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January 28, 2015
What Is Dual Diagnosis: Interventions for Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Mental Health

What Is Dual Diagnosis: Interventions for Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The connections between substance abuse and mental health conditions are crystal clear – those that abuse drugs and alcohol are more likely to suffer from a mental health condition (depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, and PTSD), and those suffering from a mental health condition are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol or develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Families often ask, “What is more of a concern, the mental health issue, or addressing the substance abuse/addiction issues?” The answer to this question given by Intervention Helpline certified intervention professionals is always, “Both are equally important to address.”

At Intervention Helpline, we believe in holistic approaches to treating an individual. It is our belief that you need to treat the whole person when you treat and disease, including addiction. If you aren’t treating all factors that play a role in substance abuse and addiction, you aren’t treating the whole problem.

Dual diagnosis treatment is one of the ways that addiction can be treated holistically, and all aspects of the addiction can be addressed.

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual Diagnosis is a diagnosis of one or more physical, mental health, or emotional issues in and individual that is also suffering from substance abuse and/or addiction issues. These multiple issues – also called co-occurring disorders – require concurrent treatment to address the interconnected symptoms and to recover completely from all existing co-occurring disorders/conditions.

The Connections between Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse

More than 80% of those people with a substance abuse problem, substance use disorder, addiction, alcohol use disorder, and alcoholism also suffer from an additional underlying condition. Over 60% of those addicted to drugs and alcohol also suffer from mental health issues. In some cases, the drug and alcohol use led to the development or worsening of the mental health issue; and in other cases, the individual began using drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with – or self-medicate—the symptoms of the mental health condition.

Mental Illness or Addiction: How Do You Know Which Came First?

In the occurrence of a dual diagnosis, it can be very difficult for even doctors to adequately diagnose the type and severity of a mental health condition. Because drug and alcohol use causes side effects and behaviors that mimic many psychoses and mental health conditions, it can be almost impossible to distinguish between pre-existing conditions and symptoms, and those symptoms that are directly caused by drug and alcohol use.

In order for a clean diagnosis to be done, and for a doctor to say with certainty that a person has certain characteristics of a mental illness, the individual must be clean and off drugs and alcohol for a period of time. Because these individuals often cannot stay off drugs and alcohol for longer than a few days, confirmed diagnoses are hard to make. What the individual needs is dual diagnosis treatment to treat mental health symptoms and addiction symptoms to achieve baseline sobriety (at least 30 days, up to 6 months), at which time a proper diagnosis can be made.

What Mental Health Issues Require Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Dual diagnosis treatment is used to treat and underlying condition which contributes to substance abuse – the majority of-which are classified as mental health disorders. Some of the disorders are more common (like depression or anxiety), and others are more rare and severe (like schizophrenia).

No matter how minor the mental health condition may seem to the sufferer or their family, these conditions must be recognized and addressed during addiction treatment, and the standard treatment type for treating this co-occurring disorders is through dual diagnosis treatment.

The following are examples of conditions that would require dual diagnosis treatment:

  • Acute Stress Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Adjustment Disorder (with anxious features)
  • Agoraphobia
  • Anxiety (Caused by a co-morbid medical condition)
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder (Chronic Panic Attacks)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder)
  • Specific Phobia (Simple Phobia)
  • Bipolar Disorders
  • Hypomanic Disorders
  • Manic Disorders
  • Mixed Specifier (Mixed Episode Disorders)
  • Depersonalization Disorder
  • Dissociative Amnesia
  • Dissociative Fugue
  • Dissociative Identity Disorders
  • Dissociative Disorder (NOS – Not Otherwise Specified)
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Pica
  • Circadian Rhythm Disorder (Sleep-Wake Disorder)
  • Hypersomnolence (Hypersomnia)
  • Insomnia Disorder
  • Nightmare Disorder
  • Narcolepsy
  • Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep Disorder
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Arousal Disorders (Night Terrors/Sleep Terrors & Sleepwalking Disorders)
  • Autism (Aspergers, Spectrum Autism, Autistic Disorder, and Rett’s)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD and ADD)
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Reading Disorders
  • Separation Anxiety Disorders
  • Social Communication Disorders
  • Stuttering, Lisp (Speech Disorders)
  • Tourette’s Disorder
  • Transient Tick Disorders
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Avoidant Personality Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Dependent Personality Disorder
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder
  • Multiple Personality Disorder (Dissociative Identity Disorder, Schizophrenia)
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
  • Paranoid Personality Disorder
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder
  • Personality Disorders
  • Acute Depression
  • Chronic Depression
  • Acute Stress Disorder
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Somatic Symptom Disorders
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Bereavement
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder
  • Brief Psychotic Disorders
  • Conversion Disorders
  • Delusional Disorders
  • Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorders
  • Dysthymic Disorders
  • Gaming Disorder (Gaming Addiction)
  • Gender Dysphoria
  • Hoarding Disorders
  • Hypochondriasis (Illness Anxiety, fear of catching diseases)
  • Germaphobia
  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder
  • Kleptomania
  • Neurocognitive Disorders (Major and Minor Disorders)
  • Pain Disorder (Chronic Pain)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Pathological Gambling (Gambling Addiction)
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD)
  • Pyromania
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder
  • Trichotillomania

The Serious Need for Mental Health Interventions

Mental health conditions are progressive in nature, meaning that they will usually get worse over time, if they are not being treated. This makes identifying and receiving treatment for mental health conditions incredibly important. Yet, most that are afflicted with mental health conditions never seek treatment for those disorders.
Because those with depression, anxiety, and other co-occurring mental health disorders do not actively seek treatment for themselves, many times it is up to the loved ones and family of that individual to intervene and to prompt treatment.

Taking that big step of admitting there is a problem, and admitting that help is needed, is sometimes too big a step for an individual to take on their own. Even if the individual is suffering and passively asking for help, it usually takes the help of the whole family and those closest to the individual to prompt acceptance of help and dual diagnosis treatment.

How Intervention Helpline Helps Assists Families in Taking the First Steps towards Dual Diagnosis Treatment

How to Get Help With Dual Diagnosis Addiction TreatmentIntervention Helpline’s staff of certified intervention professionals have years of experience in helping families to address their loved ones mental health conditions, substance abuse issues, or both. Starting with an assessment, we find the basic needs that your loved one will require for treatment, work with families to make that treatment available, and proceed with mental health and dual diagnosis interventions alongside the family of the individual.

Taking the big step of performing a mental health intervention is only the first step. Intervention Helpline focuses on long term recovery planning, recovery monitoring and compliance, and we follow through with subsequent needs of the individual and the family.

This means that our help to you and your family does not end when the treatment program ends. We continue to work closely with families to ensure that not only does the individual receive treatment, obtain sobriety and begin to recover, but that they continue on their path to recovery and stay sober.

Mike Loverde

Mike Loverde is a Certified Intervention Professional with more than 10 years of experience, and he is the founder and president of Intervention Helpline. He believes in taking a family-first approach to every intervention, and he created Intervention Helpline with the primary purpose of saving each family’s loved one before it is too late.

Furthermore, he is the primary writer for the Intervention Helpline Blog. He is always eager to share his insight and expertise on interventions, addiction treatment programs, rehab insurance coverage, relapse prevention and many other related topics.

Read the latest blog articles from the desk of Mike Loverde here, and don’t hesitate to contact if you have any questions or need intervention help now.

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