The term dual diagnoses or dual disorders refers to circumstances in which the individual has both a substance abuse disorder (or addiction) and a coexisting psychiatric illness such as depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, social phobia, or other illness.
The symptoms of one condition may mask or aggravate the symptoms of the other. It is possible for people to have more than two disorders. Having a dual diagnosis can make treatment in a drug rehab more difficult and demands a level of competence from the staff.
When deciding upon the best treatment for dual disorders there are three main types to consider:
1) Those whose problem is predominantly a mental disorder but who have a substance abuse problem that is serious enough to need treatment in a drug rehab.
2) Those whose problem is predominantly substance abuse but who also have a psychiatric disorder that can interfere with treatment.
3) Those who it is not possible to determine whether drug addiction or mental disorder is the predominant problem.
An addiction treatment or mental health program that treats just one of these conditions is not likely to be successful. Treating a dual diagnosis requires a comprehensive plan that addresses all symptoms, disorders, and addictions.
Research in Treatment of Dual Diagnosis
There has been research published that suggests that people who have an addiction are more susceptible to developing a co-occurring mental disorder. This seems to be true even after the addict or alcoholic has been clean and sober for quite some time. Months or even years after the chemically addicted person stops using a chemical they are more prone to developing a psychiatric illness.
The opposite is true as well and people with psychiatric illness are more likely to develop a chemical addiction. Such clients benefit noticeably less from psychiatric treatment programs than those without a chemical dependency.
A drug rehab clinic that is able to effectively deal with dual disorders is more likely to have a successful treatment outcome for a patient with such a condition. There are several outstanding addiction treatment programs in South Africa and the UK that offer such a specialized service.
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Looking For Help With An Addiction Or Dual Diagnosis Problem?
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