Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program in Maine

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program in Maine

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Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program in Maine


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Maybe you’re curious about what dual diagnosis treatment looks like. You might also be curious about what’s meant by dual diagnosis and how it differs from conventional substance use treatment. You may even be wondering if treatment is useful.

We’re going to help you explore these issues and more so that you are well informed before starting treatment. The road to recovery is there for you as long as you’re willing to walk it. Getting the support you need will help you stay on track even when things are tough.

What Does Dual Diagnosis Mean?

You have probably seen this term coming up when looking into substance use programs. Many of them mention dual diagnosis treatment programs, and some even differentiate between conventional substance use treatment and dual diagnosis treatment. What is the difference?

Dual diagnosis, formerly known as co-occurring, means that the treatment program helps clients who are diagnosed both with a substance use and mental health disorder. This can refer to any combination of the two issues. Some examples include:

These are only examples. A dual diagnosis can be any combination of mental health and substance use concerns. It can be a spectrum as well. Some people come as polysubstance users and just one mental health diagnosis whereas others have numerous mental health diagnoses and one substance use concern.

Is Dual Diagnosis Common?

The truth is that dual diagnosis concerns are very common. About half of those suffering from a substance use disorder have or will develop dual diagnosis concerns. This represents a large portion of clients. In Maine, depression is a major dual diagnosis concern. In fact, Maine sits among the top 10 states with the highest rates of adults diagnosed with depression. Many of these individuals turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to deal with their symptoms.

Some clients go undiagnosed until they are in treatment. They may have had subclinical concerns, such as being tense but not quite anxious, that became worse from use. Others turn to substances to cope with their mental health conditions, but then they find it difficult to stop using. One concern often feeds the other, which can lead to a push-and-pull in the mind of discomfort and trying to ease that discomfort.

Another thing to consider is that both the mental health concern and substance use tend to get worse as they interact with each other. Let’s take anxiety and alcohol use as an example. Someone who is anxious may turn to alcohol so they stop feeling as anxious. They begin depending on alcohol whenever they are anxious, which means that they seek out drinking whenever that discomfort comes up. On the other hand, they find they no longer have to deal with the anxiety with their own natural coping skills, which means that the anxiety gets worse and won’t decrease unless alcohol is being consumed.

In this case, the alcohol use and anxiety will escalate to match each other. A client like this will find it harder to cope with anxiety, which will lead to increased alcohol use. While this is common and it is true that the two conditions can make recovery more difficult, it’s still possible to recover as long as you have the insight and support needed to push you forward.

Which Is Treated First?

Before dual diagnosis became so common, it was said that only one issue could be treated at a time. Many clinicians would say they cannot treat the mental health disorder until the substance use disorder was completely handled.

This methodology doesn’t align with modern treatment philosophy, however. Modern clinicians will treat both the substance use and the mental health concerns simultaneously. As stated above, the two tend to feed each other. If only one half is being treated, then that means the other half of your needs is being neglected.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that every session or group will spend equal time on substance use and mental health. You might present to one session having more mental health concerns, and then the next you’ll feel more cravings and need to discuss your substance use.

A clinician will be able to discuss both while balancing them appropriately. Just like how the two feed each other and tend to make each other worse, a clinician will be able to discuss one while talking about the other. For example, a session targeted more towards your substance use may discuss how mental health disorders increase discomfort, which can increase cravings.

This is why you want to attend a treatment program that matches your needs. This will ensure that you get the skilled and targeted treatment you need to alleviate distress and overcome substance use.

Types of Treatment

There are several levels of treatment available for dual diagnosis treatment. If you’ve looked into different treatment types for substance use, then these may look familiar. While the sessions and groups are organized a little differently in terms of content, the levels of treatment themselves are basically the same.

Choosing the right level for yourself can be tough because it’s hard to know exactly how much clinical time and attention you need. A clinician can help guide you by hearing your concerns, your stressors, and your reasons for seeking treatment.

Detox Programs

If you’re having a difficult time stopping substance use on your own, or if therapy alone hasn’t been able to stop you, then a detox program in Maine can be very beneficial. Each facility is different, but you usually get around three to seven days of 24/7 care.

Also referred to as inpatient treatment, this means that you’ll be at the facility until the detox is complete. While the detox is slightly different depending on what substances you used, all clients will find that they can get away from their stressors for a few days to focus on their wellness.

Not only can you get away from stressors, but you can also recover from withdrawal in a medical setting. While withdrawal symptoms typically aren’t fatal by themselves, many people will accidentally overdose during this time because they are so uncomfortable. The inpatient level of care ensures that you are in the best hands and getting all the medical attention you need during this vulnerable time.

Medication-assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment, also known as MAT, is very useful for certain substance use concerns. While most of the options are available for heroin and opiate use, there are also several medications that help with cravings for alcohol and some other substances.

Some people feel they need to be “strong” and go cold turkey to really recover from substance use. While that method is admirable, it also opens you up to cravings and is usually less effective than using available MAT options. The benefit of MAT is that it reduces cravings while also staving off withdrawal symptoms.

Keep in mind that every bit of discomfort and stress makes it more likely that you will relapse. MAT physically reduces cravings by engaging your opiate receptors. It also keeps away uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms by slowly weaning you off the substance. Many MAT options also prevent you from getting high even if you do try to relapse.

While MAT isn’t for everyone, we urge you to hear out the benefits and to keep an open mind. This has helped many people obtain long-term abstinence and we want you to have every possible advantage in this fight.

Partial Hospitalization Program

A partial hospitalization program, or PHP, is designed to give you significant clinical time while also allowing you to go home to your friends and family. In many respects it’s a combination of hospitalization and outpatient treatment, giving you the best of both.

Most PHP programs give you around 30 hours of clinical time. This is mostly spent in groups, but you’ll also attend medical exams and individual therapy sessions. You will go five days a week, and you will receive targeted treatments to help you and your peers recover.

This gets you away from your stressors for most of the day, but it also allows you to go back home to sleep in your own bed. Many people enjoy this aspect of it because you get the services you need without having to stop living your life.

PHP is often used as a step down from detox or if intensive outpatient has proven unsuccessful. Speak to your clinician for more information and to see if PHP is right for you.

Intensive Outpatient

Intensive outpatient, or IOP, represents 10 hours of clinical time. You can think of this as an advanced form of outpatient group therapy. You can still go to work, live at home, and see your friends and family members, but it gives you the clinical time you need to recover.

Nine of these hours are spent in group therapy. This is split between three days and three hours each session. You will work with a therapist and other peers as you all move forward on the road to recovery. These group sessions allow you to engage with other members while you all learn coping skills for mental health and sobriety.

The last hour is spent in weekly individual sessions. This gives you a chance to discuss issues that you might be hesitant to bring up during group. Many people find this useful for stepping down from higher levels of care or if outpatient therapy wasn’t enough support.

Outpatient Therapy

The lowest level of care is outpatient therapy. This typically represents one hour of clinical time per week. Some offices also include a one-hour group session to go along with this, so be sure to discuss this with your clinician.

This allows you to discuss your unique pattern of use along with your mental health concerns with your individual counselor. The two of you will work together to help you recover from substance use while also learning useful tools for coping with stress and discomfort. For those who are stepping down or who have mild substance use issues, outpatient therapy is typically enough support to help you overcome your concerns.

Self-Help Groups

There are also many self-help groups that can provide additional support. These groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and SMART Recovery, are able to connect you with peers so that you can all recover together.

These groups typically provide meeting times outside normal business hours, which may make them more attractive depending on your schedule. Another benefit is that you can find a sponsor and other people who want to recover while also helping you on your journey.

Reach Out for Help Today

Dual diagnosis treatment is incredibly useful for those suffering from substance use and mental health concerns. It has been found that many people with one also suffer from the other, so this is more common than you might think. If you are suffering from a dual diagnosis concern or feel that your mental health isn’t being given enough attention in a substance use program, then consider dual diagnosis treatment.

We at Liberty Bay Recovery Center focus on helping Maine residents overcome their substance use and mental health concerns, and we would love to help you next. Contact us today, and we can create a tailored treatment plan to suit your needs.