Dual diagnosis (also sometimes referred to as co-occurring conditions) is a clinical term that refers to patients who are struggling with two or more mental or behavioral health issues (often a mood disorder and a substance abuse/addiction problem). The importance of identifying and addressing dual diagnosis is that, in most cases, the conditions will influence or be influenced by each other. For example, a person who struggles with depression may begin abusing alcohol in a misguided attempt to self-medicate the depression symptoms. As the alcohol abuse progresses into alcoholism, the damage wrought by that disorder exacerbate the depression symptoms, which can, in turn, lead to more drinking. If a treatment program addresses one of the conditions without providing solutions for the other one, the likelihood of successful recovery can be significantly compromised.
Some people who enter an addiction rehab center do not realize that they have been dealing with dual diagnosis until they complete a thorough psychological assessment. In other cases, the dual diagnosis may not emerge until rehab is already underway. For example, it may become apparent that a patient is suffering from an underlying mental health condition while receiving treatment for an addiction. Due to the absence of substances, the symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or another condition can emerge and require care as well.
It is possible for a dual diagnosis patient to be dealing with more than two disorders. For example, a woman who is diagnosed with an eating disorder may also be struggling with an addiction to prescription pills as well as underlying depression. And while many cases of dual diagnosis involve alcoholism or another form of drug addiction, this is not always the case. In the example cited earlier in this paragraph, the patient’s struggle with both an eating disorder and a depressive disorder would meet the criteria for dual diagnosis.
Life Center of Galax, in Virginia, is an addiction treatment center that is well-equipped to care for those individuals battling a mental illness and chemical dependency concern. Our innovative programming options and the effective therapeutic interventions we utilize can help greatly improve the lives of those who wish to overcome such obstacles.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Convincing a friend or family member to get professional treatment for an addiction or another mental health or behavioral disorder can be a difficult proposition. When the individual in question is dealing with multiple disorders, the challenge can be even greater – but so can the urgency and necessity of getting help from a reputable addiction rehab center. The following suggestions may be of value in your effort to encourage a loved one to get professional help for his or her co-occurring conditions:
- When faced with any challenge, education is always an excellent place to start. With dual diagnosis, the complexity of the problem demands that that you educate yourself about the individual disorders, the way they may interact with each other, and the rehab options that are available.
- It may be to your benefit to consult with an expert. Depending upon the issues that your loved one is facing, speaking with a counselor, therapist, mental health advocate, physician, or interventionist on your own can help to clarify the challenge and develop possible solutions.
- Discuss your concerns and suggestions with your loved one in a safe, nonthreatening environment. Depending upon your relationship, and the presence or absence of others who may be able to help, this conversation can take place either one-on-one or in a group. Acknowledging that you’re aware of his/her problems and can offer possible solutions can be an essential first step.
- Offer specific solutions, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to get the proverbial ball rolling. If your loved one is hesitant to visit a residential treatment center on his/her own, volunteer to go along. If he or she does not like the first program you visit, make arrangements to find other centers that may be able to help. Your presence can be a morale-booster, and your active involvement can turn treatment from a hope into a reality.
- That said, do not overdo things. Just because you have seen dramatic interventions on TV or in movies does not mean you are prepared to stage one. If an intervention is necessary, get a disinterested expert to act as a facilitator. Even if you are not in an intervention situation, remember that your goal is to help and support, not take control or “lay down the law.”
Ultimately, your loved one’s decision to enter in an addiction rehab center will be just that – his or her decision. But by retaining an active positive presence in his or her life, you can be a lifeline from the depths of dual diagnosis to the promise of a healthier and happier future.
Why Consider Treatment at Life Center of Galax, in Virginia
Overcoming addiction, depression, bipolar, eating disorders, or any other mental/behavioral disorder is a difficult task. Attempting to overcome multiple disorders can be a monumental undertaking. Trying to do any of this without the involvement of a qualified healthcare provider falls somewhere on the continuum between highly improbable and downright impossible. On their own, addiction, depression, and related condition can be insidious disorders – in combination, they can overwhelm a person’s ability to merely get through the day, much less actually grow, prosper, and enjoy life. Alcoholism and other forms of addiction can inflict severe physical and emotional damage on an afflicted individual. If that person is also struggling with an eating disorder, bipolar disorder, or depression, his or her suffering can be exponentially worse. Many mental health disorders are isolating conditions that preclude a person from asking for help, accessing care, or even feeling worthy of receiving assistance. Factoring in the reality that many dual diagnosis patients do not even realize they are struggling with multiple conditions until they are diagnosed during treatment, the likelihood of a full return to health in the absence of professional intervention is virtually nonexistent. At an effective comprehensive residential treatment center, trained professionals with specific expertise in treating dual diagnosis patients offer the opportunity for a significantly improved quality of life and the hope of continued improvement in the months and years following treatment.[important position=”none” ] If you feel that you are in crisis, or are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.[/important]
Types of Treatment Offered at Life Center of Galax
Life Center of Galax in Virginia is a licensed, accredited, and highly-respected private addiction treatment center that has been providing life-changing care to the men and women of Virginia for more than 40 years. The program, which is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia and nationally accredited by the Joint Commission, offers beneficial treatment options for individuals who are struggling with addiction and co-occurring disorders.
Treatment at Life Center of Galax is a comprehensive and holistic experience that addresses the patient’s physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. The goal of the Life Center’s treatment teams is not merely to alleviate dual diagnosis symptoms, but to identify and help the patient overcome the underlying issues that have been preventing him or her from living a drug-free life. For example, in addition to providing detox and residential care for a patient’s addiction, Life Center staff will develop a treatment plan that also provides all necessary interventions for co-occurring disorders such as mental health problems, behavioral concerns, and other issues that have either contributed to or have been exacerbated by the patient’s substance abuse.
The following are among the various treatment methods included in the adult addiction residential treatment program at our rehab center:
Medical detoxification: Life Center of Galax offers sub-acute medical detoxification services for patients who are in need of a safe and effective way to withdraw from any substances that may be present in their bodies. This medical detox occurs under the supervision of an ASAM-certified medical director and registered nurses are on staff and available for assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Medication management: Patients who are referred by our medical director or therapist for psychiatric assessment and rehab may also receive medication management services when deemed clinically appropriate. Medication is managed by nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants, under the direction and supervision of our psychiatrist. Those receiving medication management services will likely receive additional support through our counselor-led dual diagnosis groups each week.
Individual therapy: All Life Center patients participate in individual therapy sessions on a regular basis. These sessions occur in a confidential, one-to-one setting and give patients the opportunity to discuss their progress (or setbacks) in treatment, address any concerns they have about the treatment process, and address any issues or emotions that have arisen during the course of treatment.
Group therapy: Group therapy is cornerstone to the therapeutic process at our addiction rehab center. The adult addiction residential treatment program features a variety of group therapy opportunities, which provide structured and supervised environments in which patients can interact with, learn from, and share personal experiences with others who are dealing with similar struggles. The types of groups offered may include the following:
- Daily Reflections
- Start Up Group
- Community Group
- Home Group
- Lectures (didactic presentations on various aspects of addiction)
- Dual Group
- Relapse Group
- Thunder Alley
- Men’s and Women’s Recovery Groups
- Men’s and Women’s Flex Groups
Recreation therapy: Under the direction of a certified recreational therapist, the Ridge & Valley Recreational Program provides Life Center patients with the opportunity to hike on Virginia’s New River and Appalachian trails, as well as participate in activities such as therapeutic horseback riding, cooking classes on a regional farm, painting, and ropes courses.
Experiential therapy: Life Center incorporates various experiential therapies that are designed to increase each patient’s awareness of his or her true self, as well as form a connection between the mind and body. The following experiential therapies are featured within this exceptional program:
- Personal mask sculptures
- Wall exercise
- God boxes
- Self-esteem exercises
- Therapeutic recreation
These therapies are day-long tracks that are offered once per week and feature topics such as King Baby, relapse, family and triggers, cravings, and anger.
Family workshops: Family members can be integral parts of successful long-term recovery. To support family members as they both work through their own issues and prepare to support their loved one, our treatment center holds family workshops every weekend. These workshops include a variety of educational and therapeutic opportunities related to the impact of substance abuse on the entire family, including lectures, group sessions, and individual counseling.
Additionally, Life Center of Galax, in Virginia, offers the following innovative services that can be incorporated into a patient’s programming during his or her time in treatment. Each individual’s participation in these services is based on his or her unique, individualized needs and is designed to be a beneficial component to the holistic care we offer. These services include the following:
Comprehensive opiate recovery: Individuals whose dual diagnosis including opiate abuse or addiction may participate in our opiate addiction program, which can take them from detox to abstinence and then into a medication-managed recovery program using methadone, buprenorphine, or Vivitrol.
Spirituality-based treatment: To meet the needs of patients who desire a strong spiritual component in their recovery, our addiction rehab center offers both the Prodigal Program and the Mind-Body-Spirit Group. The Prodigal Program is a Christian-focused experience that incorporates Biblical principles into treatment. The Mind-Body-Spirit group is a nondenominational experience that focuses on spiritual elements within the 12-step recovery model.
Dual diagnosis service: This service was created to provide specialized assistance to individuals who are simultaneously battling substance abuse concerns and co-existing psychiatric problems. When a patient’s mental health has been identified as negatively interfering with his or her ability to be successful in recovery, this service will provide him or her with additional counseling, specialized group sessions, educational opportunities, and workbook activities that are designed to enhance his or her ability to cope with the presence of a dual diagnosis.
DUI/DWI service: Individuals, in Virginia, who are facing legal charges related to driving under the influence of alcohol or another drug may benefit from our DUI/DWI service, which features comprehensive medical and psychological assessments; education on the disease of addiction, counseling (both individual and group), and an introduction to the 12-step recovery model. Also, with the patient’s permission, we can provide documentation of program completion to counselors, attorneys, and the court system, as deemed appropriate or if requested.
Chronic relapse prevention service: When a patient has engaged in one or more prior treatment experience, he or she may be referred to this intensive programming option, of which incorporates educational lectures, journaling exercises, additional group sessions, and workbook activities. These interventions are designed to help prevent future relapse.
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
At Life Center of Galax, in Virginia, we know that residential treatment is just the first step on the path of lifelong recovery. In order to ensure that all patients are prepared to build upon their progress when they complete treatment at our center, we place a strong emphasis on continuing care.
Discharge planning begins with the meeting that a patient has with his or her primary counselor and is then finalized at least three days prior to his or her discharge.
For patients who have completed residential programming and are ready to return home, yet would benefit from the intensive structure of a day-long therapeutic program, Life Center of Galax offers a partial hospitalization program (PHP). The services and groups that patients engage in during PHP are determined on an as-needed basis and are outlined in each patient’s individualized treatment plan. Patients taking part in PHP have the option of returning home at night or of residing in the onsite housing provided by Life Center.
From the moment a patient walks through our doors for the first time, the goal of our addiction rehab center is to be a source of lasting and positive change and to provide the comprehensive care and compassionate support that will allow struggling individuals to overcome the obstacles that have prevented them from achieving long-term recovery and living happier and healthier lives.