What is a Dual Diagnosis

May 27, 2020

Many times, friends or family wonder whether or not their loved one is suffering from just simply substance abuse, or if there is an underlying mental health issue. It can be very difficult to understand whether or not the mental health symptoms are caused from the substance abuse or vice versa. The truth is, either one may develop first, but the substance abuse can be the chosen form of self-medication.

Approximately a third or more of all people experiencing mental illness also experience substance abuse issues. Studies show that men are more prone to developing co-occurring disorders than women.

Dual diagnosis includes a diagnosis for both a mental illness and an addiction. The severity and impact of either will look different for each person along with having added challenges. When people are in an active addiction, it is difficult to diagnose and adequately treat mental illness. Normal withdrawal symptoms in early recovery and the negative consequences of behaviors of active addiction can also create symptoms of mental illness. Treatment of both mental health symptoms and addiction are essential to improve outcomes of treatment.

For many people with addiction, treatment with psychotropic medications is necessary for early withdrawal symptoms and may only be necessary for 6-12 months. Ongoing need for medication, as well as long-term therapy or other forms of treatment, can only be determined as part of the treatment process. Every individual is unique and continued assessment of mental health symptoms is necessary to determine severity and impact of this condition. The best way to determine the course of treatment is to observe the individual throughout a continuum of care and help manage symptoms. In turn, this process of treatment can assist the individual to create a manageable, productive, and fulfilling life moving forward.

Buena Vista Health and Recovery Centers provide Hospitality and World Class Healthcare in a supportive and individualized setting. Contact us now to learn how we can help you or your loved one begin the recovery process today.