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Dual Diagnosis: What it Means and How We Treat Addiction While Treating Depression or Other Diagnoses


In so many cases, the clients who come to Luminance Recovery Centers arrive for detox from any number of drugs — but what they don’t know in some cases is that they have a predisposition to addiction because of mental illness or clinical depression. Dual diagnosis, as a term used in the medical community, is usually used to refer to people with bipolar disorder who also struggle with addiction. But at Luminance, we use dual diagnosis to treat those facing addiction as well as any other mental health disorder, including chronic depression, PTSD, manic depression, general anxiety disorder (GAD), and others. By treating the whole person rather than just the addiction, our doctors and therapists are able to get to the root issue that likely caused the person to self-medicate with street drugs or painkillers in the first place.

What Makes Dual Diagnosis Different from Rehab or Mental Health Care?

In years past, those with mental health disorders were treated differently, whether they had issues with addiction or not: in many instances, this may have meant being treated only for addiction and referring the person to another doctor or facility for mental health. Today, after many innovations and a better understanding of the drivers behind addiction, dual diagnosis allows doctors and therapists to treat the whole person — it’s a way of combining the winning attributes of mental health care with the effective methodologies that work for substance abuse recovery. The key difference in this progressive form of treatment is this: rather than treating someone solely for drug addiction or only for a psychiatric diagnosis, in dual diagnosis mental health and addiction are treated in tandem.

How Would I Be Diagnosed, and What Comes Next in Dual Diagnosis?

To be diagnosed with a mental health disorder, regardless of which one it is, a psychiatrist or qualified therapist at Luminance Recovery will work with you to determine what your diagnosis is. Once this has been established, your team of doctors and therapists will work out a program for your dual diagnostic recovery program. This program will include (and begin with) detoxification from the drug(s) you’re addicted to.

The next step is to ensure you are able to attend group therapy sessions, where you will interact with others in a dual diagnosis and/or rehab group working through challenges similar to yours. You’ll have several sessions a day with a variety of therapists, counselors, doctors, and other support staff — this is to keep track of both your mental health diagnosis and to track progress with your addiction and recovery. Each specialist you see will work with you on a different subset of your dual diagnosis, but all will work in unison to track overall growth, development, and advancement through both sides of the program.

Your Commitment to Recovery in Dual Diagnosis: Understand Your Diagnosis

We know there is a definite relationship between a range of mental health diagnoses and drug/alcohol abuse and addiction. The core purpose and goal of dual diagnosis for each individual is to develop an understanding about each unique individual’s diagnosis and how it relates to their unique drug of choice and how to best treat that. Because dual diagnosis is a more involved process than drug rehab alone, those with a dual diagnosis can expect to stay at a Luminance Recovery Center for 60–90 days.

Because each person is different, each course of treatment will be different, and your team of doctors and support staff will work hard to ensure your course of treatment and the therapies you’re involved in are the most beneficial to your overall health and mental welfare.

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