Young Adult Dual Diagnosis Treatment

When one of SOBA College Recovery’s Clinical Staff Members was working at the Rutgers Counseling Center, an 18 year old freshman female walked into his office around 2009 or 2010. She sat down and he asked her, “tell me about yourself.” She said, “I’m an addict. I’m bi-polar, depressed, have anxiety and also borderline personality disorder. I take a lot of medications, but they have nasty side effects and my doctors keep switching them around.”

He stopped her right there and said, “Let’s back up. Young lady, what is your name, where are you from, what do you want to study at Rutgers and what you do like to do for fun?”

The young woman defined herself by her diagnoses, rather than who she was. Additionally, she was given too many diagnoses and too much medication. The doctors that had seen her had little experience and no expertise with addiction. Two of the doctors were general practitioners who probably meant well, but did not have any real mental health training. He had seen this all too many times.

Addiction to substances and early recovery (which we define as up to the first two years of abstinence) often cause a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions. People who abuse substances often have terrible sleep patterns, which further aggravate those thoughts and emotions. Some of those young people are self-medicating to deal with depression, anxiety, ADHD or bi-polar disorder, while others only appear to suffer from those issues. Far too often, the health care industry violates the first rule of medicine when treating these individuals: do no harm.

An expertise on addiction, an understanding of mental health, thorough diagnosing, addressing negative behaviors, and a careful, cautious approach to medication are the backbone of a strong dual diagnosis program.

The young lady at Rutgers had started abusing drugs at 14 and was in full blown addiction by 16. Her addiction caused her to have academic problems, difficult romantic relationships and family strife. Those three issues, on top of the drug use, led to a series of mental health diagnoses which got increasingly more severe and required more medication. After a careful review of her background, regular individual and group therapy, guidance on behavior change, it became apparent that the only mental health issue the young woman truly had was anxiety. They addressed this and after a few years, she became medication free. She graduated Rutgers with honors and is doing very well.

More often than not, the co-occurring mental disorders that sometimes goes along with addiction goes overlooked or improperly treated in most traditional substance abuse treatment facilities in NJ. Nevertheless, SOBA College Recovery understands that underneath most chemical dependencies lie various unresolved mental health issues. We understand that some clients react adversely to traditional substance abuse treatment techniques because of these underlying mental health issues whether it be: low self-esteem or self-confidence, social anxiety, depression, or Attention Deficit-Hyperactive Disorder, just to name a few.

At our facilities we provide a relaxing, stress free environment, which is essential for dual diagnosed clients. Our therapeutic programs for young adults are tailored to fit the lives of our clients in ways that have been tested and been proven successful in the past. Each individual gets the attention they need, and the therapeutic treatment required throughout the changing phases of their stay with us.

SOBA College Recovery maintains a staff to client ratio of more than one to one so that every single day, each client’s behavior and needs can be tracked, understood, and used to help them achieve their next step toward happiness, freedom and success.

Everyone is different. Some people need heavier medications, others lighter and some not at all. What is clear is that everyone should get a chance at expert addiction and mental healthcare.