Dual Diagnosis: How to Know if You Need One

Dual Diagnosis: How to Know if You Need One

If you have a problem with depression, anxiety and drugs/alcohol, you have a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is common in a drug/alcohol treatment program. It is necessary for someone to tell their rehab about any mental illnesses that you may have had before coming into treatment.  Anxiety is a common problem for people that are addicted to drugs and alcohol.  Dual diagnosis are treated differently in the sense that each illness is treated differently. What works for one illness, may/may not work for another.

In recovery, clients often receive different treatments for their addiction and mental disorder.  It is okay to admit that you have a disorder because you can only get better from it in your 30 day inpatient stay.  Other mental disorders that are common for people coming into treatment are: schizophrenia, personality disorders, bi-polar disorder and others.

In a lot of cases, a person is trying to self-medicate themselves with drugs and alcohol.  Often, people don’t even know that they have a mental illness.  They are often given a dual diagnosis at the treatment center that they are going to be attending.

Unfortunately, those that have a dual diagnosis often suffer more challenges than those that don’t.  For starters, they tend to have an increased rate in relapse, homelessness and hospitalization.  The need for it seems to grow.

Having a dual diagnosis means that you have to work on your drug/alcohol issues and psychiatric issues that you need to work on in rehab.  Rehab is a time when you get to focus in on yourself.  Your therapist and assigned psychiatrist should be able to help you find a way to treat your addiction.  Be honest with your medical team while you are in rehab.  Let them know how you are feeling and what is going on with you.  It is important to understand that your life is going to be balanced.

Some books to read on the topic are:

  • Dual Diagnosis, Second Edition: counseling the Mentally Ill Substance Abuser (Evans, Dual Diagnosis) by Katie Evans PhD and J. Michael Sullivan PhD.
  • Dual Diagnosis Anonymous: A Journey Through the Twelve Steps Plus Five by Corbett Monica
  • Riding the Wave: The Biography of a Patient with Dual Diagnosis by Sheri L. Gotsch
  • Chemical Dependency Counseling: A Practical Guide by Robert R. Perkinson

It is important to find a treatment center that values continuing recovery.  Once you get out of rehab, it is important to understand that you need to attend group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous.  You should feel safe before and after rehab.  Your family should be involved in an addict’s recovery as well.  Family members often support a person that has addiction issues by encouraging them to stay sober long after they are out of rehab.  They can also remind an addict to take their daily medications and see their therapist regularly.

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