Some studies indicate that as many as half of those with a drug or alcohol addiction also have some form of mental illness
Any combination of mental illness (including anxiety disorder, depression, etc.) and addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, etc.) can qualify an individual as a dual diagnosis patient. As one can imagine, the possibilities are almost endless.
One of the things that make dual diagnoses so difficult to treat is that it is hard to know where certain symptoms are coming from. For example, if a dual diagnosis patient is suffering from depression, there’s no way to initially know whether the drug addiction or the individual’s mental illness is causing the problem. Depression is a symptom of many things, so the challenge is on the medical professional to find the root cause and treat it.
Coping with mental illness is difficult enough, but when you factor in complications from addiction, it’s easy to understand the high suicide rate and violent tendencies of those with dual diagnosis.
Again, those coping with mental illness are at risk for addiction. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and other conditions are likely to see their casual drug use or drinking quickly escalate to an addiction.
As you’ve already learned, dual diagnosis is a complicated issue. Only those facilities with a psychiatric staff and an emphasis on dual diagnosis are truly equipped to help these individuals with their recovery.
Treating both the mental illness at the same time, all under “one roof”, has been a very successful method of treatment for the dual diagnosis patient.
There is no “quick fix” for drug or alcohol rehab, but when you factor in the care and patience required to treat mental illness, you have a situation that may have to be extended by months and perhaps even years.
Because of the mental illness component, you must move dual diagnosis rehab along at a pace that the individual feels comfortable with.
Integrated Treatment of Substance Abuse & Mental Illness