Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Missouri

“Recovery is not easy, but it’s worth it. You are worth the effort and the investment in yourself.”

Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Missouri 

The Aviary Recovery Center specializes in treating clients with AUD (alcohol use disorder, previously called alcoholism) and SUD (substance use disorder, previously called drug addiction). Our experienced staff of professionals includes physicians, nurses, recovery coaches, and social workers.  

The team works together to understand and better serve our clients’ needs. We are dedicated to supporting someone living with addiction through the journey to health, wellness, and long-term recovery.  

What is a Dual Diagnosis? 

A dual diagnosis is when someone has substance abuse issues and a mental health condition simultaneously. This situation is common among clients living with AUD or SUD. People living with severe mental illness are more likely to have a substance use disorder.  

This combination of health issues can complicate the diagnosis and developing a treatment plan. The presence of either one can influence the treatment approach and impact the other.  

Adult Dual Diagnosis Statistics 

The following statistics have been provided by the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).  

Population with No Mental Illness 

  • 87.3 percent reported no substance use disorder 
  • 8.2 percent reported mild substance use disorder 
  • 2.7 percent reported moderate substance use disorder 
  • 1.8 percent reported severe substance use disorder 

 Population Living with Any Form of Mental Illness 

  • 63.7 percent reported no substance use disorder 
  • 16.1 percent reported mild substance use disorder 
  • 8.8 percent reported moderate substance use disorder 
  • 11.5 percent reported severe substance use disorder 

 People living with a Serious Mental Illness 

  • 51.8 percent reported no substance use disorder 
  • 18.4 percent reported mild substance use disorder 
  • 11.5 percent reported moderate substance use disorder 
  • 18.3 percent reported severe substance use disorder 

Note how the number of people living with a substance use disorder jumped among people living with any form of mental illness. These health conditions are directly intertwined.  

Which Comes First: Mental Illness or Substance Abuse? 

Healthcare professionals find determining an accurate diagnosis for clients with a mental illness and substance abuse challenging. They must unravel the SUD or AUD from the underlying mental health condition.  

Why is someone with a mental health condition more likely to have a co-occurring drug or alcohol addiction? They may turn to chemicals to self-medicate in an effort to control the symptoms of their mental disorder. For example, someone living with anxiety may start drinking alcohol to help them feel more relaxed. This strategy may work temporarily, but over time, the person will need to consume more alcohol to achieve the same result. At this point, they have started on the slippery slope that leads to AUD.  

The reasons a person with a mental illness may start using alcohol or drugs include the following: 

  • They didn’t recognize that they had a mental illness.  
  • They don’t know that help is available for their mental illness symptoms. 
  • They don’t know how to get help for their mental illness.  
  • They have concerns that bringing up mental illness symptoms to a doctor means they will automatically be hospitalized. The person may have concerns about being away from work and their family responsibilities or the stigma around being hospitalized for mental illness.  

A mental health diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean that someone needs to be hospitalized. Healthcare providers perform a detailed evaluation on each client. They consider the person’s current physical health, history of drug and alcohol abuse, family history of mental illness and addictions when determining the best treatment options. In many instances, medications and outpatient counseling can be effective for treating mental illness.  

The mental health issues become more concerning when substance abuse is also involved. While some people self-medicate to cope with their symptoms, continued substance abuse can cause mental health difficulties.  

Co-occurring AUD and SUDs 

AUD and SUD frequently co-occur, which means that a person can be addicted to alcohol and drugs at the same time. When they are also living with a mental illness, they present more challenges to addiction treatment professionals.   

Addictions to multiple substances raise several concerns, including: 

  • Higher Risks of Injuries 

Someone who is abusing alcohol and drugs at the same time is at higher risk of injuries, including falls and automobile accidents. They are also more likely to be victims of a crime, such as theft and assault (including sexual assault). Abusing more than one substance means the person is at higher risk for an overdose.  

  • More Difficult to Treat than a Single Addiction 

When a person is living with AUD and SUDs, their condition is often more challenging to treat than if they had only one disorder. These people experience withdrawal symptoms more intensely. They are more likely to have health complications due to their addictions and are at a higher risk for relapse.  

  • Challenging to Determine the Best Course of Treatment 

Multiple addictions mean recommending treatment has more layers than if someone only had a history of one type of substance abuse. The treatment team must address the interactions between both substances and their effect on the person. 

Alcohol and drug use may render certain medications used to treat mental health less effective than if the client were clean and sober. Self-medication with chemicals may have an impact on whether the person is getting the best results from any antidepressant, anti-anxiety, or antipsychotic medications they have previously been prescribed.  

What Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Missouri Look Like? 

The first step in dual diagnosis treatment in Missouri is for the client to go through detox. This process ensures that the person with the dual diagnosis is clean and sober. It “wipes the slate clean” for the client in treatment. Once the person is free from the influence of chemicals, it becomes easier for treatment team members to diagnose the client’s mental health issues.  

Advantages of a Medically Supervised Detox 

Some people avoid going to a drug and alcohol treatment facility because they have concerns about the withdrawal symptoms they will experience during the detoxification process.  

Safe Environment for Detoxification 

A person with AUD or SUD will go into withdrawal if they stop using their drug of choice. When they go through detox in The Aviary Recovery Center, clients are closely monitored by treatment team members to ensure they are kept comfortable throughout the process.  

A medically supervised detox is recommended for clients with AUD or SUD who have a history of heavy drinking. Trying to go “cold turkey” and stop drinking alcohol all at once can lead to seizures and other adverse health symptoms. Going through detox while being monitored by nurses and physicians is much safer.  

Close Monitoring During the Process 

It’s common for someone in withdrawal to experience emotional as well as physical symptoms. The person may experience anxiety or depression, irritability, and mood swings as their body breaks free from the influence of drugs and alcohol.  

The treatment staff does more than sit by and “supervise” a client going through detoxification. They monitor the client’s physical condition closely to look for potential complications. If necessary, medications can be administered to treat any uncomfortable symptoms.  

Prepares Participants for Long-term Recovery 

Detoxification is critical to treating someone living with AUD or SUD. Successfully completing this step doesn’t mean the person is cured of their addiction.  

The addicted person must undergo therapy (individual and group sessions), join support groups, and make significant lifestyle changes if they want to enjoy the benefits of a lifestyle free from the influence of chemicals.  

Dual Diagnosis: What Happens After Detox 

Once a client has completed their detoxification, medical professionals can assess the client’s mental health condition more quickly. Once the medical professionals make an accurate diagnosis, a detailed treatment plan can be set up that addresses the client’s substance abuse and mental health.  

The best option for treating someone with a dual diagnosis is a two-pronged approach. The client’s addiction and mental health condition are treated simultaneously. If someone receives mental health treatment but nothing is done about the substance abuse, the cravings and urges to drink or use drugs continue to run unchecked. Suppose the addiction is treated independently from the mental health condition. In that case, the person still has symptoms of their mental health concern to deal with. The exception is that now they are trying to deal with it without the coping mechanisms they have already developed.  

The Aviary Recovery Center offers dual diagnosis treatment in Missouri, starting with safe, supportive detoxification. Seeking professional help increases the likelihood of long-term recovery. 

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2023). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP23-07-01-006, NSDUH Series H-58). Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2022-nsduh-annual-national-report