Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Many who suffer from addiction also have other mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and schizophrenia. The NIDA reports that about 50% of people with substance use disorders also have a mental illness, and vice versa. A person diagnosed with both a substance use disorder and mental illness is known to have a dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders.
Patients with a dual diagnosis need specialized therapy that addresses both disorders — otherwise, those who are treated for one disorder and not the other will face a higher risk of relapse. For instance, a person with alcohol use disorder and depression may start drinking again after leaving rehab if they are only treated for alcohol dependence and don’t know how to cope with or manage symptoms of depression. On the other hand, a person who is only treated for depression and not alcohol use disorder will continue drinking, and may once again develop symptoms of depression due to the way alcohol affects brain function and chemical balance.
A study published in the Journal of Systems and Integrative Neuroscience examined the effects of dual diagnosis treatment in 804 patients with co-occurring alcohol and mental health disorders. By the end of the one-year study period, co-occurring mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and opioid or cocaine abuse decreased by between 66% and 95% at months one, six, and 12. Many drug and alcohol rehab centers offer dual diagnosis treatment in their recovery programs.