What is Dual Diagnosis?
Medical professionals declare an individual with dual diagnosis when a mental health disorder is identified in conjunction with the individual’s substance abuse. Substance abuse includes drug abuse, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism. A mental health disorder – mental illness or mental addiction – is a psychological disorder or psychiatric disease. An individual with a mental health disorder in addition to their drug addiction or alcoholism is said to have a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis can also be referred to as co-occurring disorders, concurrent disorders, or co-morbid disorders.
Dual diagnosis includes a range of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders, eating disorders, and personality disorders. Both chemical dependence – mental, emotional, and psychological dependence –and physical dependence affect a person with dual diagnosis of co-occurring disorders.
This dual diagnosis can be made up of many different combinations of co-occurring disorders and substance abuse patterns. For example, an individual might abuse more than one type of drug, making dual diagnosis a more complex process. The focus of dual diagnosis is then to identify associated, or concurrent, mental illnesses with an individual’s substance abuse in a manner that is conducive to comprehensive addiction treatment for both the emotional and psychological illness and chemical and physical dependency to ensure addiction recovery.
Signs and Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis and Co-Occurring Disorders
An individual suffering from drug addiction and/or alcoholism may exhibit behavior indicative of co-occurring disorders and dual diagnosis. Symptoms of alcoholism and drug addiction that can be co-occurring with schizophrenic behavior, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, or other personality disorders can include behaviors such as:
- Abrupt changes in attitude
- Erratic mood swings
- Anger and violent outbursts
- Social isolation
- Lying and stealing
- Poor personal hygiene
- Other high risk behavior
The Importance of Dual Diagnosis and Proper Care of Co-Occurring Disorders
Over time, closer attention has been paid to treating mental health issues associated with drug addiction and alcoholism. Individuals entering alcohol rehab or drug rehab frequently receive addiction treatment services to address the substance of abuse exclusively. In this case, dual diagnosis of co-occurring disorders can remain undiagnosed, and thus untreated. It is important for individuals to receive proper dual diagnosis from a medical professional, as substance abuse can be more complex to treat when confounded with other mental health issues. Accurate investigation of dual diagnosis, including co-occurring disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety or schizophrenia, are fundamental in proper addiction treatment and quality care.
Individuals with dual diagnosis may be more susceptible to relapse. In a dual diagnosis, it may also be individuals with diagnosed psychiatric disorders that are often likely to abuse drugs and/or alcohol in an effort to self medicate. Those with mental health issues are often more sensitive to the effects of drugs and alcohol and can rapidly develop drug addiction or alcoholism. Further, the effects of drug addiction and/or alcohol addiction may hide the symptoms of a mental illness or vice versa.
Dual Diagnosis and Addiction Treatment at The Florida House Experience
The most effective addiction treatment for dual diagnosis simultaneously battles both diseases for which the individual is “dually diagnosed.” The Florida House Experience’s licensed clinical and medical professionals know the importance of addressing both the psychiatric issues and the disease of addiction. Our addiction specialists are trained and qualified in diverse treatment methods for dual diagnosis. We address both the body and mind in comprehensive addiction treatment, including therapeutic treatment.
Receiving a dual diagnosis does not mean an individual is less able to achieve addiction recovery. The implications of dual diagnosis are that an individual must be willing to accept help and put forth dedication and commitment to their addiction recovery.
The Florida House Experience provides comprehensive addiction treatment services for dual diagnosis, and addresses all aspects of the illness, including the mental and chemical dependencies. Our medical professionals and psychiatric team will evaluate and monitor your dual diagnosis, including psychological assessments, individualized therapy, and educational tools. Specialized dual diagnosis recovery plans are tailored to each individual, as dual diagnosis is unique to each person. We welcome both Florida and out-of-state residents to our dual diagnosis program.