Choosing Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Men

Choosing Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Men


To choose a dual diagnosis treatment plan is to look at two things first: the community which the facility offers, and the lifestyle that’s promoted at the facility. The way we learn to live and the peers and colleagues we meet in the addiction treatment facility are two of the biggest factors in just how effective our treatment process will be. We’re likely always going to be around our peers, and the addiction recovery community will be our first line of support even after we graduate from treatment. The community fostered at a dual diagnosis treatment facility has to be one that welcomes a young man and makes him feel safe, valued, and comfortable. As for the lifestyle supported by the treatment center, young men with a dual diagnosis will no doubt need structure, attention, and patience. Overcoming the powerful stronghold of addiction is no easy task, and learning to effectively cope with another mental illness at the same time requires a lot of dedication and commitment from both the client and the staff members they work with.

When we choose lifestyle and community over simply examining clinical qualities, we’re setting our young men up to prosper even after they leave the treatment facility. While clinically-focused programs are important and helpful, it’s the way a young man learns to live his life, coupled with the people he comes to trust and regard as friends, mentors, and confidants that will help him long after he graduates and starts living life on his own.

The accolades of the clinical program are secondary when it comes to finding a dual diagnosis treatment plan that will work. At the end of the day, it’s not just clinical testing and treatments that will make the difference in a young man’s life. It’s the way he learned to live.

Thrive Treatment℠ of Santa Monica, California is an outpatient addiction treatment center that provides dual diagnosis treatment options for clients that need guidance on how to deal with more than one mental illness. We focus on holistic treatment that’s less about doping our clients up or inhibiting their independence, and more about helping them foster a lifestyle that will make them better, stronger, more confident men. Call us at (888) 975-8474 to see how we can help you today.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

dual diagnosis treatment

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

What is Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis, aka co-occurring disorders, is a term used for individuals who struggle with both a mental disorder and alcohol or drug abuse. With dual diagnosis, either disorder can begin to appear first. People who struggle with a mental health condition will sometimes turn to drugs and/or alcohol as a form of self-medication. In turn, people who have an alcohol or drug dependency can worsen the effects of an underlying mental health condition.

If somebody is diagnosed with co-occurring disorders, they need to treat both conditions with each illness requiring a treatment plan of its own. If a treatment is going to be effective, the person needs to quit using alcohol or drugs. Finding the kind of integrated care necessary to overcome dual diagnosis can be challenging due to the completely different cultures of the mental health and substance recovery fields.

Symptoms of dual diagnosis are unique

The signs and symptoms of dual diagnosis will vary based on the type of mental disorder that is diagnosed and the drug of choice that accompanies it. To help you better understand, let’s say you know somebody who is struggling with alcohol abuse and bipolar disorder, the symptoms here will be different than those of an individual who is struggling with a heroin addiction and depression. The one thing that most dual diagnosis patients have in common is that they find it incredibly difficult to cope with their disorders and function on a day-to-day basis. Most often people with dual diagnosis struggle with:

  • Unemployment or an inability to maintain a job
  • Poverty
  • Maintaining a functional relationship
  • Chronic health complications
  • Legal issues
  • Mood swings and uncontrollable emotions

If you didn’t already know, your loved one’s personal struggles will make it nearly impossible to depend on them. They may have episodes during family gatherings, be unable to take care of themselves and hinder their family’s ability to live a normal life. When the drug problems and emotional issues of your loved one begin to affect other people in the family, it is time to seek out treatment.

dual-diagnosis-treatment

How to Treat Dual Diagnosis?

Integrated intervention is one of the best ways to treat dual diagnosis effectively. Integrated intervention is when an individual is treated for both their mental illness and drug addiction. In the 1990’s, patients were refused to be treated for their mental illness until they were able to conquer their drinking problem. This way of thinking is outdated to say the least, and doctors know that to cure a patient, effectively, both issues need to be addressed.

You and your treatment provider should work together so you both understand how each condition affects the other and how to make the treatment as effective as possible. Everyone will need their own unique treatment plan, but here are some common methods used today:

Detoxification – Detox is one of the first major hurdles for somebody with dual diagnosis. As you might expect, inpatient detox is typically more effective than outpatient as far as safety and sobriety. When a patient goes the route of inpatient detox, they are monitored at all times by a trained staff member; this can last for up to seven days. In some cases, the staff member will attempt to wean a person off the substance by administering tapering amounts to lessen the impact of withdrawal.

Inpatient Rehab – Inpatient rehabilitation is often the best treatment for somebody experiencing a mental disorder and showing patterns of drug dependency. With inpatient rehabilitation, they can receive medical and mental health care around the clock. A good treatment center will provide medication, support and therapy to help treat an individual suffering from dual diagnosis.  Intensive Outpatient Programs can also be a very effective treatment for addiction.  Thrive Treatment℠ is a IOP program with great ratings.

Sober Living – Essentially the same thing as a group home or sober house, a residential treatment center whose main objective is to help the newly sober avoid relapse. Since these homes are often not run by a licensed professional, the level of quality care will vary. Many of these homes have been criticized, so do your research before you choose one.  The Last House is a great example of a highly reviewed sober living that works.

Psychotherapy – This can be a big part of treating a dual diagnosis patient effectively. More specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy teaches people how to cope with and alter ineffective thinking patterns.

Self-help & Support Groups – The feeling of dual diagnosis is one that is challenging and isolating. In support groups, members can share frustrations and celebrate achievements. People with dual diagnosis can find others with the same affliction and receive referrals for specialists as well as recovery tips from peers. In a support group, everybody has the same goal: to get better. This kind of setting will provide individuals with a clean space that can support the growth of healthy relationships.

Receiving the treatment you or your loved one needs to cope with dual diagnosis can be difficult. Most rehabilitation facilities work with a variety of addictive behaviors, but don’t usually provide the necessary treatment for the underlying mental disorders. Traditionally, substance abuse and mental disorders have always been treated separately. Recently, addiction experts noticed the importance of integrating the treatment of substance abuse and mental disorders to form a single recovery program. The treatment of dual diagnosis should be its own discipline, combining components of substance abuse treatment with the best practices in psychiatric care.

If one of the two dual diagnosis disorders is left untreated, both will usually get worse. The combination of two separate disorders can lead to a poor response to treatments and an increased risk of other serious medical complications.

If you or a loved one is suffering from dual diagnosis, they’re not alone. Based on a national survey on drug use and health, more than eight-million people in the U.S. alone suffer from mental disorder and substance abuse simultaneously. Admitting that there is a problem is the first and most important step towards recovery. The next step is to get you or your loved one the quality care they need to get better.

Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse

It is very common for those who struggle with substance abuse to also struggle with an additional mental illness or disorder. One of the more common dual diagnoses with Substance Abuse is Bipolar Disorder.  More than half of those seeking treatment for Bipolar Disorder are also in treatment for substance abuse.

It’s important to understand Bipolar Disorder, identify it and treat it affectively. Of course, life is full of ups and down and part of being human is experiencing a range of emotions. However, Bipolar Disorder (a.k.a Manic Depressive Disorder) is characterized by extreme and unusual shifts in mood, emotion, and productiveness.

Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder about 3 percent of the U.S. population have. This mental illness usually surfaces in adolescence and in early adulthood and is a lifelong illness. Similar to substance abuse treatment, Bipolar Disorder must be carefully treated and supported throughout a person’s life.

Diagnosing someone with Bipolar Disorder can be complicated. Many times, people will be diagnosed with something like Depression before getting properly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. This delay in diagnosis can postpone or prevent treatment.

Studies show that about 60% of those with Bipolar Disorder will abuse drugs or alcohol. If Substance Abuse goes untreated, it makes the road to recovery from Bipolar nearly impossible. When someone abuses drugs and/or alcohol, it affects mood and behavior which can also mimic symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. This is why detoxing from substances is an imperative piece in the beginning stages of treatment.

Thrive Treatment℠ Center understands how crucial it is to provide a safe and superlative detox in order for treatment to be successful and long term. Once someone with substance abuse has fully detoxed, highly qualified psychiatrists and therapists can accurately diagnose patients.

The following characteristics could be symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and or Substance Abuse:

Sudden mood change.

Periods of unusual personality change like hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness.

Significantly decreased need for sleep.

Racing speech, flight of ideas, impulsiveness.

Poor financial choices.

Difficulty sleeping; early-morning awakening

There are many other symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse.

Having a Dual Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse can make treatment more difficult. In order to provide ample treatment, substance abuse treatment should occur at the same time as Bipolar Disorder treatment and in the same program.

Some of the treatment plans offered include medications and different forms of therapy. The most successful therapy modalities used are Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy and Trauma Therapies.

Recovering from Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse is very possible and treatment is effective! Thrive Treatment℠ Centers are a great place to recover and staff can guide clients to the road of recovery from Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse.

bipolar disorder and substance abuse

Anger Management in Recovery

anger management

Anger Management

by Claire Godden

“I don’t need anger management. I need everyone else to stop pissing me off”

The topic of Anger Management during recovery must not be overlooked. An addict may be using substances to control or mask anger or to numb feelings in general. But numbing and, therefore, avoiding the feeling means you will never break the cycle of anger, reactive outburst, negative consequence and subsequent fallout. Anger unchecked will destroy your relationships and your health. Handled constructively however, you can build your sense of self-worth and greatly improve relationships with others. Anger is a normal, healthy, human emotion and you absolutely can learn to manage it. The reality is that your reaction to events around you is yours and your alone.

Results of Anger

Why should you control your anger anyway? Shouldn’t you be free to express yourself?

Outbursts of anger will lead to others fearing and avoiding you. You could permanently lose important relationships or even your job. All of this in turn can lead to guilt and anxiety, both of which can lead to, or worsen, depression. Physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, headaches, and fatigue can also occur. Anger weakens your immune system. Even worse, you are putting yourself at higher risk for a stroke and heart disease.

“He who angers you conquers you” – Elizabeth Kenny

So, where to start? First, learn what triggers your anger

Anger exists because of frustration, pain, or fear. You may also be turning anger at yourself outward and blaming everyone else for things that don’t go your way. You’re frustrated because you procrastinated about job-seeking or writing an essay for college. Someone is not listening to you or doing things the way you would like them to. Your computer won’t work properly and you can’t figure out why. You feel that someone has disrespected you. You are afraid someone is deserting you or cheating on you. You’re sick and tired of your co-worker’s attitude. Your parents are asking you to do things you don’t want to do. The list can go on and on. It may take you time to practice not reacting the way you always have to situations you don’t like, but it can be done.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is about being aware of your own emotions and learning to regulate those emotions and your behavior. It is also about practicing helping others regulate their behavior and being able to read and interpret others’ emotions. EI also looks at awareness of how different social interactions affect you and how you affect the mood of any social interaction whether individual or group. You can build your emotional intelligence by paying close attention to people’s verbal responses, body language and mood when you are around them. Learn to really listen to the other person and don’t interrupt. Listen without judgement. Put yourself in their shoes and be empathetic by tuning into the other person’s feelings, thoughts and attitudes. Practice being humble. You don’t need to seek accolades for a job well done or brag about it to others. Practice being quietly confident in whatever you have achieved. The results will speak for themselves in time. Increasing your emotional intelligence will help you achieve a calmer, less frustrated existence.

Alternatives to anger and things you can do to be more calm in general

It is possible to deal with anger in a constructive way. You do not need to deny that people or situations make you angry. Acknowledging that they do so but quickly stopping that urge to react immediately is key to anger management.

*Replay an incident in your mind where your anger was out of control. Think about the effects of your emotions on the other person or people and think about how you could have handled it differently. If you re-write the script with constructive action or a calmer reaction on your part, how does it change the other person’s responses? How does it change the aftermath? Do this regularly later on in the day after an angry outburst and you will train yourself to react less aggressively and more logically.

*Take up a hobby that induces calm and that you can practice regularly. Art, writing, yoga, music, gardening, cooking, reading, You may find that you can go to this calm place in your mind when you feel angry outbursts coming on.

*Exercise. If you don’t currently exercise, start with something you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. Maybe just walking the dog at a good pace or jogging around the block. Exercise relieves stress and anything is better than nothing. If you make your goal unattainable, you will likely cause more frustration when you find that you cannot keep it up. Twenty minutes walking the dog is 20 minutes that you weren’t sitting watching TV or fuming over something that happened that day.

*Sleep. We all know that getting enough sleep is good for us. Make sure your room is dark with no distracting lights and no TV on all night. Trying reading before you sleep but not on electronic devices as the light promotes wakefulness making the brain think it’s daytime. Try to keep a regular bedtime, too.

*Avoid certain people if necessary. Avoidance doesn’t work for the long-term, of course, but you may find it helpful to avoid certain people while you are practicing managing your anger.

*Don’t expect things to change overnight. Just as it took you time to learn to react this way, it can take time to unlearn and re-learn.

*Thinking more positively in general. Try to be more aware of your thoughts in general. Do you find your self-talk to be on the negative side? Do you think the worst of people. Is everyone out to get you? Turning around those thoughts that don’t necessarily lead to angry outbursts can instill a steady sense of well-being and can help reduce your feelings of hostility to others in general.

As you reduce and eventually stop having angry outbursts, you will find that you earn more respect from others, develop a stronger sense of self-worth, and feel better physically. You will project calm, control, and confidence to those you interact with.

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist” – Indira Gandhi

anger management

Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse

Experiencing anxiety in life is inevitable. But it’s not all bad. Anxiety is a survival skill. In fact, anxiety played an important role in ancient humans. Thousands of years ago, when Homo Sapiens inhabited the earth, anxiety was used when taking action during immediate danger and problems. For example, a lion may appear in the plains and anxiety would be used to run and find safety.

Today, anxiety is still used as a tool. It can help motivate you to accomplish your assignments, to work hard, and to be cautious in various environments.

However, anxiety and anxiety disorder are different things. Anxiety disorder involves excessive worrying and fears that are intense, may last for long periods of time, and is impairing to areas of life.

Although there are different types of anxiety disorders with specific symptoms, they all have these same general symptoms, which include panic, fear or uneasiness, sleeping difficulties, difficulty staying still, cold, sweaty and numb extremities, trouble breathing, heart murmurs, stomach discomfort, muscle tension and dizziness.

There isn’t one initial cause for anxiety disorder. In reality, it’s more of a combination of biological dispositions/ genetic makeup and trauma/ environmental stress.

The five major types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social phobia. Although these mental illnesses are similar and all fall under the anxiety disorder umbrella, they do have differences in treatments and symptoms.

Although anxiety disorder can affect anyone, women and non-Hispanic whites are more likely to experience this mental illness.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. but less than 43% actually seek treatment. There are many reasons as to why people with anxiety disorder do not seek treatment. For example, mental health stigma can contribute to not seeking treatment out of shame or embarrassment. Another reason being that many people with anxiety disorder may lack insight, awareness or the tools to seek treatment.

anxiety disorder and substance abuse

It’s not uncommon for those with substance abuse problems to also suffer from one or more psychiatric disorders, like anxiety disorder. Many studies show that those diagnosed with either substance abuse or anxiety disorder are at an increased risk for developing the other. Both illnesses work together to exacerbate the illnesses symptoms.

Fortunately, anxiety disorder and substance abuse is treatable with psychotherapy, medication, mindfulness and overall health!

I’ve personally struggled with anxiety disorder and substance abuse since before I can remember. It wasn’t until I began treatment for an eating disorder ten years ago, that I realized how long I had been struggling and how I didn’t see it because it was my norm. This made me realize how possible it is for those with anxiety disorder to go their whole lives without seeking treatment, even if they experience impairments.

It was terrifying seeking treatment for many reasons. For one, I was young and not many people my age around me were openly struggling with addiction and mental illness. Two, my family and the culture I grew up in reinforced a mental health stigma, making it shameful for me to be vulnerable and ask for help. Three, treatment is expensive. By the time I was nineteen, I was working three jobs to help pay for individual therapy, eating disorder anonymous meetings, nutritionists, group therapy, etc. Although, I had barriers to recovery, I did have enough support and privilege to keep me going.

Along my recovery I was diagnosed with OCD, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Once I began taking medication, educating myself more on these illnesses, exercising, while still going to various forms of therapy, I felt my recovery reached a new level of redemption.

I still struggle and still have anxiety disorder symptoms and still have eating disorder tendencies, but my recovery is the most important thing to me and being on this path feels so much more cathartic and meaningful than being imprisoned by unhealthy habits.

Thrive Treatment℠s Intensive Outpatient programs can make it possible for you to succeed, no matter what barriers may be present. They have a strong emphasis on affordable recovery because everyone deserves to recover and to receive the upmost care. At Thrive, staff work to empower individuals to become their own recovery advocates and give you the tools necessary build a successful and personalized road to recovery.

road to recovery

ADHD in Recovery

Managing ADHD in Recovery

ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is one of the numerous psychiatric disorders I have encountered. Through these encounters I have seen the impact that this disorder has on someone’s mental well being and those around them.

Managing ADHD is hard enough on its own and throwing recovery into the mix can be a lot to handle.

Whether you have ADHD in recovery, struggle with ADHD alone or perhaps you know someone seeking sobriety with ADHD, it’s important to understand what this disorder is and how it impacts individuals and loved ones.

ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders and is described as difficulty with sitting still, trouble focusing, being messy and disorganized, being easily distracted or forgetful, and being impulsive.

The impacts alone of ADHD are significant in those diagnosed and those around them. ADHD can negatively affect education, employment, relationships, finances and quality of life. Likewise, addiction and substance abuse can negatively affect those same areas.

Many times those with addictions also struggle with mental disorders like ADHD and there is an additional risk for substance abuse in someone diagnosed with ADHD. There are various reasons that those with ADHD are more susceptible to addiction, one of them being that people with ADHD become hooked on other substances as a means of coping with the symptoms that ADHD present.adhd in recovery

It can be hard to manage ADHD symptoms and recover at the same time. However, Thrive Treatment℠ Center has expert staff that provide treatment for dual diagnoses. At Thrive, experts focus on treatment of both addiction and ADHD simultaneously. The treatment programs focus on modifying destructive thoughts and behaviors with therapies like DBT and CBT, building self esteem and motivation through trauma-focused therapy, controlling symptoms and identifying triggers with Mindfulness modalities and educating loved ones through family therapy.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse and ADHD, please call Thrive for help and for additional resources.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.”– Nelson Mandela