Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Addictions: Four Evidence-Based Approaches

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If you’re seeking addictions treatment, it may be important to work with an individual or group that specializes in dual diagnosis treatment for addictions.

A dual diagnosis approach takes into consideration other underlying mental health concerns that may be relevant in addition to the addictions issue. If depression, anxiety, obsessive thinking, compulsive behavior or posttraumatic stress are relevant to an addiction issue, these diagnoses should be taken into consideration as part of any recovery plan.

Here are four treatment modalities that may be effective, according to research, in treating dual diagnosis cases.

Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment (IDDT)

Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment is an evidence-based model of treatment that takes a whole-person approach to treatment that incorporates that each client’s background to create a plan to address their specific needs. It is a multidisciplinary approach that emphasizes family involvement in services.

It follows the “housing first” principle of treatment due to the theory that a person cannot respond to treatment in a beneficial way if they are worried/anxious about where they will live or if they will lose their home for making a mistake.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT

Similar to IDDT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a treatment that can be labeled evidence-based (for more info on the requirements to get that label, go here). CBT is a psychotherapy that is used to treat many mental health disorders, including addiction.go here

CBT actively addresses the relationship between negative thoughts and destructive behaviors by teaching the client, or providing an opportunity for them to teach themselves, a new way to think.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

This is another evidence-based treatment. Dialectical Behavior Therapy works well for those who become resentful or stubborn during traditional therapy when discussion of changing behaviors is interpreted as criticism.

DBT gives the client a great deal of validation, leaving issues of change for once the relationship between therapist and client is solid. The goal is for the clients to learn to engage in constructive behavior even when a strong emotion, like craving or anxiety, grips them. This therapy is time-intensive, but it has research confirming its effectiveness.

Foundations Model

This method of treatment emphasizes a motivational, non-confrontational approach to dual diagnosis treatment. The places following this model also provide integrated treatment, treating both addiction and mental illness in the same facility.

Client-directed treatment also is a pillar of this method, recognizing, like the previous methods, that the individual needs of each client should dictate the treatment for that person.

Although not officially an evidence-based method of treatment, this treatment method has an impressive record. The facilities in the Foundations Network have the lowest drop-out rate of any in the field and also have a 70-80% abstinence rate in clients a year after being released from treatment.

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The Housing First Method
I am really excited by the Housing First movement. It stops the cycle of punishment with addicts that requires a person to get sober before helping them find a stable place to live. Great results with those places following this theory, too.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Addictions: Four Evidence-Based Approaches

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