Dual Diagnosis - Making Peace With More Than One Issue

As you learn more about the world of recovery, one term that will pop up frequently is “dual diagnosis.” This is a relatively new practice in our field (begun in the mid 1990’s), but an extremely important one that can trace the root of an addiction. Dual diagnoses is a practice we specialize in at Iris Healing Retreat and it can lead to incredible results.


One other word that we like to associate with this type of treatment is Wellness. To truly heal and “get well,” it is important to look into the deeper issues that surround an addiction. Things like depression, anxiety, and panic attacks (which often make people feel stigmatized by society). These are real issues that can make people want to numb themselves with substances like drugs and alcohol.


In the recovery facilities of the 1970’s and 1980’s, conditions like these were treated separately (and tragically, it still happens in many modern treatment centers). We take a completely opposite view, by identifying the addiction problem as well as the supplemental issues that go along with it (hence, the dual diagnosis).


This is where healing and wellness begin. Our trained and caring mental health professionals go deeper into the cravings to use. Sometimes it’s an unknown childhood trauma that was the catalyst, other times it could relate to a specific incident in someone’s personal or professional life (as in the case of PTSD).


There are certainly symptoms and warning signs to look out for, which accompany the addictive behavior. If you find yourself withdrawn and anxious around crowds, that could certainly merit a secondary diagnosis. Other issues could be paranoia, delusions or involuntary mood swings. These feelings are extremely common when battling an addiction and can be just as treatable as an alcohol or drug dependency.


The important thing is to connect with a treatment facility that is equipped to identify and work on the issue. At Iris, we have seen success with both conventional and alternative methods of inner healing.


Our Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a crucial first step in achieving mental and physical wellness. This follows proven psychotherapy techniques; modifying dysfunctional emotions and behaviors. We encourage those at our retreat to challenge distorted thoughts and, through healing exercises, alter destructive patterns in their behavior.


An example of an alternative program would be our Hypnosis Therapy, which occurs immediately after detox. Using methods like visualization and meditation, we can teach clients to control their pain and the traumatic issues buried in their psyche.


For the majority of us, addictions do not simply manifest out of thin air. Whether it stems back to something from childhood, accompanies a lifelong battle with depression, or simply works as a coping mechanism for social anxiety; there tends to be a core mental health issue at the root of a dependency. Clarity is one of the key mantras of our recovery practice and we do not consider the process complete until all co-occurring disorders are addressed and complete wellness is achieved.


We encourage anyone struggling with addiction and mental health issues to reach out immediately and learn the benefits of a Dual Diagnosis.

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