What is Dual Diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorder and co-morbidity are all terms used to describe anyone who has a serious psychological issue (diagnosed by a clinical professional) combined with addiction or substance abuse.
It is often impossible to separate mental health and addiction because so many doctors misdiagnose addiction and confuse the symptoms. We know this because so many clients regain mental stability and normality once they address their addiction.
Substance use is often regarded as “self-medicating” the symptoms of the emotional and mental disorders listed below:
Drug or alcohol induced psychosis is also very common, and if left untreated a vicious cycle or pattern of mental breakdown episodes and substance abuse relapse can then take hold resulting in dual diagnosis.
It is common for people with these challenges to turn to using addictive and illicit substances to improve their coping abilities and help themselves feel better and decrease the numb feelings from the psychiatric medications they are prescribed.
Some call it “putting out fires with gasoline”. The problem is self-medicating may work at first providing the person with relief from their restless brains. However, the pain and the problems are now burning out of control and the gasoline ultimately makes the problems worse.
What came first the chicken or the egg? – This is a cliché often quoted to illustrate the point that first, we need to eliminate the substance-use to make a correct diagnosis and give an accurate prognosis.
What can cause mental illness? – Some conditions are known as reactive, i.e. depression due to loss of a loved one or job. Also as previously stated drug and alcohol use itself is a cause. Genetic causes have also been identified along with high levels of stress, trauma, and abuse, and there are many more factors involved in a person developing mental health issues.
Substance abuse and addiction increases the risk of developing mental health issues and suicidal thoughts, here are some stats from National Alliance on mental illness:
3% of the population are said to have a combination of mental illness and substance abuse or addiction issues.
50% of substance abusers have mental disorders.
37% of alcohol users and 53% of drug users have mental health issues.
Alcohol is the most common substance abused, next is cannabis and prescription medications.
Misdiagnosis happens in some cases, as substance abuse and mental health conditions can be confused, the symptoms and consequences are similar, this usually means that when the addictions are treated successfully the client stabilises.
Whatever the case, apart from the addiction issues discussed above, low self-esteem as a result of feelings of inadequacy or lack of acceptance become a significant and detrimental part of the dual diagnosis. That requires serious attention to improve the remission of both the conditions.
At Hope Rehab, firstly we take away the drugs or alcohol and only allow safely prescribed medications. Anyone can benefit from our program, even those people with grave mental and emotional disorders. Staged treatment and a gradual approach are often necessary in such cases.
“Me again … Ene year ago I was with you guys in Thailand. I am diagnosed with PD and still on a mood stabiliser. I am sober since 2013 and just wanted to let you know how precious your help was. Nothing compares to your method and program. I knew nothing about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy before . What a blessing that, and your other protocols were, and still are! Thank you!
It changed me… I am a new person (almost…) now. Take care. And please thank Simon for me. He helped me amazingly , to settle into rehab, and progress at my own pace. I wish I was still with you guys to do my other steps. I hope to visit you again someday.” – Jenny, former client
After successful dual diagnosis treatment and a recovery program to follow up, many sufferers find their symptoms subside, and life takes on a healthy direction
What is Dual Diagnosis? By Simon Mott