People in Washington State struggling with substance abuse disorders such as the misuse of prescription painkillers, addiction to illicit street drugs, or the abuse of alcohol already have enough on their plate, just dealing with their addiction.
But as it turns out, they may also be struggling with a serious psychiatric condition. Rates of serious mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are all higher among alcoholics and drug addicts – and vice versa.
When a person is evaluated as having co-occurring mental and addictive disorders – or meets the criteria for such an evaluation – then they are said to have a “dual diagnosis”.
Substance abuse and mental illness are inextricably intertwined – each condition can be a factor in the development of the other, and can worsen the other if left untreated.
And there is the question – “Are there good dual diagnosis treatment centers in Washington state?”
Of course, the answer is “yes”… IF you know what to look for.
How Prevalent are Dual Diagnoses, REALLY?
Unfortunately, the rate of comorbid disorders is distressingly high:
- Half of all people with mental disorders are ALSO addicted to/dependent upon alcohol or drugs
- 53% of all drug addicts ALSO have a psychiatric disorder
- 37% of all alcoholics ALSO have a psychiatric disorder
- A huge majority of addicts/alcoholics of both sexes experienced symptoms of anxiety before they abused substances – 70% of males and 80% of females.
- Teenagers diagnosed with anxiety have a risk of addiction 3.5 times higher than the general population.
- Similarly, 53% of female and 43% of male addicts/alcoholics experienced depression before they abused substances.
- Non-abstinent depression patients with comorbid addiction will relapse into depression twice as often as those who abstain.
- Just over half of all male PTSD patients will abuse alcohol, and over a third will abuse drugs. Female PTSD patients have alcohol and drug abuse rates of 28% and 27%.
- 47% of schizophrenia patients have a co-occurring substance abuse disorder. This is a rate that is 4.5X HIGHER than that of people without the condition.
- HALF of all borderline personality disorder patients have a lifetime risk of alcohol abuse, while 38% will suffer from drug dependency.
Here’s the scariest statistic of all – just 12% of individuals with a dual diagnosis will receive proper care for both conditions.
What Do I Need to Look for in a Washington State Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center?
Unfortunately, all treatment centers are not created equal. Some facilities still use treatment models that are outdated, or worse, have been found to be ineffective.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there is currently only one recommendation for a dual diagnosis – Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders (ITCOD).
What is ITCOD?
ITCOD is a research-proven, evidence-based model of treatment for people with substance abuse disorders and co-occurring mental illnesses. “Integrated” means that are evaluated and treated by the same team of professionals at the same Washington dual diagnosis treatment center at the same time. In other words, both disorders are treated as the primary presenting condition.
Obviously, for treatment to be integrated, there needs to be a great deal of communication and cooperation between the patient, the service providers, and even the patient’s support system – i.e., their family and friends.
Everyone works together as a team with a shared philosophy, and the team might include:
- Psychiatrist/Psychologist – treating the psychiatric disorder
- Substance Abuse Counselor – treating the addictive disorder
- Therapist – individual psychotherapy, family counseling, and leading peer groups
- Medical Doctor – supervising a return to health
- Nutritionist – instilling proper eating habits that can reduce cravings
- Spouse/Partner/Other Family Members/Sober Friends – providing emotional support
- Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous Sponsor – nonprofessional recovery support
- Social Worker – referrals to needed services
- Child Protective Services – helping address parenting issues
- Judge – providing alternatives to jail time
- Probation Officer – providing accountability
A team of people working together towards a common goal – your return to wellness – is a much better option than the outdated treatment models preferred by some Washington State dual diagnosis treatment centers.
If a particular facility (A) uses an individual therapist, rather than a collaborative team of professionals, (B) tries to treat the different disorders sequentially, or (C) tries to treat the disorders at the same time, but uses unconnected providers, each with their own agendas, then you probably need to look elsewhere.
What Kind of Services Should I Expect from the Top Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center in Washington State?
Treating co-occurring disorders means offering a number of simultaneous services –
- Individual counseling/psychotherapy – to deal with the way the disorders have manifested in your life
- Peer group therapy – to discuss issues common to people with your disorders
- Couples/family therapy – to repair the damage that the disorders have done to your relationships
- 12-Step fellowship meetings – hearing the stories of others will give you a source of inspiration and strength
- Medication for both disorders – to ease cravings, reduce withdrawal symptoms, and stabilize moods
- Education – to learn more about both conditions
- Practical life skills – substituting positive behaviors for negative ones
- Avoiding triggers – staying away from the people, places, and things that could lead to relapse
- Coping mechanisms – finding positive, productive ways to deal with everyday frustrations
- Stress reduction – how to reduce or eliminate the #1 cause of relapse
- Overcoming trauma – how to safely reduce stress in ways other than self-medicating
- Proper nutrition – healthy eating to repair damage, stabilize moods, and reduce cravings
- Exercise program – to boost energy and relieve stress
- Vocational & housing assistance – how to deal with the specific ways that a personal history of substance abuse can affect your career and your housing options
- Rejoining society – making sober friends, dating, “giving back”
- Relapse prevention – how to make a plan to prevent relapse and what to do if relapse DOES occur
The Two Questions You Must Ask
If you go to a mental health professional, most do not have the specialized training to handle the co-occurring substance abuse problem.
On the other hand, most alcohol or drug treatment centers in Washington State do not have the training or resources to handle the coal-occurring psychiatric condition.
First and foremost, you need to look for a drug and alcohol treatment facility that specializes in addressing dual diagnoses. But even then, there are two questions that you must ask in order to find out if they can help you:
Who makes the determination to whether or not there is another disorder co-occurring with my addiction?
The answer you want is that you will be evaluated by a licensed and board-certified psychologist, psychiatrist, or medical doctor.
If co-occurring conditions are found, what specific services do you offer?
You want an answer that is as close as possible to the list of services shown above.
When your treatment plan is INTEGRATED – you will know that everyone is working together for your benefit. They are cooperating with each other and executing a shared treatment strategy.
When your treatment plan is COMPREHENSIVE – you will know that the goal is your total wellness in mind, body, and spirit. You will know that you are being treated as an individual, not just a catalog of symptoms.
Finding a top-quality Washington State dual diagnosis treatment facility near you will require a bit of planning and homework, but when you are returned to optimal mental and physical health, your efforts will have been well worth it.