Dual Diagnosis – Double Troubled Mind
According to some researches, nearly 50% of people suffering some form of addictions suffer some mental illness at the same time. In medical terms – they are diagnosed with dual diagnosis. The most common mental health issues co-existing with substance abuse are mood disorders, such as depression or mania, anxiety disorders, personality disorders and schizophrenia. The connection between these two can be various. Sometimes, the underlying mental health issue pushes the patient towards substance abuse in an attempt of self-help and sometimes substance abuse triggers the development of some mental health problem.
Back in past, these two aspects of the dual diagnosis were treated separately, which turned out to be wrong and without the effect. Either the patients were treated by two separated teams of experts, each dealing with half of dual diagnose, either the patient were expected to get clear and detox before they were allowed to involve with mental illness treatment. Only recently scientists have finally merged these two and tried to heal them simultaneously.
Nowadays, more and more rehab centers and institutions for mental health treatment apply combined approaches consistent of methods for curing or at least controlling mental health problem and techniques effective in addictions and detox procedures. If the patient shows overlapped symptoms of both conditions, treating them both at the same time, in the same process has shown the best final outcomes.
Aside strictly medical and physical approach, both aspects of the dual diagnosis require a full team of experts, integrated psychotherapy and many other activities and aspect of the treatment aiming to boost patient’s self-esteem and to help him resocialize after the treatment has shown significant progress.
To get the dual diagnosis, you have to be examined by addiction specialist or a shrink and meet criteria for both medical illnesses. Often the clinical and behavioral presentation show more or less clear picture, suggesting the underlying problems. The most common symptoms include obvious abuse of drugs or alcohol or any other substance capable of altering mental state and losing control over the use of it. This sometimes leads to troubling behavior and the patient slowly gets into trouble in a professional aspect, emotional relationships or gets into various troubles in everyday’s life. This is often followed by an intensive feeling of guilt, shame or frustrations, which may interfere with estimation and determination with the other side of the dual diagnosis.
Treatment options are many, depending on the clinical picture of the patient. Most rehab centers include both mental health expert and expert experienced in the field of addiction. The mere treatment includes a wide range of medications to control symptoms, cognitive and behavioral psychotherapy, as well as the actual change in the lifestyle. Sometimes experts balance this treatment by focusing alternately to one and then to another illness after achieving steady progress with one of them. This is known as a sequential treatment.
Whatever process does the patient undergoes, curing mental illness will be made difficult by the ongoing addiction problem? This is why every treatment has to be highly individualized and include all the support and caring from patient’s close people, family, and friends.