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Dual Diagnosis – Addiction and Mental Health

In simple terms, dual-diagnosis is about mental health and addiction, it is the occurrence of a mental health problem alongside an addiction problem. They are also known as co-occurring disorders by some and it just means that the two issues must be managed correctly in a registered dual-diagnosis rehab or clinic in order to find out what the real issues are. Diagnosing a primary psychiatric illness in chronic substance users is very challenging because drug use in itself can often induce psychiatric symptoms, making it important to differentiate between substance induced and pre-existing mental illness and treating them in the correct manner. Those with co-occurring disorders (dual diagnosis) face complex challenges. Having both the addiction and mental health problem means that they have increased rates of relapse, hospitalization, homelessness and often find it more difficult to remain substance free. In other words, one often makes the other worse and vice versa leaving a confusing mess of symptoms and distress.

Addiction and Mental Health - Dual Diagnosis. Mental Health and Addiction (Dual-Diagnosis).

Drug abuse, including alcohol and prescription drugs, can produce symptoms which resemble mental illness and this can make it hard to differentiate between substance induced psychiatric symptoms or syndromes and any pre-existing mental health problems. More often than not psychiatric disorders among substance users disappear with prolonged abstinence and that is why we always treat our clients with a period in detox first before allowing any diagnosis to be made. Substance induced psychiatric symptoms can occur during the intoxicated state and also during the withdrawal so that is why we need a period of time in which the client is substance free. The major symptoms usually disappear, leaving behind the true picture of what requires treatment but in some cases these substance induced psychiatric disorders can persist long after detoxing, such as prolonged depression or psychosis after cocaine or amphetamine abuse. Severe anxiety and depression are commonly induced by sustained alcohol abuse and this again, usually goes away after a period of sobriety. Long term benzodiazepine use is the most notable addiction for inducing prolonged withdrawal effects with symptoms sometimes persisting for many years after cessation of use.

Mental Health and Addiction (Dual-Diagnosis) Treatment

It is possible to recover fully, if treated correctly, I myself struggled with 25 years of depression and drinking but without the alcohol, life is very manageable. We work with what is, in my opinion, the best clinic at managing dual diagnosis issues here in Cape Town and we also have specialist clinics in other parts of South Africa. It is common for addiction to exist alongside all substance addictions but also process addictions and eating disorders. Whatever the situation, we assess every client individually and find the perfect treatment to suit them.

So, Addiction and Mental Health often go hand in hand and it is not unusual to be confused about which came first, if you are concerned that you or a loved one are living with a dual-diagnosis issue then Contact Us today and we will find the perfect Mental Health and Addiction (Dual Diagnosis) Treatment to suit.