1. Dual diagnosis is not a rare phenomenon
Some studies indicate that as many as half of those with a drug or alcohol addiction also have some form of mental illness
2. Dual diagnosis comes in many forms
Any combination of mental illness (including anxiety disorder, depression, etc.) and addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, etc.) can qualify an individual as a dual diagnosis patient. As one can imagine, the possibilities are almost endless.
3. Dual diagnoses are difficult to treat
One of the things that make dual diagnoses so difficult to treat is that it is hard to know where certain symptoms are coming from. For example, if a dual diagnosis patient is suffering from depression, there’s no way to initially know whether the drug addiction or the individual’s mental illness is causing the problem. Depression is a symptom of many things, so the challenge is on the medical professional to find the root cause and treat it.
4. Those with dual diagnoses are high-risk patients
Coping with mental illness is difficult enough, but when you factor in complications from addiction, it’s easy to understand the high suicide rate and violent tendencies of those with dual diagnosis.
5. Those with mental illness are more susceptible to addiction
Again, those coping with mental illness are at risk for addiction. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and other conditions are likely to see their casual drug use or drinking quickly escalate to an addiction.
6. Many drug rehab facilities are not equipped to handle dual diagnosis patients
As you’ve already learned, dual diagnosis is a complicated issue. Only those facilities with a psychiatric staff and an emphasis on dual diagnosis are truly equipped to help these individuals with their recovery.
7. The best dual diagnosis programs provide integrated treatment
Treating both the mental illness at the same time, all under “one roof”, has been a very successful method of treatment for the dual diagnosis patient.
8. Dual diagnosis treatment may take longer to complete
There is no “quick fix” for drug or alcohol rehab, but when you factor in the care and patience required to treat mental illness, you have a situation that may have to be extended by months and perhaps even years.
9. Good dual diagnosis programs move at a pace that’s comfortable for the individual
Because of the mental illness component, you must move dual diagnosis rehab along at a pace that the individual feels comfortable with.
10. If you or someone you know has a dual diagnosis, contact us today.
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David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.
Reviewed by: Kim Chin and Marian Newton