What Does a Dual Diagnosis Program Entail?

by | Aug 22, 2012 | Drug Abuse

Latest Articles



Before any form of treatment can commence, there has to be a correct diagnosis. This is where the dual diagnosis program comes in when dealing with people addicted to drugs as well as alcohol. One of the main reasons why many people turn to drugs and alcohol is to seek relief from stress and other mental burdens. Some people may also suffer dual diagnosis without necessarily being drug addicts. Whenever you are treating a patient for addiction, it is important to consider whether the patient may have other underlying psychological problems that could be contributing to the addiction.

  • A dual diagnosis program should be tailored for each individual. The problem that may be bothering one person may not be the same problem bothering another and this is the reason why personalized diagnosis should be performed. Dual diagnosis mainly entails treating individuals who are suffering from a drug addiction as well as psychiatric disorders. For instance, you can be addicted to drugs and at the same time, you may also be suffering from other disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or eating disorders among others.


  • Many people who usually have drug and alcohol addiction problems also tend to suffer from other mental disorders. Actually, studies reveal that most drug addicts suffer from mental disorders more than typical people who don’t use. The people who use drugs are more likely to suffer from mental depression and/or anxiety. In most cases, people are treated for addiction and the mental disorder is overlooked. However, it is important to adopt the dual diagnosis program that can help identify other underlying problems besides the addiction to drugs.


  • In most instances, it may be hard to tell which problem came first. For instance, did the person start using drugs and this led to the mental disorder? On the other hand, the mental disorder may have propelled the person to take drugs. The use of drugs can make the mental disorder even worse. Furthermore, taking drugs such as marijuana can trigger some psychotic episodes in some cases. However, through the dual diagnosis program, it is easy to identify the problems and treat them separately.


  • The services for substance abuse and drug abuse do not overlap. This implies that a person with dual diagnosis is usually managed through separate systems. This is the reason why the treatment for dual diagnosis tends to be a bit complicated. In a dual diagnosis program, both the drugs experts and the mental health specialists work together in order to provide an integrated treatment and care for people with dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis can mean an increase in challenging behavior such as self harm and aggression. Even after being treated for drug abuse, a person with dual diagnosis is still likely to go back to drugs even after treatment. This is the reason why proper diagnosis is vital.


Similar Articles