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    • A1 Behavioral provides outpatient rehabilitation and treatment for adults with alcohol and other substance abuse problems. Because A1 Behavioral is an outpatient substance abuse treatment program, patients receive treatment without taking leave from work or family responsibility.

Dual Diagnosis

Many of you may have heard a term used by behavioral health professionals that sounds puzzling, but is in fact very basic: Dual Diagnosis.

Let me give you a short tour into the mysterious world of Mental Health, and how it is diagnosed.
The most important thing to remember about mental health diagnosis is that to some degree, we all have some symptoms of it! Yes, you read it right: we all have some symptoms of mental health problems. The critical difference lies in the DEGREE to which we think certain thoughts and demonstrate certain behaviors. Suppose, we obsess over the upcoming job review to the point where we lose sleep and turn to alcohol every night. If we are still able to brush anxiety off and show up at work bright and early, and to stop drinking at night, then we are a-OK. If, however, our anxiety is so overwhelming that we find ourselves unable to control our drinking and we end up calling in sick every Monday, then we have stepped into the Dual Diagnosis territory. Dual diagnosis is a state of mental health and substance abuse problems bundled together.

Mental health diagnosis is when the person is diagnosed with one of the three TYPES of mental health illness:

A mood disorder (such as low mood or depression),
An anxiety disorder (such as OCD, obsessive-compulsive),
A psychotic disorder (such as schizophrenia, where the person experiences changes in mental state; this is very serious, because they can harm self or others).

All of the three types of MH diagnoses are treated in two ways: 1. medication (to change brain chemistry) and 2. Talk therapy (to relieve symptoms and help the person develop better coping skills). Unfortunately, by the time the person comes for treatment, most have also developed a SA (substance abuse disorder, using alcohol, prescriptions, or illicit drugs). This is because their mood, anxiety or psychoses drive them to use substances as a way of dealing with mental anguish. In such cases, SA has developed secondary to (i.e., following) MH illness. This is a case of dual diagnosis, and it becomes a primary diagnosis known as SAMH. Treatment for dual diagnosis dictates that SA is treated urgently, because SA is more dangerous to the patient. MH illness is treated concurrently, in a program like A1Behavioral Health.

Different people require different levels of care for dual diagnosis, depending on how deep their SAMH problems are. If they have severe addiction to chemicals, they need to detoxify their body under medical doctor’s supervision (this means they must enter outpatient detox). Once they have rid their bodies of the physical dependence and longer test positive on urine tests, they can move down to a less stringent level of care, known as IOP, or Intensive Outpatient Program. IOP is an intensive behavior modification program that helps the patient stay drug free and avoid relapse into the lifestyle of addiction.

A1B is an expert in dual diagnosis, come join us, a brand new YOU is ready to emerge!

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