Helping Patients Who Suffer from Both Addiction and Psychiatric Disorders

BY: Lizzie Weakley 

Often, mental illness and drug addiction go hand in hand. This is because when people use drugs, it is typically due to an underlying mental issue, such as depression and anxiety. Also, using drugs can trigger various types of mental disorders. Therefore, it is important to take a comprehensive approach when treating patients in order to determine if they have a mental disorder that needs to be addressed along with their treatment for addiction. The following information will provide a closer look at ways you can help patients who are suffering from both conditions in order to ensure a full and lasting recovery:

Develop an Integrated Treatment Plan

An integrated treatment plan will help to effectively address both the mental illness and the addiction. Examples of helpful methods include starting off with a medical detox when necessary. This will allow the patient to come off of the drugs or alcohol in a safe way. Once this is completed, the patient should be thoroughly evaluated in order to determine a proper diagnosis as well as a proper recovery plan. From here, it can be helpful to provide the patient with various types of therapy, such as one-on-one sessions and group sessions. This will allow them to work through their underlying issues that lead to addiction in the first place and can also give them the opportunity to relate to and empathize with others in a similar situation, which will show them that they are not alone and that they can work through their problems with others, which can help to achieve more meaningful and lasting results. Overall, a dual diagnosis treatment program can allow the patient to focus on healing from both their mental illness as well as their addiction and develop effective coping mechanisms for both issues.

Create an Aftercare Plan

Both mental illness and addiction can be an ongoing issue. Therefore, you will need to ensure that you provide patients with the proper tools they need to succeed beyond just the recovery phase. It can be helpful to encourage patients to continue attending therapy sessions during their transition back into normal life. It can also be beneficial to ensure that the patient is able to build a strong support system and is able to successfully navigate conflict. By building a support system, this will ensure that they have people who are there to help them during difficult times, and learning to effectively navigate conflict will ensure that they don’t become too overwhelmed when things go wrong, which will ensure they are able to fight the temptation to use again.

Overall, dealing with both addiction and mental illness can be a difficult process. There are likely many underlying issues that will need to be addressed and worked through. The aforementioned information makes a great starting point in order to ensure that patients are able to fully recover and go on to live normal healthy lives. Reintegrating back into society can often be difficult. So, it is important that you take the proper steps to ensure that patients are well-prepared to return to independent living and that they have the proper tools and knowledge needed to be successful.