Dual diagnosis means a doctor has determined you have a concurrent substance use disorder and mental health disorder. Also referred to as co-occurring disorders or comorbidity, almost 23 million Americans aged 18 or older struggled with a dual diagnosis in 2020, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Tragically, only a small percentage receive the treatment they need.
What are Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders?
A substance use disorder (SUD) refers to either alcohol or drug dependence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines SUD as “treatable, chronic diseases characterized by a problematic pattern of use of a substance or substances leading to impairments in health, social function, and control over substance use.”
Mental health experts classify mental disorders as “any mental illness” (AMI) or “serious mental illness” (SMI). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, AMI can range from mild to severe, while those with SMI often have severe functional impairment in their activities of daily life.
Health experts warn the number of those with substance use disorder, mental health disorder, and dual diagnosis has increased significantly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Treatment for Dual Diagnosis
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has instituted a “no wrong door” policy urging health professionals to routinely screen all those needing or seeking treatment for mental health or substance use disorder for the presence of both. SAMHSA experts stress the importance of treating co-occurring conditions simultaneously, explaining that integrated screening and treatment provide the most successful patient outcomes.
Unfortunately, not all treatment centers have the expertise to identify and treat cases of dual diagnosis. The National Institute on Drug Abuse cites research finding only about 18 percent of treatment programs for substance use disorder and 9 percent of mental health programs have protocols in place to provide quality treatment to those with co-occurring conditions.
For this reason, it is essential that you do your research when seeking the best dual diagnosis treatment center to meet your needs.
Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center
Dual diagnosis is complex to identify and treat. Finding a treatment center with the staff, credentials, protocols, and experience to successfully treat co-occurring disorders is essential for the best chance of long-term recovery.
Don’t hesitate to press for answers to the following questions before committing to a treatment center.
1. Is the facility licensed and credentialed?
Legitimate treatment facilities are state-licensed and accredited by one or more of the following accrediting bodies: the Joint Commission (JCAHO), the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), or the Council on Accreditation (COA). Only facilities whose staff and programs adhere to the highest standards of training and care are awarded accreditation by these respected agencies.
2. Do they provide medical detox services?
If a person is physically dependent on an addictive substance and abruptly stops using it, they will experience withdrawal symptoms as they detox. Many factors impact the severity of symptoms, and withdrawal can be life-threatening for some. Even if symptoms are not severe, withdrawal can cause anxiety and other physical and mental discomforts.
Medically supervised detox ensures the patient remains safe and comfortable throughout withdrawal.
3. What level of staffing remains on site 24/7?
A quality program will readily share information regarding staff training, experience, credentials, and protocols regarding on-site personnel around the clock.
4. Does the program provide a full continuum of care?
A full continuum of care means the facility provides a comprehensive program to support all stages of recovery, including detox support, evidence-based treatment protocols to address dual diagnosis, and an aftercare program.
A rehab facility offering a full continuum of care may provide the following:
- Medical Detox
- Behavioral Therapy
- Partial Hospitalization
- Residential Services
- Inpatient Treatment
- Outpatient Treatment
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)
- Family Support
5. What is their success rate?
How do they define patient success? What is their track record in treating dual diagnosis? Where can you access patient testimonials and other reviews?
6. Will insurance cover some or all of the treatment?
Ask the following questions, but always verify the information with your insurance company:
- Do they accept your insurance? If so, are they in-network or out-of-network?
- Do they bill your insurance directly?
- If you are not insured, what does the program cost? Is a payment plan an option?
Bridges of Hope Specializes in Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Are you or a loved one struggling with a dual diagnosis? At Bridges of Hope, we understand how incredibly challenging life is for those with co-occurring disorders, putting them at greater risk of relapse, housing insecurity, broken relationships, long-term hospitalization, financial or legal problems, and more.
We are a Joint Commission-accredited dual diagnosis treatment program specializing in treating substance use and mental health disorders. Our highly skilled staff blends compassion and empathy with therapeutically proven, evidence-based clinical practices to achieve excellent patient outcomes.
Our program provides a full continuum of care, utilizing an integrated approach to addressing all issues related to substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues. We will guide you safely through withdrawal and teach you the skills you need to achieve long-term recovery.
Contact us. We will gladly answer all your questions.