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Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Atlanta

2 Minute Read | Published Nov 30 2023 | Updated Nov 30 2023

Dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders, refers to cases where an individual concurrently battles substance addiction and mental health issues. Understanding the prevalence and impact of dual diagnosis in Atlanta, GA assists in formulating supportive policies and programs to address the issue.

Statistics show that substance abuse and mental health disorders are major concerns within Atlanta and Georgia as a whole. According to the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), approximately 4 to 5 percent of Georgia’s adult population suffer from severe mental illness, while 7 to 8 percent are grappling with a substance abuse disorder.

It is estimated that about 50% of individuals with a severe mental disorder are affected by substance abuse, signifying a prevalent dual diagnosis issue in Georgia. Such co-occurring disorders can make treatment more complex owing to the interplay between both disorders.

Despite these concerning numbers, Georgian residents should be assured that dual diagnosis is treatable, and several resources are available in Atlanta and the wider region to provide help. Comprehensive, integrative treatment – which addresses both the addiction and the mental health issue simultaneously – has been shown to be the most effective.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that an integrated approach to dual diagnosis reduces substance abuse, improves psychiatric symptoms and functioning, decreases hospitalization, and increases housing stability.

Organizations like the Atlanta Center for Mental Health and the Atlanta Recovery Center offer dual diagnosis treatment programs that include detoxification, therapy, medication, and long-term plans to maintain sobriety and manage mental health symptoms.

A specific state-wide initiative is the Georgia Opioid Strategic Plan that focuses on ending opioid misuse and addiction. Among its tactics is increasing substance abuse treatment and recovery support services.

Furthermore, the state also received a five-year, $10 million per year SAMHSA grant in 2021 to expand the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics initiative focused on treating mental health issues and substance use disorders, indicating Georgia’s commitment to providing resources for individuals suffering from dual diagnosis.

Addressing dual diagnosis is fundamental to overall health. Although the figures may seem daunting, what's essential to remember is that help is available, and recovery is indeed possible. Treatment can equip individuals with the tools needed not just to address immediate crises, but to live full, healthy lives even in the face of dual diagnosis.
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