Dual Diagnosis/Co-Occurring Disorders

Dual diagnosis/co-occurring disorders refer to the presence of both a mental illness and a substance use disorder. For individuals with severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, substance abuse is the most common dual-diagnosis. Also called co-occurring disorders or co-morbidity, dual diagnosis presents a unique problem in substance abuse treatment. Traditionally, mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment have been managed separately. For individuals with dual-diagnosis, however, it is essential that both the mental health and the substance abuse components are thoroughly addressed simultaneously.

Treating individuals with dual-diagnosis is a complex process, requiring a multi-faceted approach to attend to the compounded needs and problems present with the patient. Being that the individual is affected by two separate illnesses, the illnesses interact and exacerbate one another, predisposing relapse or inducing symptoms in the other disorder. Symptoms from each illness can also overlap, making accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment more difficult to identify.

The Addiction Recovery Center of Temecula uses an extensive assessment process that allows for the accurate diagnosis of co-occurring disorders. This provides the ability to develop a individual treatment for addiction and co-occurring psychiatric disorders based on the specific needs of the patient. The educational portion of the treatment program is tailored to develop an in-depth understanding of the neurobiology of addiction and its interaction with any present psychiatric disorders. Beginning with the recognition that psychiatric relapse is a prominent component to addictive relapse is a key topic in the treatment program. By educating the patient on the dynamics of the specific psychiatric condition and addiction, moving forward to understanding the need for a recovery plan that integrates the issues present in the addiction and the mental disorder strengthens the foundation for retaining strong and successful recovery.

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