The term dual diagnosis describes a condition in which one or more psychiatric illness is present, along with the concurrent presence of substance abuse. Dual diagnosis is not synonymous with co-occurring disorders, which are one or more psychiatric conditions that may/may not be accompanied by substance abuse.
Dual diagnosis is a common condition among drug and/or alcohol addicts because addiction is of a resultant by-product of deeper emotional problems. Dual diagnosis, are also referred to as co-morbidities, concurrent disorders, and/or dual disorders. According to Dual Recovery Anonymous, a dual disorder uses "dual diagnosis" to refer to a case when an individual has two separate but very interrelated diagnoses, which are a mental health disorder; and a chemical dependency or substance abuse. Depression is the most common mental illness associated with substance abuse.
Symptoms of depression may include:
Profound feelings of sadness
Decrease in appetite
Persistent exhaustion and/or fatigue
Unexplained aches and pains
Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
Inability to socialize
Dual diagnosis treatment should be obtained at properly staffed dual diagnosis centers, wherein appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and after-care planning occur, in a safe, highly monitored, and comfortable environment. Dual diagnosis conditions can be managed and even overcome with significant treatment and commitment.
The complexities around a dual diagnosis are far greater than those for a stand-alone chemical addiction. When the underlying psychiatric issues that so commonly lead to substance abuse are untreated, the recidivism or relapse rate is almost 100%, which speaks to the critical nature of seeking and obtaining proper, comprehensive treatment in the proper setting. Some dual diagnosis treatment programs offer holistic healing approaches that address the physical, emotional, and psychological issues, as well as relationship issues.