Understanding Dual Diagnosis
Although many drug rehab programs claim to provide dual diagnosis treatment, rarely is this approach integrated into the treatment plan from the beginning. Most don’t offer much in terms of individualized care, and 12 step or addiction focused work overrides all other processes. This one size fits all approach rarely helps people with dual diagnosis.
Dual diagnosis is a term used to describe people with mental illness who have coexisting problems with drugs and/or alcohol. The relationship between the two is complex, and the treatment of people with co-occurring substance abuse (or substance dependence) and mental illness is more complicated than the treatment of either condition alone.
Mental illness and drug addiction often occur together. This condition of dual diagnosis presents a challenge to physicians. The patient has two brain diseases that influence one another, and which both need treatment. But why do mental illness and substance abuse so often occur together?
Help for Dual diagnosis
Addiction itself is the state of being given up to some habit or compulsion. It can be overwhelming in thought, and so can dual diagnosis. So much so that it leads you to doing different actions. Not just drug taking. But avoiding certain family or friends. Missing school, work or class. Arguing in relationships so you have time to be alone and give time to your habit or compulsion, which includes the buying, storing, using, hiding and lying cycle as a part of your life that can all but take over. Withdrawal of some kind is usually part and parcel of addiction that comes with feeling painfully low, depressed and ill. Some make a distinction between physical addiction like chemicals and others psychological addictions such as gambling or sex addiction. However whether physical, psychological or otherwise they are arguably more often than not intertwined. The addictions encompass body, mind, soul, emotions as a mix of craving and dependence ingredients that progressively become more harmful as the thinking, feelings and behaviours continue.
These addictive behaviours come from disordered thinking. This is a type of thought disorder, or not having the ability to rationalize or ‘think straight’. Disordered thinking is disorganized or fragmented thinking. Oftentimes it comes from emotional damage or trauma that can be physiological, for example chemical or genealogical or psychological for that matter. It can also be a mixture of all these things and much debate surrounds the origins of it all as well as the treatment. Dual Diagnosis describes remains a practice that we do that treats people who suffer from both an addiction and a psychiatric disorder. This means someone who suffers from bi-polar, depression, anxiety, panic or an eating disorder can also suffer from an addiction to alcohol, sex, gambling or drugs.
Treatment of dual diagnosis
It is difficult to differentiate between substance induced psychiatric syndromes and pre-existing mental health problems. The topic of dual diagnosis can get extremely complex and is very broad. However when looking at addiction and another psychological disorder that are occurring at the same time, or simultaneously, we can call it a dual diagnosis. Either substance abuse or mental illness can develop first. Co-morbidity of the two is very common, thus the term dual diagnosis. Drugs that are abused however make matters far worse than they need to be. The effects drugs have on a person’s moods, thoughts, brain chemistry and behavior are significant and should be managed as soon as possible. Addiction is progressive!