Dual Diagnosis

DUAL DIAGNOSIS2018-03-17T05:05:35+00:00

What Is Dual Diagnosis

A dual diagnosis describes a person who has both a mental health issue and substance use problem.

It becomes dual diagnosis when each condition are both equally important as each other and need to be treated at the same time.

In medical terms it refers to a person meeting the diagnostic criteria for two or more disorders as defined by the current DSM.

In Australia around 8.5% of population suffer from dual diagnosis at any given time. People with dual diagnosis are more reluctant to receive treatment and more likely not to receive the right kind of treatment.

There are a variety of models that help explain the development of co-occurring disorders. These are concepts are aimed at finding out how each issue developed and to help individuals, and health professionals to gain a better understanding of Dual Diagnosis or Co-Morbidity.

Developmental Models

  • 1. Common-factor model

    Both the addiction and mental health issue began at the same time because of a separate incident, intendancies or developments

  • 2.Secondary substance abuse/process addiction model

    The addiction developed as a direct result of the mental health issue

  • 3.Secondary mental health model

    The mental health issue began as a result of the addiction

  • 4.Bi-directional model

    It is unclear why the both began, but both impact profoundly on each other

Some people might argue, why is this relevant? How does it help someone with addiction issue? It may not be suitable to some and may not help others, but it might assist people to get a better understanding of the causes of each individual health issue and how they could have an impact on each other. Many people with mental health and addiction issues rarely only have just one of each. These problems evolve, change and morph over a period of time and this is vitally important when it comes to treatment. Both the addiction and the mental health issue have to be treated at the same time or at the very least develop an awareness of how each one impacts the other. Without it, a stable recovery is very difficult to achieve.

Many people first develop mental health issues after they become free from their addiction. This is very common. Likewise, research shows that over 50% of people who are diagnosed with a mental disorder will also have a substance abuse problem.

It isn’t long before addiction issues impact mental health issues and the cycle goes around again. Recognition and treatment of mental health issues play a large part in relapse prevention.
Although mental health issues and addiction can be challenging to face for both the addict and they’re loved ones, acceptance and understanding is the first step in getting an accurate assessment and appropriate long-term treatment


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