What Is Dual Diagnosis

The process of dual diagnosis is utilized when a person has a mental disorder and a coexisting addiction to alcohol or drugs. It is possible to suffer from two simultaneous and related mental disorders but the existence of addiction is also normally the most common factor. In the United States, approximately four million adult citizens suffer from both a serious mental illness and an addiction to some sort of substance. Unfortunately, these trends are only increasing each year, especially for those seeking treatment for their personal issues.

The biggest danger of comorbid conditions is that they can develop from any singular disorder. Someone who is already being afflicted with a mental disorder may turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to cope and self-medicate with his or her respective stress and pains. Reversely, an individual may be struggling with an addiction to an illicit or prescribed substance. Either through a direct effect of use or an associated consequence of withdrawal, the drug may lead to the onset of a destabilizing mental disorder. Through this multi directional relationship, coexisting mental problems can be extremely difficult to effectively manage and recover from.

As it stands now, more than half of the people living with co-occurring disorders did not receive an intervention through any medical treatment or therapy to set or maintain their path towards a stable lifestyle. Furthermore, those who did receive treatment only addressed one of their identified issues, leaving a large majority of the public underserved. In the past year, men were twice as likely to have a problem with addiction while women were similarly likely to deal with a type of mental disorder. Other troubling statistics include the prevalence of alcohol addiction within dual diagnosis populations, which is now at 45 percent and the increase in prescription painkiller abuse to an estimated 21 percent.

To combat the powerful and cyclical damage multiple disorders can do, the framework of dual diagnosis was developed. One of the most notable conflicts one with comorbid disorders has is consistently falling into relapse or being unable to make progress in managing his or her mental illness. This is because only half of the problem is being treated. All issues must be addressed at the same time to allow a full and long-lasting recovery to happen. A person in need of dual diagnosis has two or more separate conditions and each illness needs its own treatment plan to ensure a successful recovery.

If you or someone you love has had trouble getting sober or getting his or her mental disorder under control, the case could possibly be the existence of multiple issues. To identify if someone is struggling with co-occurring disorders or for those seeking this treatment for dual diagnosis, call the Dual Diagnosis Helpline at 855-981-6047 or chat with a representative online anytime.