Going Deep in Dual Diagnosis
As a seasoned intervention counselor and licensed psychotherapist, I have learned how truly important it is to ensure that the patient is provided every opportunity to receive a proper clinical diagnosis.
Enough symptomatic topsoil needs to be removed, before the patient can get in touch with their own emotional bedrock – the place where real healing can occur.
A Multidisciplinary Treatment Approach
Drug rehab professionals have the opportunity to significantly improve overall treatment outcomes by identifying the root causes of addiction, and then effectively treating them with a multidisciplinary, solution-focused, and compassionate approach.
With a professional mental health diagnosis in place, drug rehab providers can effectively treat both the overriding and overtly daunting symptoms of addiction, in addition to those of the underlying, and perhaps the more elusive mental health issues and disorders embedded deep within the patient’s core. I recommend working together with other like-minded addiction and mental health professionals forming a unified treatment team, ultimately using all clinical findings to create a comprehensive treatment plan.
Here is a list of some of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders found right alongside symptoms of addiction:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Major Depression
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Introducing the Diagnostic Foundations
Recovery is a process, a slow process at times, one that often requires a subtle, yet compassionately firm hand to move it right along. Given all of the potential multi-dimensional underlying issues that could be fueling the fire of substance abuse and addiction, I firmly believe that it is imperative for drug rehab centers to apply the most comprehensive diagnostic tools available if the expectation is to effectively establish a proper clinical diagnosis.
Here are some diagnostic tools your drug rehab provider may chose to consider:
- Alcohol Use Inventory
- Beck Depression Inventory
- PRISM-IV, Psychiatric Research Interview for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders
- Psychosocial Pain Inventory
- MCMI III, Milan Multiaxial Clinical Inventory 3
- MMPI2, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2
- WMS, Wechsler Memory Scale
Affected Others to Be Proactive
Concerned families and friends can play a vital role in the recovery process. All those impacted by the disease of addiction and mental illness should feel empowered to systematically advocate with purpose and direction on behalf of their addicted loved ones. Rather than taking the role of the squeaky wheel, making just enough noise to get noticed, affected others are encouraged to be proactive by communicating openly with the program, presenting both their individual, as well as their collective issues, concerns, and expectations, in many cases, even before their loved one ever admits into treatment.
Perhaps equally as important, I encourage affected others to come from a place of unified strength, being ready to adapt to change without negotiating away both their individual and their collective conscience. And finally, I recommend a genuine willingness to explore their potential role in both the evolution of the underlying issues, as well as in the implementation of solution focused strategies to support the recovery process for all those impacted.
Now, given the importance of establishing an accurate clinical diagnosis, in addition to providing a historical record of milestones, medications, and mishaps, I recommend that families consider providing the program with any and all documentation that may help establish a more comprehensive mental health diagnosis, if one is to be found.
The documentation can then be reviewed with the patient’s treatment team who will then be able to use the historical information as clinically appropriate.
Here is a short list of some of the documentation that may help the drug rehab center establish a more solid diagnostic foundation for dual diagnosis treatment:
- Court Records
- Medical Records
- Psychiatric evaluations
- Psychological testing
- School records
At the end of the day, the deeper the dual diagnosis treatment, the better the outcome. In fact, treating addiction can be similar to treating cancer, in that the more invasive the treatment, the better the prognosis is for long term recovery.
Therefore, I recommend working with a drug rehab center that meets their clients where they are at, and then is able to take them as deep as they may need to go to get to the root of their individual underlying addiction issues. Similar to properly supporting the cancer patient immediately following surgery, or even after a powerful dose of chemotherapy, I strongly suggest finding a drug rehab center that is able to provide their clients with the therapeutic tools to recover with dignity while their emotional wounds slowly heal after going deep in dual diagnosis treatment.