The presence of a psychiatric ailment along with Addiction to Alcohol and Drugs is termed as Dual Diagnosis.
A person under the influence of a substance behaves many times in such a manner that it seems as though he is suffering from a psychiatric illnesses like bipolar disorder or psychosis. Several times during withdrawals the hallucinations and delusions might make it even seem so. Many a person addicted to substances have been misdiagnosed as manic depressive or bipolar or psychotic or schizophrenic. They have been put on psychiatric medications too. As addictive nature goes some of them consume the medications along with their substance of choice thereby eventually getting addicted to the prescribed medication as well.
A young client of ours had been admitted to rehab centers He would always be high on substances when he was admitted and his withdrawals would stop only after a month or two. However, at the center he was misdiagnosed as psychotic by all psychiatrist and psychologists who assessed him. He was put on medication which also he would get high on. Till finally all his behavioral traits subsided and it was revealed that he was suffering from extended withdrawals
Thus the person afflicted by addiction behaves like any other normal individual once the effect of the substance is off from his body and brain. On the contrary that of a mentally ill person would not recover even after the withdrawals of a substance subsided.
However, the possibility of a Psychiatric ailment occurring in concurrence to Addiction to substances is a reality. At times the person is already suffering from a mental ailment and at other times the mental ailment is induced by the substance usage and surfaces after the withdrawals are over.
Treatment of Dual diagnosis occurs when psychiatry and addiction treatment work in continuum . Professionals specially trained to treat the diagnosis of mental ailment and addiction are required.
Meditation has been shown to play a major role in aiding the person afflicted to be more aware of addictive thought processes . along with one to one counseling and group therapy progress can be made.
There are Self help groups for Dual diagnosis .
Such individuals would require longer stays in rehabilitation facilities that are also equipped to treat associated psychiatric ailments.
The Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment (IDDT) model is an evidence-based practice that improves the quality of life for people with co-occurring severe mental illness and substance use disorders by combining substance abuse services with mental health services. It helps people address both disorders at the same time—in the same service organization by the same team of treatment providers.
The care givers and family require co-dependency counseling too
Thus Dual diagnosis requires handling with a lot of patience, compassion and expertise and every chance at living life to the fullest without finding the need to use any substance.