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Dual Diagnosis: The Real Deal

We see a lot of people turning to alcohol or drugs for comfort and escape from their daily lives. They abuse these substances because it gives them a temporary feeling of happiness, a sudden rush, sweet moments of euphoria. Has it ever occurred to you that these people might not just be dealing with substance abuse disorder? It may be more than that. They might be people with Dual Diagnosis.

Dual Diagnosis: Double Trouble

Dual diagnosis happens when a person has co-occurring disorders: one of substance abuse and one of a psychological nature. Substance abuse is apparent among people who are alcohol dependent or drug-addicted, and psychological disorders most common in people with dual diagnosis are anxiety disorders, personality disorders, depression, and schizophrenia.

In cases like these, it is hard to determine which among the two disorders came first. It could be that the person has a psychological disorder, and decided to turn to alcohol or drugs for momentary happiness. It is also possible that someone's substance abuse disorder gradually led to the loss of emotional and mental stability of that individual.

It is harder to treat persons with co-occuring disorders because they need more than just addiction treatment. They need to be treated for both conditions, otherwise, it is likely for them to have a relapse. For treatment, they first need to undergo the process of detoxification so that all traces of narcotics or alcohol will be eliminated from their bodies. Next, they have to be subjected to rehabilitation, wherein they will have to undergo therapy, counseling, and medication. This could take months or even years, but recovery is always worth the time spent in getting treatment.

There Is Always Hope

Fortunately, a lot of people with dual diagnosis are able to get better through constant treatment and a network of support once they are out of rehab. Relapses can happen, but with determination and a little help, the individual can achieve recovery again.

It is only natural that the family of someone with dual diagnosis will want him to get better. Yet, they have to understand that sometimes, it is hard for the person to admit that he has a problem. In cases like these, the family must be patient and try their hardest to be supportive of the person. Only when the person is truly aware of the predicament that he is in can he fully take the first step towards recovery.


sources: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dualdiagnosis.html http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs/communitysupport/toolkits/cooccurring/consumers.asp http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_publications_dualdiag http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Dual_Diagnosis_and_Integrated_Treatment_of_Mental_Illness_and_Substance_Abuse_Disorder.htm http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs/communitysupport/toolkits/cooccurring/families.asp

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