An addict who receives a dual diagnosis is said to be suffering from at least one psychiatric disorder and one addiction. Sometimes there are multiple addictions as well. The result is an individual who will be complex to treat in rehab.
Usually the physician in rehab will try to determine the primary problem; sometimes it is a psychiatric disorder fueling the addiction and sometimes it is the other way around – the psychiatric disorder has been created by the drugs.
Usually it is a matter of frequent self-medication with drugs, alcohol or both along with a concurrent psychiatric or emotional problem. No matter what the cause the first step in rehab treatment is usually detoxification. This usually takes place under medical supervision. Depending on the nature of the dual diagnosis this can take from a few days for a week or more depending on what kind of toxic stew has been created in the person’s body.
The rehabilitation part of treatment for dual diagnoses usually includes individual and group psychotherapy, exercise, education about nutrition, education about drug and alcohol use and a twelve-step recovery program. Pain management therapy and occupational skills training might also be part of the recovery program.
There are out-patient treatments for dual diagnosis individuals but long term hospitalization and rehab treatment is recommended just simply because people with this problem have medical issues that become very complex.
Family and friends often are part of recovery. Family members often get therapy to help themselves cope with the person with dual diagnosis and get educated about how not to enable their habits. They will also learn how to be more calm and understanding when it comes to dealing directly with the addict and what to do in the event that the dual diagnosis patient relapses once outside the vigilance and discipline that they experience in a drug treatment facility.