Effective Treatment for Dual Diagnosis Disorders
Dual Diagnosis or co-occurring disorders refers to the presence of a psychiatric disorder and a co-existing alcohol or drug use disorder. Alcohol and drug abuse disorders frequently co-occur with mood and / or anxiety disorders. For example, Major Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders that accompany alcohol or drug abuse. By having our patients record their symptom and alcohol or drug use each week in treatment, we obtain measures of number of days a patient has used any mood altering substance (substance abuse). Based on this, we have determined the average amount of time it will take in our program to achieve the desired reduction of substance use days. This is called a dose : response relationship. Determining the best dose : response relationship is how doctors and researchers determine the length of time and dose of medicine that will be required to achieve the optimal results. The dose: response curve below shows that our intensive outpatient program is very effective for reducing substance abuse, including both alcohol and drugs.
Reducing Symptoms of Depression
Most people with alcohol or drug abuse problems also experience a number of other problems. Chief among these are depression and anxiety. For example, having difficulties coping with feelings, such as being consumed by anxiety, depression or anger, are typical emotions that accompany alcoholism and drug abuse. At MHR, we have developed an integrated treatment approach in which both the substance abuse and psychiatric disorders are treated simultaneously. As people develop more effective skill to cope with their emotions, they have an easier time reducing their alcohol or drug abuse. Similarly, as their substance abuse declines, they become better able to cope with their emotions. Our goal is to help people develop optimal strategies to improve their ability to cope with their emotions and reduce their reliance on alcohol or drugs, so that we can facilitate an effective recovery. Major Depression is one of the most frequent co-occurring disorders, and in Figure 2 you can see that the severity of depression lessens each week in treatment, just as the number of days of alcohol or drug abuse declines.
Treating people experiencing depression, anxiety and co-occurring alcohol or drug abuse disorders is a professional challenge. In fact, it is common for many people to continue behaving in the same way until they hit rock bottom. By the time they are willing to seek treatment, or as is often the case, coerced into treatment, they are generally very demoralized and pessimistic. At the end of every patients treatment, we ask them to anonymously complete a client satisfaction questionnaire, in which they rate our services. Figure 3 shows that our patients are highly satisfied with their experience in treatment at MHR. Our client reviews show that our patients believe our services helped them, would recommend the program to a friend or family member involved in alcohol or drug abuse, and would return for future services if they were needed. Overall, our patients were highly satisfied with their treatment experience at MHR and most importantly rated the quality of treatment services they obtained as very high.
We have published numerous intensive outpatient program treatment outcomes studies in professional journals and our research has withstood the rigors of peer review by professional scientists. Our research has consistently shown that the majority of people who complete our intensive outpatient program will report significant improvements in reducing the number of days of alcohol and drug abuse, depression symptoms, and role functions. For example, the vast majority of our patients were able to return to work, reported improved family harmony, increased participation in social activities, and overall seem to be re-engaging in a healthy lifestyle.
However, these benefits do not come easy. To achieve these treatment results requires the full participation of the patient in every hour of treatment. However, the good news is that whether you are abusing alcohol, drugs, depressed or anxious, you too can create a successful treatment outcomes. To get the most out of treatment, you will need to receive an adequate dose of treatment in order for it to be effective. Just like other forms of treatment, achieving the maximum effects will require that you engage in the right dose of ‘medicine’ for the recommended time.
In fact, this is generally true no matter what rehab program you choose. The longer the duration of time people receive treatment for substance abuse , the better their outcomes. However, we have taken this a step further by determining what the best dose of treatment is to deliver the desired treatment outcome. But even after intensive outpatient rehab, continuing care after IOP is necessary to maintain the hard won gains made in treatment. As a result of this, we recommend that after completing IOP, you should continue to receive individual or group therapy, as well as psychiatric management, when indicated.
Our Total Client Satisfaction scores, based on 1000 consecutively
treated patients, may be found here.