Why Flexibility Is Important During Dual Diagnosis Treatment

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    Addiction treatment is one of the most challenging areas in healthcare. Many people in treatment have complicated medical needs and behavioral issues. When you add in the fact that addiction treatment should be customized for each person, it’s no wonder providers struggle to discern the best course of action. Fortunately, there’s a common thread running through all successful treatment centers: flexibility. 

    A flexible approach to care reduces stress and increases effectiveness. When a provider can respond quickly to changing situations while still providing quality care to each patient at a personal level, optimal results are achieved. When you or a loved one battles a mental health disorder and addiction, flexibility can be the difference between success and failure. This is especially true with dual diagnosis treatment. Because of this, it is best to be open-minded and be prepared to make adjustments along the way.

    Dual Diagnosis Treatment Is Not Static

    The dual diagnosis treatment process is often dynamic. As such, your treatment plan may need to change as time goes on. As your treatment regimen changes, you need to be flexible to best benefit from your care. Treatment often incorporates multiple disciplines and approaches. That includes medication management, individual therapy, group therapy like 12-Step programs, family counseling, and education and support groups. Each person with a dual diagnosis will have different needs at different times. Accordingly, the treatments may also vary over time.

    Your MedicationTreatment Plan Can Change as Time Goes On

    As treatment requires flexibility, the first few weeks of your recovery may be very different from the last few weeks. Your doctor may need to adjust their recommendations and prescriptions based on your changing needs. This means you’ll have to learn how to manage different symptoms at different stages of recovery.

    Take advantage of the potential for flexibility by asking questions about medications and side effects. This will help you know what’s happening in your body and know how to manage your symptoms and medication. For example:

    • How much should I increase my dosage?
    • What happens if I take extra medicine?
    • Am I having any negative reactions?

    If you have a dual diagnosis like depression or anxiety along with addiction issues, be sure to ask these questions every time you see your doctor.

    An Integrated Approach Is Often the Best Kind of Treatment

    An integrated approach to treatment is often the best kind of treatment. An integrated approach combines several different types of therapy to reach the patient’s goals. For example, some people with a dual diagnosis will be treated for their addiction with medication and therapeutic services like group therapy. Others may only receive inpatient residential rehab or outpatient counseling.

    Integrated treatment can be more effective than one-dimensional approaches when it comes to treating co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health concerns. It’s also more cost-effective than many other treatment options. This approach sometimes allows patients to save on transportation costs or rent by being able to stay at home during recovery.

    Each Person With a Dual Diagnosis Will Have Different Needs at Different Times

    One of the most important aspects of treating a dual diagnosis is understanding each person’s individual needs, which can change at any time.

    For example, even when a patient has been making good progress in therapy, and their therapist feels that they are ready for discharge from treatment, the individual may not be ready to live independently. In this case, it may be necessary for them to stay in therapy even though they have reached certain goals or milestones. This will allow them an additional period of time before transitioning out onto their own. That way, they have time for more transition planning and preparation skills training.

    You May Need to Adjust Your Expectations or Goals

    Expectations and goals are important, but they can change. Because of the dual diagnosis, you may have made certain assumptions about how things should happen in recovery. 

    Keep Realistic Expectations

    For example, you might have assumed that once you started treatment for your mental health disorder, everything would get better quickly and stay that way forever. Or maybe you assumed that after finishing one level of treatment, it would be time to graduate into something else. These types of assumptions will often turn out to be incorrect. Instead of trying to ignore these discrepancies, it is helpful for both patients and caregivers to have a clear understanding of any changes that are occurring within the recovery process. That way, everyone feels supported throughout this journey together and hopefully even enjoys their experience!

    Expectations should be realistic. This doesn’t mean idealistic illusions based upon societal pressures or unrealistic standards set by Hollywood movies, though. Hollywood movies try to convey that everything works out perfectly without any real conflict whatsoever between characters because they’re just all too perfect. That kind of thing doesn’t happen in real life! 

    Prevent Disappointment

    Thinking through what’s realistic beforehand can help prevent disappointment down the line. Things might not happen exactly as planned despite your best efforts towards achieving those goals/expectations you had set forth initially. However, even when expectations aren’t met 100%, there’s still hope. You can still achieve great things despite setbacks along your path. That’s why having flexible plans can help everyone to achieve eventual success.

    While it’s important to have a plan for your dual diagnosis treatment, it’s also essential to be flexible. If you have mental health issues and substance use disorder, your needs are complicated and can change over time. Having an integrated approach that takes into account both conditions is the best way to treat them. If you want your treatment plan to succeed, you need to be open-minded about what might work best at any given time and willing to accept that things may not go exactly as planned! If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health or with substance use, please call us here at Villa Oasis San Diego at (619) 373-9792.

    Your rise begins.