30 Day Treatment Programs for Dual Diagnosis
30 day treatment programs for dual diagnosis issues are widely available. If you or a loved one are in need of dual treatment, you will find that there are many options. Dual diagnosis treatment occurs in a range of settings–from outpatient to residential care with various steps and settings in between. The severity of symptoms and level of distress determine what level of care is needed at any given time. Your referring healthcare professional can make recommendations for the care that’s needed, and/or you can request an evaluation and consultation from a program you are considering.
First Things First—What is Dual Diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis involves two simultaneously occurring conditions—a Substance Use Disorder and another mental health disorder. Surprisingly, dual diagnosis issues are not as rare as you may think. Substance problems commonly go hand-in-hand with anxiety, depression, and trauma, for example. And, those three problems are not all that rare among people with addiction issues. However, people with any mental health problem are at risk for substance use if that problem is not stabilized.
It is evidence-based and best medical practice to treat both issues in dual diagnosis at the same time. Otherwise, it is impossible to sustain stability or sobriety for any period of time. There is a significant interaction between substance issues and mental health problems. They influence one another and complicate one another. Therefore, treatment for dual diagnosis issues requires a specialized clinical program with specifically trained professionals. Maintaining gains made in treatment also requires a recovery plan that specifically addresses both conditions in detail. Since relapse is possible in each condition, a dual diagnosis relapse plan must deal with managing both illnesses over an extended period. For many, dual issues will be persistent and require management over the lifespan.
How Effective are 30 Day Treatment Programs for Dual Diagnosis?
The right 30 day dual diagnosis program is very effective. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you search for a top notch program:
- Dual diagnosis issues require psychiatric services. Mental health conditions that are worsened by substance use can be quite acute and distressful. Among the psychiatric issues that can occur during an active Substance Use Disorder are:
- Extreme mood swings
- Anxiety and panic
- Extreme fear or paranoia
- Disorganized thinking
- Inability to coherently communicate
- Lack of self-care
- Due to the psychiatric issues above, effective dual treatment programs provide a safe, therapeutic, and well-monitored treatment setting. Staffing should be around the clock with professionals such as nurses and nursing aides that can adequately gauge the mental state of participants, as well as provide support and other interventions for safety and therapeutic progress.
- Effective 30 day treatment programs for dual diagnosis also provide intensive therapeutic scheduling of individual and group therapies, as well as illness management education, and relapse prevention planning. Therapies and activities that include loved ones are also significant components of effective dual programs.
- Psychiatric symptoms are managed by medical professionals trained to use non-addictive psychiatric medications.
- Withdrawal and detoxification services are medically managed by professionals trained to treat any physical complications of the process, as well as psychiatric issues during the process.
- Continuing care is planned for after the 30 day program.
Why 30 Days?
To be accurate, there is nothing magical about a 30 day treatment stay as opposed to 29 or 31 days! However, a month’s stay in intensive treatment is typically adequate time to withdraw from a substance, stabilize psychiatric symptoms, and prepare for the next stage of recovery. In short, it’s a really good start for a long-term project. Both addiction and mental health recovery are lifestyle changers, and happen across a prolonged period with several stages. Committing a month to building a good foundation for recovery in an intensive program is a well-proven wise investment in future successful efforts to continue the recovery process.
Also, 30 days may not be your magic number. It isn’t for lots of people. You may need a longer stay in your program to feel ready for making it at home without so much structure and support. However, the 30 day mark is a good time to evaluate progress you’ve made, your overall readiness for heading back into the community, back to work, or relying less on the therapeutic support you’ve had.
Being open to an honest assessment of how you’re doing after the first 30 days is crucial. So is collaborating with your care providers and loved ones to make the best decision for you. Many people extend their treatment stays 30 days at a time with such an evaluation and collaboration process. And, many will choose 60, 90, or even 120-day intensive treatment this way. It is a very individualized process. Your issues and progress are the best guides for determining when you’re ready to step down to less intensive support.
What to Expect in 30 Day Treatment Programs for Dual Diagnosis
No two treatment programs are exactly the same, but there are some universals. For example, in 30 day treatment programs you can expect:
- Screening, evaluation, and various examinations. Programs need to determine if you need their services and are a good fit. Screening is the ‘first pass’. You’re asked questions that are more general than in later interviews during an evaluation or in physical and psychiatric exams. Typically, you will first have phone contact in which a staff person from the program screens you by asking why you have called. After some discussion, and if you appear to need dual treatment, an evaluation will be scheduled at the treatment center. Many programs will ask that you come to the evaluation prepared to stay in case their evaluation indicates you do need their services. Once admitted to the program, you will be examined by a physician and a psychiatrist to determine your overall medical condition and medical needs.
- Lab work. Lab work is standard just after admission. This helps medical staff better understand your health status and what levels of substances are in your body
- Withdrawal and Detox. Everyone with a substance problem needs to stop using and undergo detoxification when beginning treatment. This allows the body and mind to clear so that other treatment can be undertaken such as individual, group and family therapies. Every drug has a different set of withdrawal symptoms, and withdrawal and detox will vary among people due to the specific drug used, amount used and duration of use. Physical health issues like metabolism also help determine the course and length of withdrawal and detox.
- Therapeutic schedule. Effective 30 day treatment programs for dual diagnosis provide a highly structured schedule of therapeutic modalities. These typically include:
- Individual therapy—one on one meetings with a therapist or counselor specially trained in dual diagnosis treatment. These sessions provide opportunities to discuss issues privately, process emotions; identify needs, solutions, and coping strategies.
- Group therapy—group sessions with other program participants. Such sessions allow participants to discuss issues with others who share similar ones. Peer support is valuable, as are opportunities to explore dual recovery issues together, find solutions and coping strategies, and rehearse healthy social interactions.
- Family therapy—family members meet with a therapist or counselor. Family sessions help rebuild relationships strained or damaged during active dual illnesses. Family sessions also include loved ones in education about dual disorders and the recovery process.
- Skill building groups—specialty groups that help participants build and enhance various life skills important in recovery. These groups provide momentum in treatment and recovery. Such groups include anger management, stress management, assertiveness, and illness management.
- Relapse prevention planning—preparing for sober and stable life after treatment. Relapse prevention planning basically troubleshoots what one may encounter after treatment that could cause relapse in one or both illnesses. Dual relapse prevention planning includes such things as learning psychiatric symptom management, how to manage substance triggers and cravings, and what to do to continue recovery efforts. Planning for support and how to manage crises are also important components of an effective plan.
- Leisure and recreation activities—leisure and recreation are important aspects of a healthy and substance-free life. Opportunities to explore one’s own interests, and to relax and have fun without substances are very beneficial in making the transition to a healthier way of life.
After Your 30 Day Program
As you near the end of your 30 day program, it’s time to plan for your next stage of recovery. You, your loved ones, and your care providers may decide that you’re stable enough to return home and begin a new phase of life. Some will decide that it’s not quite time to take on the stressors of returning home because they have more work they want to do in a treatment stay first.
Still, others may move on to various types of arrangements that continue intensive structure and support outside a treatment facility. Such arrangements may include entering a sober living community, halfway house or transitional living facility, and attending intensive dual diagnosis outpatient services. In many of these living and treatment situations, one may work and do other activities in the community, making a gradual transition to independent living and lesser therapeutic support.
Dual recovery occurs in stages and involves a series of ‘stepping down’ to lesser and lesser involvement in therapy services until a maintenance phase is received. Most people will find that a good maintenance program for sustained dual recovery is independent living, medication, addiction recovery support groups, and outpatient dual diagnosis individual and/or group participation.
If you or your loved one need help getting started on the path to dual recovery, we can help you. Give us a call today to discuss treatment options. We offer a free consultation to identify treatment needs and find effective programs that meet your clinical needs while being viable options for you and your family.