Dual diagnosis is a term that medical professionals use to describe people with a drug or alcohol abuse problem as well as psychiatric/emotional problems. According to figures published by the American Medical Association (AMA), 53% of people who abuse drugs tend to have at least one mental illness. For alcohol abusers, 37% are grappling with psychiatric issues. If you fall in any of these categories, you should seek medical help as quickly as possible.
Connection Between Substance Abuse And Mental Illness
The connection between substance abuse and mental illness varies depending on an individual’s circumstances. Nevertheless, a report published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says that some people are at a higher risk of developing mental illnesses and abusing drugs as well. These include military veterans, males, and people of low socioeconomic status.
In addition, one may begin abusing drugs as a way of self-medicating an existing and untreated condition such as depression, panic attacks, stress, or anxiety. The problem with this approach is it does not treat the underlying condition and can even make it worse according to the same report published by NAMI. At the same time, mentally ill people who abuse drugs are unlikely to follow through with treatment plans prescribed by healthcare professionals. For example, they could fail to take their medications or miss hospital appointments while high on drugs and alcohol.
Detoxing And Treatment For Dual Diagnosis
The best type of treatment for dual diagnosis is to first use an integrated approach. This includes treatment of both the mental disorder and substance abuse problem. In most cases, a health professional will recommend inpatient detoxification at a hospital or specialized detoxification facility. This is necessary to ensure that a medical team is near to attend to patients who develop any complications related to alcohol and drug withdrawal.
After detoxification, patients normally continue rehabilitation through treatment options such as cognitive behavioral therapy, group psychotherapy, proper nutrition, exercise, and counseling. The aim is to make sure patients stay off drugs and alcohol and break free from addiction.
Family’s Role In Dual Diagnosis Treatment
During this period, it is important for family members, relatives and close friends of the patient to offer support, love, and care. Most importantly, family needs to be patient and know that recovering from a dual diagnosis will not happen overnight. It can take months or even years. The rule of thumb is for close family members to educate themselves about dual diagnosis to ensure they have a good grasp of the issues their loved one is facing. It is also wise to let a loved one know that certain disruptive behaviors cannot be tolerated. Family members should also seek advice from a professional to help them cope with a loved one’s dual diagnosis and the pain and disruption it may cause in their life.
All in all, although dual diagnosis drug and alcohol rehab is relatively complex and can time, it can be worth it. What’s more, an integrated and supportive approach that blends treatment for mental illness as well as substance abuse is more likely to produce positive results. This treatment should also involve partners, children, spouses and friends of the patient.