What is Dual Diagnosis?
07/13/20: Addiction RecoveryAddiction and mental health conditions go hand-in-hand. Excessive drinking or substance abuse may lead an individual towards certain psychological disorders making it difficult for them to cope with both addictions as well as their mental health. However, if a person experiences both substance abuse and a psychological disorder, it is called a dual diagnosis. Examples of psychological disorders:
- Bipolar disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Using illegal drugs
- Misusing legal prescription drugs.
- Consuming drugs despite knowing the harmful effects it can have.
- Alcohol addiction disorder.
- An existing mental illness or disorder leading to substance or alcohol abuse.
- Excessive drinking or substance abuse leading to a problematic mental state.
- Drugs or alcohol misuse worsening the preexisting mental health condition of an individual.
Dual diagnosis is commonThis disorder is not a rare phenomenon. Many studies and researches have led to the decision that almost 50% of all who suffer from an existing mental condition also have an addiction disorder.
Dual diagnosis has many formsJust like addiction, dual diagnosis disorder can have many forms. For example, you can have an addiction to drugs, gambling, alcohol, sex, eating, or anything else. At the same time, you can also have psychological disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, clinical depression, binge-eating disorder, and even a combination of these. There are endless possibilities.
It is difficult to treatWe already mentioned that researchers are still trying to understand the nature of this disorder. It is also to be noticed that the origin of dual diagnosis disorder and its symptoms is still unclear in many cases. Doctors couldn't understand if an already existing mental illness led to addiction disorder or if it is the other way around. For example, when someone suffers from depression, it is hard to tell if the depression originated from the existing drug abuse or if it's caused by an individual's mental illness. Since clinical depression can emerge as a symptom of many things, it becomes difficult to track and treat the disorder.
Dual diagnosis patients are at high-riskBad mental health is already a thing to worry about. Club it with addiction and the resulting complications, and the risk doubles. Since patients with dual diagnosis disorder suffer two conditions at a time, they more often get suicidal thoughts and develop violent tendencies.
Pre-existing mental illness leads to easy addictionMental illness can be physically, emotionally, and of course, mentally deteriorating. Those who suffer from depression, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, etc., already have a weak mental state and can easily become prone to addiction. They may also voluntarily choose to drink or consume as an escape from reality and to feel better.
The special condition needs special attentionAny health condition that includes mental state has to be taken slowly at a steady pace. The focus should always be on the individual and their comfort. People with dual diagnoses, the emphasis should be put on giving special attention by trained staff who know an approach that the patients are comfortable with.
Dual diagnosis takes longer to treatWhen talking about addiction or disorder of any sort, there are usually no shortcuts to achieving success. However, dual diagnosis is a condition that is a culmination of addiction and mental illness that may require special attention and care which may extend the treatment period to months or even years.
TreatmentDifferent cases need a different approach however, many therapists choose to tackle mental conditions first. They subsequently also induce healthy traits into the individual's life so that the addiction element is also being focused upon. Once the patient shows progress, the treatment can be moved forward in the same direction. If not, then maybe it is the addiction that needs to be targeted at first. This is why dual diagnosis is difficult to manage. Medical professionals are unsure which approach is going to work.
ConclusionDual diagnosis may look like a disorder that may not have any treatment and is incurable. However, that is not true. There are credible resources and treatment centers established to look upon this co-occurring disorder and treat it for good. The primary problem lies in the identification of the symptoms. Even though the medical personnel know what they are looking at, they have to trace the condition back to its origin to be able to move in the right treatment path. So, if you or someone you know have a dual diagnosis, there is nothing to worry about. With passion and constant efforts, everything is possible. Get help as soon as possible.
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