A dual diagnosis is a term that is used when someone has both a mood disorder like bipolar or depression and a drug or alcohol addiction. People that have a dual diagnosis have two separate illnesses. Each individual illness will require it's own treatment protocol. Anytime there is a co-occurring disorder, it's called a dual diagnosis.
There are different signs and symptoms of a dual diagnosis. Since there are two different disorders, the symptoms may manifest themselves differently depending on the exact combination of the disorders.
Some of the symptoms of a dual diagnosis are Depression, Social withdrawal, Euphoria, Moodiness, thoughts of suicide, Delusions, Anger issues, and fear and anxiety.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA, in many cases, the drug abuse may create the mental illness. Such drugs as meth, heroin, and cocaine may actually change the chemistry in the brain and reset the thought patterns of such individuals. This can change how they react to different situations. It can change their mood, cognitive impairment, and their anxiety or depression.
Long-term use can significantly alter the perceptions of such patients and significantly affect their mood disorders. The longer they use the drugs the worse they can get.
One treatment that utilizes a multidisciplinary method is integrated dual disorder treatment or IDDT. This method uses social intervention to improve the requirements of such clients and their families. It helps to promote the client and family involvement and helps the patient to secure stable housing as a requirement for their recovery and it also helps them with employment.
The IDDT therapy will help to reduce the chance of relapse of both the mental illness and the substance abuse. It will reduce the incidence of hospitalization and potential arrests of the patient. It will help the patient to receive continuity in their care and to have a higher quality of life. It will help them to navigate stable and independent living situations and retain their jobs.
Unfortunately, those who have suffered from dual diagnosis have statistically fallen through the cracks. They have been excluded from many of the mental health treatment options due to their substance abuse. They've then been excluded from the substance abuse treatment centers due to their mental health issues. Thus, they've not been given the quality care that they require to enjoy a life.
While not a rare situation, dual diagnoses typically include some form of mental illness. There are any number of potential combinations, therefore, treatment must be as individualized as the patient himself. It's difficult to tell which came first, the mental health issue, or the drug or alcohol addiction. Patients must be treated for both conditions separately, yet together in order to have a more positive outcome.
Unfortunately, mental health issues often leave patients more susceptible to drug or alcohol addictions. Many can quickly escalate from one small drink to the entire bottle without hardly batting an eye due to their dual diagnosis. A lot of drug rehabilitation facilities are poorly equipped to deal with a dual diagnosis. Clearly, treatment for both conditions is tantamount to a successful outcome.
Utilizing an integrated treatment program is far more successful for a positive outcome for the patient. It may take longer for the patient to complete, however, the patient will have a better success rate if they take the time to treat both conditions separately and together.