The Burning Tree staff takes an integrated treatment approach to dual diagnosis, rather than sequential treatment of chemical dependency and mental disorders. Our team members understand the concept of chemical dependency as a primary disease, while recognizing that untreated psychiatric disorders are a contributing factor to a relapse. Our entire staff is well-trained in recognizing how addiction interplays with other disorders. Through this experience, we’ve been able to help many people who previously could not maintain recovery.

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Another strategic element in the treatment of those with dual diagnoses is our combination of traditional forms of treatment with other philosophical and experiential therapies. This combination of treatment methods allows us to recognize and confront problematic behavior and thinking errors that show up in the person’s everyday life. Think of it this way: It’s like they’ve been asleep dreaming that they were awake. We wake them up to their powerlessness over alcohol and drugs, and direct them toward recognizing the reasons for their prior relapses. The staff also helps clients make the connection between everyday behavior and relapse, then teaches them how to manage their psychiatric disorder within the context of sobriety.

We are very fortunate to have two psychiatrists as members of our professional team, Dennis Dalton, M.D., and Frank Floca, M.D. Dr. Dalton is an addictionologist and a recognized expert in this area. Dr. Floca is a psychiatrist who is board certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Both doctors are highly skilled in diagnosis, medication, and therapy appropriate for other disorders in context of, and within treatment recommendations for, chemical dependency.

At Burning Tree Long Term Rehab, we design a specialized treatment plan to assist with problematic areas. Clients are given individualized treatment and therapy to assist them in developing coping strategies and a structure for daily living, both of which are essential to successful sobriety. Our daily routine and behavioral guidelines are designed to assist the dual diagnosed client in developing these two qualities. The unmanageability and self-indulgence of the addictive lifestyle must be replaced by a personal responsibility and developing self-care in respect to both diagnoses.

Our staff assists the client in developing self-discipline and consistency around taking medications. We also teach the client to eliminate the drug addiction mentality that they know what is best for them and, instead of practicing self-diagnosis, relinquish control of their treatment and medication therapy to the direction of their treatment team. Such thinking errors often cause relapse unless interrupted and replaced by conscious effort to manage both diagnoses simultaneously.

For many Texas residents, past treatment of an addiction to drugs or alcohol may have been unsuccessful due to an undiagnosed mental health disorder. That mental health disorder may have exacerbated the addiction and made relapse prevention virtually impossible. It’s an issue recognized by more and more health care professionals these days, and even though an addiction and a mental illness may have developed at different times, the presence of each disorder can profoundly worsen the other. In response to this type of comorbidity—the presence of two of more disorders in an individual—a dual diagnosis approach can more accurately assess an individual before treatment begins and lead to more effective treatment of both conditions simultaneously.

Comorbidity Affects Texas

In Texas, estimates drawn from a 2005-2006 survey show that 1,695,000 people 12 and older abused alcohol or an illicit drug or experienced dependence in the year prior to the survey and 1,101,000 people here experienced at least one major depressive episode during that time. On a national level, research shows a compelling rate of comorbidity, close to 50 percent of individuals with a severe mental disorder also have co-occurring substance abuse. Furthermore, 37 percent of people abusing alcohol and 53 percent of people abusing drugs also have a mental illness. In many instances, the mental illness may have developed first as suggested by the median age of 11 for the onset for anxiety disorders and impulse-control disorders, years before the median age of 20 for substance use disorders yet abuse and addiction can precede the onset of a mental illness.

The prevalence of comorbidity among people with a bipolar disorder provides a strong case for seeking a dual diagnosis treatment center. According to published research figures, 56 percent of people diagnosed with one type of bipolar disorder (bipolar I or bipolar II) also had a substance abuse or dependence problem. When considering people with any kind of mood disorder, including depression, the number who also had a co-occurring substance abuse disorder fell to 32 percent.

Mood Disorders Treatment

As a resource for co-occurring substance abuse and mental illness, Burning Tree Lodge offers treatment for mood disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder and mania. Left untreated, mood disorders on their own can lead to self-destructive behavior and create harmful consequences in anyone with an existing substance abuse problem. Addressing mood disorders as part of an integrated treatment for drug or alcohol dependence increases the chance for a successful recovery.

Dual Diagnosis of Mood Disorder and Dependence

Because mental health disorders can reduce a client’s chances for successful drug and alcohol dependence recovery, Burning Tree evaluates every client for possible mental illness. A dual diagnosis of mood disorder and dependence could explain why the client’s previous attempts at sobriety were unsuccessful. Once the dual diagnosis has been established, a suitable integrated treatment plan for both the mood disorder and the drug or alcohol dependence can be created.

One-on-one sessions led by clinical leaders and group sessions led by counselors are key parts of that treatment. Treatment for mood disorders proves highly effective due to the ability for clients to learn new coping skills and new life skills and put them into practice continuously before returning to independent living.

Inpatient Neurofeedback Therapy

Neurofeedback Therapy is a non-invasive form of treatment that allows clients to modify their brain activity with the goal of improving attention span and reducing combative or impulsive behavior. Through the use of biofeedback technology, Neurofeedback Therapy provides information about brainwave activity that individuals can use to produce positive changes in their behavior. The practice can be beneficial for a number of patient groups, including substance abuse clients with ADHD.

Performing Neurofeedback Therapy

The set-up for this type of therapy is fairly simple. Biofeedback sensors are placed on the ears and scalp of the client. Then the client engages in a computer program designed to change brainwave activity. Electroencephalograph readings provide measurements of brainwave activity that can be viewed on a computer monitor.

Neurofeedback Results

Research indicates that neurofeedback can improve academic performance, job performance, and self-image while greatly modifying disruptive and combative behavior. Other positive benefits include relaxation, greater self-control, and reduced stress. This type of therapy is suited to application in a long-term rehabilitation setting due to the need for multiple sessions over a period of time to maximum the benefits of treatment. Although session scheduling will vary, at least one session per week is ideal and treatment can continue over the course of several months. As brainwave activity is changed, session scheduling can be modified to suit the client’s changing needs.

Residential CBT Treatment

The importance of learning to think differently and acting on that learning is the reason Burning Tree employs the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) within its long-term residential treatment program in Texas. The belief that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors is a core principle of CBT. Treating clients in this manner is a fundamental part of helping them learn to be responsible for their own choices, rather than placing blame on external situations, events and people.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in a Residential Setting

CBT is not designed to be an endless form of treatment. Instead we use CBT as one component of our overall treatment program and its use is strictly up to the therapist and the client. The sessions here aim to create a safe environment for client to express their goals and find ways through the therapist’s guidance to achieve those goals. Implementing that learning is a secondary part of the CBT treatment, and experiencing it while at a long-term residential setting allows a client to repeatedly practice what they have learned, especially when faced with the undesirable situations that may have influenced past drug and alcohol abuse.

Thinking Disorders Treatment

We offer treatment for thinking disorders, characterized by the repetition of undesirable thought after another and the impact these unwanted thoughts can have on one’s emotional state. Left untreated, thinking disorders on their own can lead to self-destructive behavior and create harmful consequences in anyone with an existing substance abuse problem. Addressing thinking disorders as part of an integrated treatment for drug or alcohol dependence increases the chance for a successful recovery.

Dual Diagnosis of Thinking Disorders and Dependence

Because any mental health disorder can reduce a client’s chances for successful drug and alcohol dependence recovery, Burning Tree evaluates every client for possible mental health issues. A dual diagnosis of a thinking disorder and dependence could explain why the client’s previous attempts at sobriety were unsuccessful. Once the dual diagnosis has been established, a suitable integrated treatment plan for both the thinking disorder and the drug or alcohol dependence can be created.

Clients who require this type of treatment learn how to view thoughts as transient rather than permanent, and develop strategies for changing the types of thoughts they’re having. In a long-term residential setting, treatment for thinking disorders proves highly effective due to the ability for clients to learn new coping skills and new life skills and put them into practice continuously before returning to independent living.

Trauma & PTSD

This treatment may consist of intensive one-on-one sessions as well as group counseling. Helping a client who has suffered a traumatic experience learn to confront the traumatic experience, change thought patterns and better process the emotions connected to the trauma proves highly effective due to the ability for clients put these newly acquired skills into practice continuously before returning to independent living.

Inpatient Medication Management

The professional staff here aims to promote the safe and effective use of these medications during a client’s stay. Part of the mission of inpatient medication management is ensuring the prevention of drug complications, conflicts and dangerous drug interactions.

Controlling Medication Usage

In an environment with clients receiving treatment for a variety of forms of substance abuse, including prescription pill abuse, managing the storage or usage of any and all medications is a high priority. For the safety of each and every client, it’s imperative for the staff at Burning Tree to be aware of all necessary medications and enforce regulations for their safe storage, consumption and disposal, if that becomes necessary. All prescribed and over-the-counter medications must be in the original labeled container and submitted to staff for monitoring.

The list of medications a client is allowed to bring to Burning Tree includes all prescription and over-the-counter products, unless no longer in their original containers. Vitamins and mineral supplements are also allowed, pending doctor’s approval. Inhalers may be kept in a client’s possession, but no other medication can be in a client’s possession without the approval of staff.