Dual Diagnosis Treatment (DDT) involves the simultaneous healing of co-occurring mental and substance use disorders, using a single program that combines and integrates different treatment modules in one package. Patients often suffer from simultaneous mental and substance use disorders. In the past, these disorders were treated separately, one after the other, but the introduction of DDT eliminated that and made treatment more efficient.
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The benefit of integrated DDT
DDT is a modern process that replaces the “sequential” treatment process that used to be the standard approach for mental and substance use disorders. Sequential treatment required patients to complete treatment for one disorder before they could be treated for another disorder. Because an untreated disorder can trigger the relapse of a treated disorder, sequential treatment was often ineffective. DDT uses integrated treatment methods to overcome this.
DDT and the domino effect
People with acute or chronic anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental disorders, often use harmful forms of relief, like alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, etc., to pacify it. This can have a domino-effect, resulting in additional disorders. Dual Diagnosis Treatment was specifically developed for simultaneous treatment of these accumulated disorders without having to attend a series of separate treatment programs.
DDT and detoxification
Patients with substance use disorders may need medical detoxification before they start with dual diagnosis treatment. People often take drugs and alcohol to soothe their emotional anguish, but these substances can intensify or introduce further emotional disturbances. Symptoms directly related to toxic substances must be removed before underlying disorders, that would affect a sober person under normal conditions, can be identified.
The DDT consolidation concept
In essence, dual diagnosis treatment (DDT) refers to simultaneous treatment of both a mental disorder and a substance use disorder present in one individual. However, sufferers may also have more than one mental disorder and chronically use more than one harmful substance at the same time.
Most people who have one chronic disorder often have other disorders too. DDT eliminates the need to undergo a separate treatment program for each disorder. It was specifically developed to consolidate the treatment process for patients with multiple co-occurring disorders.
Qualified therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists can evaluate whether a person needs DDT. Different disorders sometimes display similar symptoms and this can confuse diagnosis by the untrained. It is also difficult to judge, for instance, whether depression led to chronic alcohol usage, or whether the alcohol caused the depression. A mental health professional can analyse the requirements of individual patients and design a dedicated DDT program.
For treatment to be effective, multiple disorders must be addressed with a single program that incorporates different elements to heal all the disorders of a patient with a single program, preferably under one roof. DDT is available as psychological or psychiatric treatment, or combinations of it. It can be in private consulting rooms, clinics, or as out-patient and residential options in rehabilitation centres.
Members of mutual-support groups can share experiences, encourage and support each other, but may lack some of the resources required for first-time dual diagnosis evaluation and treatment.
Because dual diagnosis is a complex procedure, some facilities are not fully equipped for this form of treatment. Only facilities that are known to have specially trained staff and extensive experience of DDT can reliably deliver it. It is best to consult someone with knowledge of the mental health industry for advice about appropriate service providers.
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Any normal person can sense when something is wrong – if you think you need advice, you should contact us. We have the outreach, network resources and empathy to help you with information and referrals to mental health providers that comply with your needs.
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