Many of the twenty-one million Americans diagnosed with a substance use disorder also struggle with one or more mental health conditions. Depending on the individual and their specific symptoms, they may be aware of only one diagnosis (or the other) before realizing they have a dual diagnosis. Statistics show nearly half of the individuals who seek addiction treatment also meet the diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder. 

Dual diagnosis, also referred to as a co-occurring disorder, are closely connected. Although research does not clearly prove one causes the other, struggles with substance abuse or addiction can often lead to maladaptive coping mechanisms and symptoms of new or worsening mental health conditions. Those who struggle with an undiagnosed or even a diagnosed mental health disorder often abuse alcohol or drugs to reduce the intensity of the symptoms they experience. Unfortunately, self-medicating in this way causes side effects, including new or worsening mental health symptoms.

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

When you have a dual diagnosis, it means you have both a substance use disorder and a mental health diagnosis simultaneously. Dual diagnosis conditions often share similar root causes and overlapping symptoms, making treating one disease without acknowledging the impacts of the other very difficult and not beneficial to you. If you have a dual diagnosis, the best option is to complete an addiction treatment program at a facility where treatment professionals are trained to address co-occurring disorders. Dual diagnosis treatment allows the individual and the treatment team to focus on all areas of the problem providing the most comprehensive opportunity for recovery. 

The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers in California

Data provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) over 8.5 million adults (or approximately 4%) over the age of eighteen struggled with a dual diagnosis in 2017. Most dual diagnosis treatment centers in California provide programs that consist of several parts, including detox, assessment, treatment, and aftercare. A quality dual diagnosis treatment program will include elements that address both your addiction and mental health needs. If necessary, depending on the duration and severity of your addiction, the first step in treatment will be detox. The detox process is crucial to help cleanse your body of substances, allowing you to begin your journey to sobriety safely. 

Without detox, it is considerably more difficult to completely immerse yourself in the therapy process as issues such as cravings, triggers, and even relapse are in the way. During your treatment, you will have the opportunity to participate in a range of therapies, including group, individual, and family counseling sessions. In many programs, 12-step programs are also available. As your treatment comes to an end, your providers will work with you to design a robust aftercare plan that includes ongoing therapy and support throughout the earliest (and often most challenging) days of recovery. 

If you struggle with a mental health condition and the symptoms of addiction, dual diagnosis treatment in California at Cal Recovery is vital to ensuring your best opportunity for recovery. Unfortunately, not all addiction treatment programs are equipped to address the unique nature of dual diagnosis treatment. 

Although all programs strive to provide evidence-based, comprehensive treatment to help you overcome your struggle with drugs or alcohol, they may not offer adequate co-occurring disorder therapy to help provide a deeper understanding of the roots of both conditions. Therefore, it is critical to research each program you consider before committing to one that may not meet all your treatment needs. If you would like to learn more about how a dual diagnosis treatment center in California can help you, reach out to the team at Cal Recovery today. 

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