What Is A Dual Diagnosis?
The term dual diagnosis refers to when an individual suffers from both a mental illness and a substance use disorder at the same time. Even though a dual diagnosis can often be hard to assign to a client, due to the magnifying nature of co-occurring symptoms, the co-occurence of these conditions is actually quite frequent, and well known in medical and rehab communities.
In fact, over 8% of the U.S. population suffers from some type of co-occurring disorder and has a dual diagnosis. Even though the condition can be rather common, that does not make its treatment any easier. In fact, it is imperative for individuals who suffer from co-occurring disorders to receive a dual diagnosis so that their rehab practitioners know to treat them for all occurring conditions simultaneously.
If you or your loved one suffers from co-occurring disorders, it is important that you and your treatment facility both know that your recovery treatment should focus on treating all present conditions at once. Treatment for a dual diagnosis has to be carefully coordinated and managed to ensure the best, most holistic form of recovery treatment and mental health management. A dual diagnosis can be tricky to work with and treat, but is it not impossible to do.
Definition of Co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
A co-occurring disorder, also known as a dual diagnosis, is a condition where at least one mental illness and one substance use disorder coexist within an individual at the same time. A person who suffers from a dual diagnosis can have a mental disorder paired with a drug use issue, an alcohol use issue, or all three at the same time. Individuals who suffer from mental health issues are at high risk for developing a co-occurring disorder, as they seek to manage their mental disorders with alcohol or drug use.
Whether an individual is being professionally medicated or using drugs illicitly does not really play a part in whether they develop this condition, they can still onset a dual-diagnosis if not careful with their medication use. Co-occurring disorders can refer to a multitude of different mental health and substance use conditions, the term is not assigned exclusively to any one type of dual diagnosis. Individuals who suffer from mental illness are more likely to be diagnosed with co-occurring disorders than individuals who do not suffer from mental health issues, but it is possible to develop a mental health disorder as a result of substance abuse as well.
The presence of multiple disorders in an individual can amplify the side effects of each disorder they are suffering from. Yet, it is possible for one condition to be accidentally overlooked, as the symptoms of each condition may closely mirror each other, and an individual may be diagnosed with only one part of the disorder. This can make treatment very difficult, as all present conditions should be treated at the same time to avoid added risk factors to the client’s health and safety.
Definition of Mental Health Issues
Mental health is an imperative component to the individual human and their overall health. Often referred to as the healthy balance in an individual’s mind, mental health includes a person’s emotions, psychological, social, and even physical well-being and is important at every single stage in the human life cycle.
Our mental health affects the way that we think, act, and feel. Issues with our mental health can affect our mood, our thoughts, our bodies, and the way that we perceive and interact with the world around us. Mental illnesses can be chronic conditions that affect an individual’s thinking, feelings, their moods, behavior and overall health. Mental illness is a serious issue across the United States that can have long-lasting, severe effects on the mind and body, and often can onset the misuse of outside substances and co-occurring disorders.
Definition of Substance Use Disorder
Substance use disorder is also a chronic condition that is characterized by drug-seeking behaviors, harmful consequences, severe side effects and long-lasting health conditions and changes to the brain. Substance use disorders are considered actual medical conditions that can be onset be either powerful prescription medications or illicit drug use.
Substance use disorders can often onset some times of mental health illness, and side effects, or magnifying pre-existing mental health issues and conditions. Addiction is a severe health epidemic in the U.S. that affects the minds and bodies of thousands of people. Addiction, like mental illness, can be treated. Rehabilitation programs can be frustrating and may feel long drawn out to individuals who undergo it, but treatment is well worth the struggle on the road to recovery.