Is Individual Therapy for Men Facing Challenges With a Dual Diagnosis Helpful?

A female patient laying down on sofa during therapy.

Is Individual Therapy for Men Facing Challenges With a Dual Diagnosis Helpful?

It can be difficult to live with the negative effects of addiction. A dual diagnosis of substance use disorder (SUD) and a co-occurring mental health condition can be even more difficult to manage. When a dual diagnosis goes unmanaged, the symptoms can negatively interfere with an individual’s ability to maintain a structured lifestyle. Although emotional support from family and friends can be helpful, sometimes reaching out for professional help can be highly beneficial. Participating in individual therapy provides the direction needed to help men facing challenges with their dual diagnosis overcome their symptoms. Moving forward with care can help an individual maintain both long-term mental stability and sobriety for a healthy recovery.

Men Facing Challenges of Living With a Dual Diagnosis

According to MedlinePlus, an individual with a dual diagnosis has both an alcohol/drug or mental health condition. These conditions have been clinically proven to commonly co-occur. According to research, it has been found that approximately 50% of individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental illness may also face problems with substances in their lifetime. The combination of the two conditions has been found to worsen both. 

For instance, men facing challenges with addiction for a prolonged period are at an increased risk of developing a co-occurring mental health disorder. If an individual goes a prolonged period without addressing a mental illness, they may also be at an increased risk of developing SUD. This can be due to individuals self-medicating their diagnosis with dangerous substances. For example, one may misuse prescription medications, illicit drugs, or binge drink alcoholic beverages for instantaneous relief. Health practitioners frown upon substance use as the effects are temporary. Misusing substances can potentially worsen an individual’s condition as well as damage their physical health.

A dual diagnosis left untreated can negatively interfere with an individual’s ability to function daily. The effects of a dual diagnosis can negatively interfere with an individual’s ability to maintain: 

  • Healthy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones
  • A successful work performance
  • Financial stability
  • Steady academic progress

What Is Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy may also be known as psychotherapy. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), individual talk therapy is made up of various mental health treatments. Psychotherapy works to identify one’s condition and alter their thinking patterns and negative behaviors. A typical session may take place in an office setting, one-on-one with a licensed mental health professional. Depending on the facility chosen, an individual may find telehealth to be quite convenient if their busy schedule conflicts with office treatment. 

The Importance of Individual Therapy

Modern health services recently have strived for individualized treatment. An individual’s plan of care refers to the severity of their condition and the requirements of their mental healthcare provider. Not everyone responds the same way to treatment. Many men with a dual diagnosis have been shown to benefit from individual therapy over group therapy for various reasons. For example, individual therapy gives a more person-centered approach by staying solely focused on a single patient. One may receive undivided attention to receive a more beneficial experience. 

Effective Psychotherapies for Men Facing Challenges with SUD and Co-Occurring Mental Health Conditions

Choosing to move forward with individual therapy can be a beneficial choice for men facing challenges with a dual diagnosis. Based on a separate NIH study, a few mental health disorders that may be difficult to treat with SUD might include; schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or bipolar disorder. Fortunately, research has discovered various behavioral therapies that are highly effective in treating these conditions. Depending on the severity of one’s condition, sometimes psychotherapy may be a complementary service to medications. This approach may also be referred to as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Different types of psychotherapies might include: 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – Helps one positively change their negative thoughts and behaviors
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) – Teaches skills to help control intense emotions by using mindfulness concepts
  • Contingency management (CM) – Offers vouchers or rewards to encourage positive behaviors

What to Expect Before Participating in Individual Therapy

It is common for one to feel hesitant before moving forward with individual therapy. This can be due to a lack of understanding related to the therapy process. An individual may benefit from speaking with a trusted specialist to discuss the process and develop an individualized treatment plan. This can help one achieve a more successful outcome for a better future. 

One may expect to engage with a therapist in a private environment to casually express their emotions related to their condition. An individual may work on their strengths and weaknesses to promote mental stability. Individual therapy may provide conflict resolution and problem-solving skills to help one overcome trauma related to their dual diagnosis. Several benefits of working with a specialist might include: 

  • Expanded support network
  • Identified underlying conditions
  • Facilitated lifestyle changes
  • Managed symptoms for a balanced lifestyle