When a dual diagnosis is made, afflicted individuals experience a variety of responses - ranging from relief, to self-blame, to fear. Some people feel all three reactions at once. Others experience great joy as a result of the knowledge that they suffer from a DSM-V acknowledged mental illness. Treatment for a dual diagnosis may involve inpatient treatment at a rehabilitation facility. Other sufferers choose to participate in an outpatient treatment program. Doing so allows them the flexibility to commute to and from outpatient sessions while maintaining their existing schedule to some degree and keeping up with work and familial obligations. Others rely on substance abuse counselors specializing in dual diagnosis treatment to carry them through the recovery process. Regardless of the treatment route taken, cognitive behavioral therapy for dual diagnosis drug treatment has been implemented and has shown great success in this area.
Regardless of the venue for which the dual diagnosis victim seeks treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is frequently used across the board. CBT treatment ends after a specified period of time - generally 30 to 90 days in a formal treatment program, or two to six months in individualized therapy. Minorities of afflicted individuals undergo treatment for a longer period of time. "Why is CBT so popular?" You may be pondering. CBT has been scientifically proven to:
- Reduce negative thought patterns
- Alleviate anxiety
- Reduce distress
- Eliminate consistent irritability and physical tension as a result of stress
CBT encourages clients to work from the ground up in the quest to concur mental hardship. Although substance abuse and underlying mental disorders are clinically considered diseases, a portion of their basis is founded in:
Perspective shaped by a negative attitude
Flawed interpretations of life events
Clients have the ability to make a change for themselves by engaging in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy within the guidance of a licensed professional. CBT has proven to be especially effective when combined with medication, such as anti-depressant medications or short-term use of anti-anxiety prescriptions.
CBT offers the unique capacity for individuals to continue recovering long after the CBT sessions end, whereas medication's benefits generally cease to exist after the last dose is ingested.
What makes CBT so effective? CBT's therapeutic approach, rooted in psychotherapy, is based on awareness that human thoughts and perspective of various life circumstances and events contribute to the majority of our negative - or positive - feelings. Changing thought patterns can help change resulting feelings. CBT induces conscientiousness in people about when and why their mind immediately snaps to a negative thought. With the ability to analyze their own thoughts, individuals can practice making the shift from negative thoughts to positive thoughts.
CBT may sound simple, but it can be relatively complex. Branches of Cognitive-
Behavioral therapy are vast and include, but are not limited to:
- Rational emotive behavior therapy
- Problem-solving therapy
- Reality therapy
- Dialectical-behavior therapy.
Regardless of the exact species of CBT chosen, professionals in the field share many things in common. For one, they follow an overall treatment module.
CBT professionals advocate for the following focus points across the spectrum of CBT types:
- Emphasis on living in the moment, rather than bouncing back and forth between the past and the future
- Learning new skills such as how to identify self-sabotaging thought patterns and reversing the negativity in one's mind; skills for dealing with painful feelings and unfavorable situations; making a fundamental shift in interpretations of past trauma, events, and situations
- Emphasis on routinely practicing CBT elements throughout one's life
- Following up on CBT skills by keeping a diary or reading related books far beyond cessation of CBT treatment
Individuals suffering from co-occurring disorders, such as an anxiety disorder and alcoholism, for example, regularly fall privy to irrational fears, catastrophic thinking, and excessive worrying. Such self-destructive thoughts lead to negative feelings such as anger, shame, fear, anxiety, sadness, and despair. Negative feelings lead to self-sabotaging behavior such as taking a drink or doing drugs. After an episode of drinking and taking benzodiazepines, the same person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and alcoholism still experiences the same intrinsic emptiness. Thus, knowledge of the fact that the person acted out in a destructive manner, leads to more negative feelings. Herein lies the sick cycle of self-destruction experienced by dual diagnosis patients - and also inherent in single diagnosis patients of varied mental disorders.
Thankfully, CBT continues to be studied and improved on a daily basis. Scientists, clinicians, and therapists collaborate with one another to enhance the therapeutic approach. They exchange statistics and anecdotes, sharing the ultimate goal of improving CBT's effectiveness for dual diagnosis patients, and beyond.