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Dual Diagnosis Treatment – Understanding The Link
July 1, 2015
1:51 pm
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July 1, 2015

Substance abuse problems are never ‘standalone’ problems. Often, they are accompanied by mental illnesses too. And this is the basic description of dual diagnosis. The term dual diagnosis is a very sweeping category but it deals with an individual who is experiencing mental illness and substance abuse simultaneously. Understanding and addressing the link between the two will lead to more effective treatment processes.

The link

Mental health problems and substance abuse interact and support each other. Either one of them can manifest itself first and then lead on to the other problem. For instance, a depressed individual may find solace in alcohol. Drug dependence can lead to an inability to perform socially. More importantly the problems may feed off each other.

If the depression is not treated, then an individual will be unable to stay away from the booze every time he feels low. The vicious cycle that flows between the two problems can be broken and treated only with dual diagnosis. Each problem can make the symptoms of the other problem worse.

Dual diagnosis is necessary

According to statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association:
• 29% of people diagnosed with mental illness abuse drugs or alcohol
• 37% of alcohol abusers have at least one serious mental illness and
• 53% of drug abusers have at least one serious mental illness.

Treatment for such individuals is difficult and complex. But it is also important to understand that successful treatment can be possible only when an individual is helped on both counts.

Sustained good health

A person dealing with substance abuse of any kind has to go back to normal life at some point of time or the other. While the risk of a relapse may be very real and significant, dual diagnosis will help such an individual by addressing psychiatric disorders too.

Otherwise, an individual may feel that the answer to his anxiety (or any other mental illness or problem) lies in a bottle of alcohol or excess food. Drugs may seem to present the ideal solution for stress and so on. But when an individual has found effective help and support for his mental illness, he is not likely to go back to ‘seemingly effective’ solutions such as drugs and alcohol.

How does the rehab program take place?

Rehab programs for individuals who suffer from such co-occurring diseases have to begin with the right kind of diagnosis. Diagnosis will determine the primary and secondary issues and also point to the factors contributing to the problems in the first place.

For instance, professional stress may be causing an individual to feel depressed. Or a personal relationship going sour may have brought on severe emotional trauma and so on. Rehab programs can then be conducted either on an outpatient or inpatient basis. Outpatient programs result in less disruption for the individuals but may also be more effective in cases where the problems do not necessitate rigorous interventions.

Thus, dual diagnosis can go a long way in helping people deal with two serious problems and make the person more effective in dealing with the rigors of normal life.

To know more please visit: A New Start Treatment

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