Mental Health – Obtaining a Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Mental health professionals have a very difficult job. They must be able to diagnose a wide range of very difficult mental problems in the patients who visit them. This is especially difficult when one takes into account the fact that many of those who have mental health problems also have substance abuse problems. Are the problems being manifested a result of the person’s mental health problems or the person’s substance abuse problem? This is the question that the professional will often ask himself. Diagnosing the real problem can be a very complex task which often has no easy answer. The problem is that the symptoms are often very similar, and cannot easily be differentiated. The medical or mental health professional must delve into the person’s past to come up with some answers. This will often require extensive interviews with both the patient as well as his or her family.

It is important to find out which symptoms are a result of the mental health problems and which are the result of the addiction. This is essential to be able to design a treatment program. Once the professional has made an official diagnosis, he will then be able to offer a dual diagnosis treatment. A dual diagnosis treatment will be one that focuses on all ailments which are plaguing the individual. For example, if the patient has clinical depression as well as an addiction to heroine, it will be necessary to treat both of these problems. A treatment for the depression may include medication as well as therapy. A treatment for the addiction may include a 12 step program as well as therapy also. When such a dual diagnosis has been obtained, it is important to find a therapist who has experience in treating both disorders. Many times, a dual diagnosis treatment will involve a number of professionals. For example, a therapist as well as an addiction specialist could work in conjunction with one another to decide on a plan to be able to treat both conditions. Each of these professionals could offer suggestions to the other.

This form of teamwork is usually what is truly necessary for the patient to be able to become healthy again. This type of treatment will focus both on his or her addiction as well as whatever mental health condition is present. Without a team process, it will be unlikely that the person will ever get the help he needs, and he will likely continue to suffer with these maladies for the rest of his life. The reason that a dual diagnosis treatment is so necessary is that mental illness and addiction tend to feed off of each other. For instance, a person who has severe anxiety may have a difficult time going out into public because he is so anxious. He may turn to illegal substances to begin to soothe his nerves. He may find that this might help for a time, and he will take more of the substance. Before he is aware, he will be addicted, and his anxiety problem will still be there.

On the other hand, a person who has a substance abuse problem may develop a problem such as severe anxiety that did not exist before. This could be related to the side effects of the substances which he is taking. As one can see, this is a very complex process. The solution to these problems requires a team of professionals who are skilled and experienced in both the fields of mental health as well as addiction. For some individuals, such a dual diagnosis treatment will require the use of a long term treatment facility.