Dual diagnosis treatment: how does it differ from inpatient alcohol treatment? 

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By Kaleem Ullah

You may have heard the term “dual diagnosis” before during the last time that you were in rehab or if you were seeking help at a doctor’s office. If you heard this term, but you were unsure of what it was, it could directly relate to the type of treatment that you need to help your current mental health and addiction issues. If you find that you are addicted to alcohol or drugs and you are struggling to get clean and stay sober, sometimes it can be due to the presence of another condition occurring at the same time as your addiction.


For those with a dual diagnosis, patients have an underlying mental health or personality disorder that is coupled with substance abuse. 


Many times, we see patients who have schizophrenia and alcoholism or anxiety and drug use. The presence of any mental disorder or personality condition with addiction is very common – you do not have to feel alone if you need to attend a dual diagnosis treatment center instead of just inpatient alcohol treatment. 


Let’s see a few reasons why you should attend this type of treatment center if you have two co-occurring disorders and how it differs from inpatient alcohol treatment.

  • It is very common – One of the main things to keep in mind when you are going to a dual diagnosis treatment center is that it is more common than you may think. Although going to an inpatient alcohol treatment center is very common for those who have drinking problems, you may find that the facilities that offer dual diagnosis treatment are just as big and busy as those that focus solely on alcoholism. Many people have a combination of addiction and mental illness, such as nervousness, chronic anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder coupled with addictions to drugs, alcohol, etc. 
  • Different dual diagnoses are possible – The second difference between a dual diagnosis treatment center and inpatient alcohol treatment is that in the dual diagnosis center, the staff can find multiple dual diagnoses in the patients. Whereas in the alcohol inpatient center – where every person there is an alcoholic – there can be various types of dual diagnosis in the rehab facility. Patients have one type of mental disorder – whether it be a personality issue or mental health concern – and addiction to a substance. 
  • Harder to diagnose – The third difference between a dual diagnosis treatment center and inpatient alcohol treatment is that a dual diagnosis is harder to treat and identify. Since alcoholism is a one-trick-pony in the terms of it being a single issue that you can diagnose and treat a bit quicker than you would with dual diagnosis, it typically takes less time for the patient to get clean and sober. When it comes to dual diagnosis patients, the staff has to treat the mental health concern and the substance abuse at the same time – so it can take longer and be more difficult than diagnosing and treating alcoholism


As you can see, attending a dual diagnosis treatment center can be the best way that you diagnose any untreated mental illness and deal with an addiction issue. Unlike an inpatient alcohol treatment center, which has to just treat those with a drinking problem, staff at a dual diagnosis center will have to treat the mental health concern and the addiction issue simultaneously