Signing Into a Dual Diagnosis Program

Do you know what dual diagnosis is? Do you know where you can get services for dual diagnosis? If not, then read further to learn more about this complex disorder, and how to approach treatment.

Complex Diagnoses – Patients with dual diagnosis are most often those with a psychiatric disorder or mental disability combined with a drug dependency or addiction. Medical professionals often find it very challenging to make a dual diagnosis in a patient presenting with a substance abuse problem. Long-term abuse of certain substances can mimic symptoms that resemble those of mental illness, or even provoke the onset of mental illness, and it is not until the substance is withdrawn that a clearer diagnosis can be made. On the other hand, psychiatric disorders can be masked by substance abuse. When multiple disorders are present and combined with substance abuse, treatment can not only be ineffective, but counterproductive.

Signing Into a Dual Diagnosis Program

How to know dual diagnosis treatment is Needed – When an individual is experiencing difficulties related to drug abuse and concomitant mental illness that are having a negative impact on their ability to function in relationships, or when they have begun to exhibit indications of potential self-harm or confrontational behavior toward others, an intensive inpatient treatment can be appropriate. Family members may be able to help the patient enter a program with the help of their family physician, or on the recommendation of hospital staff.

Denial can be characteristic of those with dual diagnosis. This group of patients may resist admitting or find it difficult to acknowledge that they have a problem. Patients often lack the insight necessary to recognize how serious there problem has become, and they may resist initial attempts to help them. However, health care providers can convey to these patients the importance of recognizing a pattern of abuse that may be having a damaging effect on their ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life.

Prognosis for Treatment – Those with a dual diagnosis sometimes face an uphill battle, particularly if they have been involved in long-term substance abuse and suffer concomitant psychiatric disorders that compromise their capacity for decision making. However, in a well-integrated, seamless, dual diagnosis treatment program, these patients can proceed at their own pace under the care of a team of health professionals offering coordinated care in one setting. In this environment, treatment is much more likely to be consistent than in a traditional setting, patients are more likely to be given credit for the progress they make, and they are less likely to relapse into a pattern of substance abuse.

Along with a full spectrum of treatments for drug addiction and psychiatric disorders, a well-equipped dual diagnosis program can help patients to develop their own goals, to better assess their own progress in recovery, and to develop positive coping skills that will help them to actively control their behavior. They can also provide ongoing counseling and monitoring, as well as social support to help patients develop and maintain positive relationships with their peers.

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