What is a dual diagnosis?
Dual Diagnosis refers to those individuals who suffer from both a mental illness and an addiction at the same time. These co-occurring disorders are difficult for the person living with them, and just as hard for medical professionals to treat.
How common is dual diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis is far more prevalent than most people think. Consider the following statistics:
- 50% of those with severe mental disorders also have a substance abuse problem
- A third of those individuals who are clinically diagnosed as having severe mental illness are also abusing drugs or alcohol
- 53% of those individuals who abuse drugs also have some form of mental illness
- 37% of those individuals who abuse alcohol also have some form of mental illness
- In our prison system, almost 20% of all inmates are believed to be classified as dual diagnosis.
- With numbers like that, it is easy to see why proper treatment programs for those with dual diagnosis are so crucial.
What are the illnesses associated with a dual diagnosis?
The mental illness component of a dual diagnosis can include any number of conditions, but most commonly are one of the following:schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, severe panic attacks or bipolar disorder. The addiction component is most often comprised of a drug or alcohol addiction, but could also be an addiction to sex, eating disorders or other compulsive behaviors.
Why is dual diagnosis a challenge for medical professionals?
One of the challenges in identifying and treating the dual diagnosis patient, is the similarity of symptoms across both components of the disorder. Simply put, the symptoms associated with bipolar disorder might have a lot in common with those associated with substance abuse. There is a lot of overlap between symptoms. Also, those with a mental illness are more likely to move from drug use into drug addiction, increasing the urgency of the situation for those providing the treatment.
What is the best way to treat a dual diagnosis?
Integrated rehab programs are the most successful in treating dual diagnoses. These programs treat the mental illness and addiction component all under one roof. There are psychiatric professionals working alongside drug counselor to treat every aspect of the individual and their issues.
The pace of dual diagnosis treatment
Treating the addiction component of a dual diagnosis effectively means moving at a slower, more deliberate pace. The rehab process must take into the account the fragile nature of those suffering from a mental condition. For this reason, the rehab professional must work closely with the individual, and taper the program to meet their specific needs. There a lot of negative forces impacting the life of the dual diagnosis patient – and conscientious, detail-oriented care is the recipe for positive results.
To treat a dual diagnosis effectively, it is essential that you find a rehab program that offers specialized help to those with co-existing mental illness and addiction. Visit our Dual Diagnosis Treatment directory to find Florida’s finest dual diagnosis facilities.