addiction treatment. This period marks the time when an individual must come to terms with their addiction and the reality of their lives. This step can be the hardest for some as it means admitting to oneself and others that a problem truly does exist.Admission into a treatment facility first requires that an individual be assessed and evaluated. This helps healthcare professionals, friends, family and the individual understand the problem at hand and the intensity of the co-occurring conditions. It also helps them to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
  2. Stabilization.  In addition to facing up to the reality of an addiction, stabilization must occur for an individual to truly begin the process of recovery. This stage may require medical intervention to ease withdrawal symptoms, especially if the individual is resistant to treatment. The use of medicine isn’t always necessary, but it may depend on the level of drug dependence. Around this time, there is a focus on detaching oneself from associations of drug use.
  3. Early, middle and late recovery. These three stages are the markers for the maintenance of sober living. At this point, individuals begin to build lives for themselves that are substance-free – establishing new relationships, encouraging exploration of new hobbies and self-expression, and understanding of the addiction and illness happens around this time. It’s hard to delineate when each of these stages ends and begins, as these phases are not marked by time but rather by personal commitment and development.
  4. Maintenance. Maintenance is long-term. This final step in recovery is a lifelong step. It is the consistency and strength that each individual builds for the rest of their lives. This step and, perhaps those before it as well, are ongoing.

The treatment process may seem daunting but it gets easier day by day. With the help and support of loved ones and caring professionals, addiction recovery is possible. Here at The Oaks at La Paloma, we specialize in addiction treatment and mental illness. We have experienced staff available to help you build a new healthy, substance-free lifestyle. Call us today.