It is estimated that for every 100 people who enter a treatment program for alcohol and drug abuse, only three will be clean and sober one year after treatment. That means 97 out of 100 people fail at living life without drugs and alcohol and return to active addiction. Many never make it back to treatment and die from their addictions. Many people have turned to 12 Step programs such as AA or NA or become active in churches, temples or mosques only to find themselves failing at a life free from addiction.
Why do so many people fail at living a life free from the bondage of drugs and alcohol? Maybe drugs and alcohol aren’t the only problems. Maybe the true culprit is something overlooked and until it is addressed the problem with addiction never goes away. 79% of people battling addictions face what is medically termed, a “dual diagnosis”. It is real and must be dealt with at the same time as substance abuse treatment for any true success in recovery….
What is a dual diagnosis?
Here are 10 things you need to know about addiction and dual diagnosis…
Dual diagnosis is not a rare phenomenon – Some studies indicate that as many as 79% of those with a drug or alcohol addiction also have some form of mental illness
Dual diagnosis comes in many forms – Any combination of mental illness (including anxiety disorder, depression, etc.) and addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, etc.) can qualify an individual as a dual diagnosis patient. As one can imagine, the possibilities are almost endless.
Dual diagnoses are difficult to treat – One of the things that make dual diagnoses so difficult to treat is that it is hard to know where certain symptoms are coming from. For example, if a dual diagnosis patient is suffering from depression, there’s no way to know initially whether the drug addiction or the individual’s mental illness is causing the problem. Depression is a symptom of many things, so the challenge is on the medical professional to find the cause and treat it.
Those with dual diagnoses are high-risk patients – Coping with mental illness is difficult enough, but when you factor in complications from addiction, it’s easy to understand the high suicide rate and violent tendencies of those with dual diagnosis.
Those with mental illness are more susceptible to addiction – Again, those coping with mental illness are at risk for addiction. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and other conditions are likely to see their casual drug use or drinking quickly escalate to an addiction.
Many drug rehab facilities are not equipped to handle dual diagnosis patients – As you’ve already learned, dual diagnosis is a complicated issue. Only those facilities with a psychiatric staff and an emphasis on dual diagnosis are actually equipped to help these individuals with their recovery.
The best dual diagnosis programs provide integrated treatment – Treating both the mental illness at the same time, all under “one roof”, has been a very successful method of therapy for the dual diagnosis patient.
Dual diagnosis treatment may take longer to complete – There is no “quick fix” for drug or alcohol rehab, but when you factor in the care and patience required to treat mental illness, you have a situation that may have to be extended by months and perhaps even years.
Good dual diagnosis programs move at a pace that’s comfortable for the individual – Because of the mental illness component; you must move dual diagnosis rehab along at a pace that the individual feels comfortable with.
If you or someone you know has a dual diagnosis, contact www.dualdiagnosis.org, www.recovery.com, or ask your family doctor for a referral to an addiction specialist for help.
There is no “one size fits all” method in recovery. Find what works for you.
This is my journey; this is my life.