Dual Diagnosis Information and Facts

Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is the term that refers to an individual who is suffering from comorborid disorder, which is defined as both a mental and substance abuse illness. Such a condition is used to describe a number of mental disorders that are present in conjunction with substance abuse, such as (depression and alcoholism), or (psychosis and heroin). It is without a doubt evident that substance abuse, as well as mental disorders alone are quite challenging to overcome, so it is not hard to see that one with both problems would benefit greatly from receiving professional help. There are various programs available that can help treat the disorder, and it is wise to take advantage of one of these good rehabilitation programs.

Patience and Dedication

Since dual diagnosis is actually two conditions, would assume that you treat them separately, but this is not quite the case. A mental disorder and substance abuse illness combined, will be treated concurrently by a good rehabilitation program which will professionally access the patients condition to its full extent and treat each individual patient according to the severity of their disorder. Most commonly patients with this condition are required to endure vigorous detoxification regimens, as well as counseling. Once a patient’s mental disorder is diagnosed, it makes it easier to tackle their mental disorder separate from their substance abuse detoxification process. Patients who have anxiety disorders and depression disorders are easier to treat in conjunction with their substance abuse illness as opposed to patients who have more complex mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, or personality disorders. However, rehab programs for people diagnosed with this condition can provide patients with all the tools and steps needed for a safe and successful recovery. Full recovery takes patience and dedication, but with the correct rehabilitation program such long-suffering will be more tolerable as well as rewarding.

Detox Process in Dual Diagnosis

A very scary part of rehab for any type of patient is the detox process. An individual suffering from any form of drug or alcohol addiction who has ever attempted to quit has experienced some sort of withdrawal symptoms, and they are nothing short of misery! Fortunately, the detoxification period of the rehabilitation process will help patients through this agonizing duration of detoxification safely.  It is common for patients experiencing this to be a person using substances in an attempt to combat their mental illness. Such a method is called “self medication”, however it does anything but medicate the mental condition. Many times the substance abuse actually appears to temporarily “soothe” mental disorders, while magnifying mental conditions, thus creating a false dependency. However, there have been many cases in which a completely healthy person has become addicted to drugs or alcohol, and has therefore developed serious mental illnesses as a result. Regardless of the order in which the duality has come about, rehabilitation will help to assess the condition and figure out a way to treat and prevent the condition from resurfacing again.

Although patients suffering from dual diagnosis have a very complex condition that is said to be treated all in one, such mental disorders can usually be treated with the proper medication which is separate from the detoxification process. The very first step to achieving complete wellness is to tackle the substance abuse issue first. This means that the detoxification procedure is the first, and most important step to being completely cured. The detoxification period can vary from person to person, since everyone’s body is different, and the time it takes can also be measured depending on what substance they are addicted to. Once the detoxification process has been completed, the next step to recovery is getting the patient into therapy. This therapy involves getting the patient to actively participate in counseling sessions which may involve other patients, or may require them to undergo these counseling sessions alone. Such counseling sessions will help each patient to become psychologically aware of their condition, encourage them on how they are progressing, and be educated with the right information in order to keep them on the right path to being cured of the illness for good.

Realizing Your Condition

Realizing that dual diagnosis is a condition which must be treated all at once, but involves detoxification before mental illness treatment, some would assume that it would be perfectly acceptable to treat a dual diagnosis patient at two separate facilities. However, these patients have shown a higher success rate for recovering when they opt for a rehabilitation program that involves treating both the substance abuse issue as well as the mental issue in one program, as opposed to going to a substance abuse program and then getting treated for mental illness.

You Have to Choose

Although the rehabilitation process can be effective and promising, much of the success and continued success can be attributed to how much the patient wants to be better. Much of the longevity of recovery from dual diagnosis can also require a great deal of lifestyle changes which requires a lot of discipline. Such lifestyle changes can include hobbies that involve people and places which can bring back about the symptoms of dual diagnosis. The rehabilitation program chosen should also preferably involve other after-care procedures that will help a person who has suffered from this serious condition to function normally in society after gaining wellness. Such help can include job and housing assistance, family counseling, which can help provide support to the dual diagnosis recovery, and even relationship management.


Each of the after-care options are beneficial to all patients recovering from dual diagnosis, even if they happen to receive prescription medication for their mental illness such as bipolar disorder, codependency and low self esteem. If a former dual diagnosis sufferer takes prescription medication to teat their mental disorder, it is advised that they be monitored or receive special “follow-up” visits with a professional in order to make sure that they do not return back to the pattern of substance abuse. Should a person recovering decide not to take prescription medicine to treat their mental condition, it is advised that they continue after the counseling provided by rehabilitation, and find a routine counseling program where a cognitive therapy approach will be offered.