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Dual Diagnosis: Focusing on the Mental Aspect

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Dual diagnosis can be a serious problem because of the person who is experiencing the problem can’t completely be treated. One of the widely accused reasons why people develop dual diagnosis is because of the mental status of the person who has failed to cope with the situation. In order to effectively treat the disease without any expectations of a relapse, medical practitioners must have the ability to treat both disorders. That would be pretty complicated.

Co-occurring diseases are common than anyone can imagine. According to studies, there are about 50% of drug abused people who are having an undiagnosed serious mental illness that will be more evident in the long run. Debates have been made regarding which triggered which. Statements are both true but to be able to cure something, one must focus on the preliminary reason why the person have accumulated the disorder.

Mental Illness versus Substance Abuse

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Talks about the development of dual diagnosis are said to be caused by both. Although, the exact reason was never really proven and is still a hanging controversy. Either way, development of underlying disorders still depends on the situation of the individual. Asking the process of which came first is like determining if the hen or the egg came first. Contrary to the doubts, there are confirmations that the mental disorder is the one that may be the cause of substance abuse in the individual remarking a major leap in the person’s behavior.

It is stated that in order to feel somewhat peppier, more cheerful and calmer, a person must submit to substance dependence like alcohol drinking or the use of illicit drugs. This is referred to self-medication. When a person results to frequent self-medication, it may lead to psychological or physical dependency to the substances. Once this happens, the person will suffer with not just one but two predicaments which, as a matter of fact, very debilitating on the part of the individual.

However, alcohol or drug abuse can merge and may continue when adulthood comes. This can contribute to emotional, social, and physical development of difficulties, each making its own turn on destroying a person’s life. When this happens, the person has to seek immediate help.

Usually, people who are suffering from emotional problems due to dual diagnosis tend to manifest disorders like:

• Anxiety – this includes the generalized panic, obsessive-compulsive behavior, paranoia and phobias.

• Depression – can also be associated with bipolar disorder.

• Schizophrenia and other personality disorders

Some of the major mental disorders that can trigger and heighten the risk for an individual to result in substance abuse are: antisocial personality disorder, schizophrenia, panic and manic disorder, depressive episodes, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

A psychiatrist can accurately tell if the person is suffering from substance dependency or mental illness although, in the case of dual diagnosis, determining which came first is difficult. It is also said that because substance abuse can mimic the conditions of psychiatric problems, the doctor have to dig deeper. Withdrawal syndrome can be mistaken as a cause of one mental problem.

No matter if dual diagnosis is caused by chemical abuse or mental illness, the medical team must be able to treat both simultaneously. It is not advisable to treat just one disorder because it can trigger a relapse.

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