Historically, addiction treatment programs, drug rehab programs and psychiatric hospitals, have treated dual diagnosis separately. This has not proved to be an effective addiction treatment approach and today most addiction treatment programs, drug rehabs and psychiatric hospitals treat both disorders concurrently.
Ideally, drug addiction, alcoholism and psychiatric disorders should be treated simultaneously.
The first step in addiction treatment for drug addiction or alcohol addiction must be detoxification or detox – a period of time during which the body is allowed to cleanse itself of alcohol and/or drugs and all withdrawal symptoms managed.
Detox should be medically monitored as medical challenges do occur. Time in detox varies, depending on what substances the person is addicted to, the frequency of use and amount of usage.
Once stable in detox, a psychiatrist will assess the person to determine the mental illness and how to best address it. Addiction treatment programs or drug rehab programs for this population should take a gradual approach. Those with a dual diagnosis have to proceed at their own pace.
The goal of any quality drug addiction treatment program or drug rehab program should be abstinence and medication compliance.
After completing drug addiction treatment or drug / alcohol rehab, the person should be involved in psychiatric follow up and aftercare in the drug rehab or addiction treatment program they have completed in order to prevent relapse.
Denial is an inherent part of the problem with dual diagnosis. The person with dual diagnosis often does not have insight as to the seriousness and the scope of their problem. In many cases, an intervention is required to get the person into addiction treatment or drug rehab so the recovery process can begin