A Brief Overview of Dual Diagnosis and Its Treatment Options


Dual diagnosis is a combination of two illnesses. These illnesses usually comprise either depression or bipolar disorder or any mental illnesses and an issue (or addiction) related to substance abuse. The problem is a combination of two illnesses and both illnesses require separate treatments. This means that a person suffering from dual diagnosis requires consulting a specialist who is capable enough to treat both the illnesses separately. Even though it is an extreme condition, it is not rare. Often it is found that a person with a mental disorder also suffers from an addiction or vice versa. What people don’t usually realise is that this combination is very dangerous. It is also not a rare occurrence that people suffering from dual diagnosis often attempt suicide. Hence, the treatment of this illness needs to be done carefully and thoroughly. Moreover, to treat it, it becomes all the more necessary to identify where the majority of symptoms of dual diagnosis are coming from, the mental disorder or the addiction. Therefore, the treatment for dual diagnosis should be commenced at the earliest as the patients are high-risk ones. No time must be spared to initiate the treatment as the results can be fatal if dual diagnosis not treated in time.

Since precaution is always better than cure, it is understood that proper treatment should begin even before the condition turns into the illness of dual diagnosis. If a person is suffering from any mental disorder, chances are that it won’t be long before it is combined with an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, or sex. However, this situation can be avoided if proper and timely treatment of the mental disorder is done. Another important thing that must be kept in mind is that most of the drug rehabs are not capable enough to deal with the issue of dual diagnosis. Only a place with a psychiatric staff is capable of treating patients suffering from dual diagnosis. The treatment should be undertaken preferably at one place. Even though separate treatment options are available for both illnesses, the treatment must be done simultaneously at one center, under the supervision of the same group of specialists. The people assigned to the treatment can also keep a proper track of the symptoms and recovery of a patient with regard to both the illnesses. However, it is important that the people treating a patient must have complete knowledge of the psychiatric aspect.

The patients and their peers must not get impatient for recovery as it is a gradual process and may take months, or years perhaps, for a complete recovery. There is no such thing as “prompt recovery” in dual diagnosis. This is a situation which does require time to come out of it. Also, the treatment must never be left in between even if the patient is feeling perfectly fine. One should know that this is not only true for dual diagnosis but for nearly any kind of disease. Sometimes, when a patient starts feeling normal, the peers may decide to stop the treatment then; however, this must never be done. Only when the treatment process is complete should the customer be allowed to stop the treatment. Also, ensure that the treatment must not be imposed on the patient. It must be done at a pace which is suitable for the patient. Naturally, in such a severe illness as this, not all patients can be expected to take the treatment in all positivity. Some of them may take more time to recover than the others. The comfort of the patient must always be considered before making any harsh treatment decision.

Some important points about the treatment of a dual diagnosis is that one should never self-medicate themselves. Many times, the medication is to be taken on the basis of height and weight. Therefore, there is always a danger of taking an overdose, which can be very fatal. One should also know that there are some illegal drugs which manage to hide the symptoms but do absolutely nothing to treat the problem. What is more dangerous that self-medicating? Incorrect diagnosis. When a person does a self-diagnosis which turns out to be an incorrect one, it can lead to the problem remaining untreated and often this leads to the condition becoming worse. One should never take a casual approach when one experiences even the slightest indication of the symptoms of dual diagnosis. The first thing that one should do is seek a professional help. The person treating someone having dual diagnosis should have a complete knowledge of the psychiatric conditions. The reason for the need of a professional approach is that this condition is more often than not, a fatal one. When it is a matter of life and death, a casual approach can lead to one losing their life.