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Dual Diagnosis Capability in Addiction Treatment (DDCAT)

by James Heller 15. December 2009 10:38
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles recently participated in a pilot project by The State of California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) using the Dual Diagnosis Capability in Addiction Treatment (DDCAT) scale.  The DDCAT assesses capabilities of alcohol and drug treatment or mental health programs on 7 dimensions, using a 5 point scale on 35 items.  We have been developing our dual diagnosis program for many years, so this project was an opportunity for us to see how far we’ve come.

The DDCAT index was developed in 2007 to fill a need in the assessment of program capabilities.  Today the DDCAT index is applied in over 20 state systems, as well as internationally, and is being used in the assessment of private programs nationwide.

Each dimension is assessed on a number of specific, supporting items (#); Program Structure (4), Program Milieu (2), Clinical Process: Assessment (7), Clinical Process: Treatment (10), Continuity of Care (5), Staffing (5), and Training (2).  Using specified items to assess these dimensions allows for a clearer picture of treatment settings for dual diagnosis patients in addiction treatment.

Following the assessment, programs are categorized in 3 taxonomies; Addiction Only Services (AOS) or targeting primarily those with substance abuse problems with little or no support for psychopathology, Dual Diagnosis Capable (DDC) for programs that offer services to those with stable and low-severity conditions, and Dual Diagnosis Enhanced (DDE) programs can respond to varying cases of psychopathology up to those which are severe.

This pilot project was yet another validation of our commitment to provide the best services possible for patients with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.  Our program was recently hailed by California State University Long Beach, in a report to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as “… the most capable program to address co-occurring disorders statewide.”  As it turns out, ADP assessed Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles at the DDE level of care with a very high score of 163 out of 175 points.  We scored a perfect 5 points or near perfect on 4 of the 7 dimensions of DDCAT.  Of course we are very happy with ADP’s assessment during the survey.  

Our dual diagnosis treatment track begins upon admission, at the first stage of treatment.  Patients are assessed for mental health disorders in terms of current treatment, medications, and self and family history.  When it is determined that mental health treatment is needed for a patient, our psychological staff is immediately alerted as to which level of care they will need.  Whether patients have long histories of severe mental illness or no history with new symptoms of minor issues, treatment can begin as early as during alcohol or drug detox.  

Our psychiatry staff is available for those with severe disorders requiring medication.  Psychologists and interns are also alerted to these cases for the purpose of providing round the clock monitoring if needed.  Our program ensures that even patients with severe mental health issues can receive successful alcohol or drug treatment.

On the other end of the severity scale, minor mental health issues are common with those who suffer from alcohol dependence and drug addiction.  Our staff routinely conducts an Addiction Severity Index (ASI) with each patient.  If mental health problems come to light that fall outside the realm of addiction-related, patients will be referred for further therapy throughout treatment.

We make it easy for patients to get the treatment they need.  We also offer specialized groups to all patients so they will learn about themselves and the typical psychological issues that are associated with alcoholism and drug addiction.  This serves to ease the minds of those who may worry they suffer mental illness, and to let those who actually do to see that they are not alone.

Our mental health services do not stop when alcohol and drug treatment is completed.  Whether they have the ability to pay out-of-pocket or need assistance, patients can get help with housing, employment, education, and other services that will assist them in re-entering a normal life among their fellows.  

Our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare is driven by our high standards and a desire, at all levels, to provide it to each patient.  Where mental health is concerned, staff is trained to recognize signs that a problem may exist.  This is important because some patients may not present with symptoms upon admission, and may be reluctant to disclose issues that could lead to a diagnosis.

At Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles we do not limit care for co-occurring disorders to mental health and alcohol and drug treatment.  Our very highly-rated HIV services are available to those who need them, as well as medication assisted treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction.  And let us not forget that teens are not immune to these problems.  Our youth alcohol and drug treatment program offers specialized dual diagnosis treatment as well.  These are just a few examples.

We are proud of the high marks we received from ADP.  But that doesn’t mean that we will be resting on our laurels.  In order to provide the level of service we expect from ourselves, we must continue to improve processes and stay educated on new developments in mental health and addiction treatment.  As long as there are individuals in need of treatment, we will continue to evaluate and improve our own services.

If you or a loved one needs help for alcohol dependence or drug addiction with co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.