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Drug Treatment

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment is a term that refers to patients who have both a mental health disorder and substance use disorder. It may be used interchangeably with "co-occurring disorders" or "co morbidity." According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 10 million people in the United States will have a combination of at least one mental health and one substance abuse disorder in any twelve-month period. Substance abuse is the most common and significant co-occurring disorder among adults with such severe mental illnesses as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It may also be observed in individuals with mental health diagnoses that include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or eating disorders. The term "substance abuse" refers to substance use disorders that range along a continuum from abuse to dependence or addiction. The term "dual diagnosis treatment" is considered to be misleading by some professionals because most people with this diagnosis actually have many problems rather than just two discrete illnesses. Occasionally, the term is used to describe a person with developmental disabilities and/or a mental health disorder or substance abuse disorder. More commonly, dual diagnosis refers to those with severe mental illness and a drug or alcohol abuse disorder, and who receive therapy in the public treatment systems. Today it is clear that the co-occurrence of mental illness and substance abuse is common: about 50% of individuals with severe mental illnesses are affected by substance abuse. A dual diagnosis is also associated with a host of negative outcomes that may include higher rates of relapse, hospitalization, incarceration, violence, homelessness, and exposure to such serious infections as HIV and hepatitis. For many people with dual diagnoses, the criminal justice system—juvenile as well as adult— becomes their de facto treatment system. Nearly two-thirds of incarcerated youth with substance abuse disorders have at least one other mental health disorder. The common association between conduct disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and substance abuse are two examples of combinations of serious and disabling disorders. A person in need of drug addiction treatment for dual diagnoses who is in the current criminal justice system may not be evaluated or assessed, let alone provided with appropriate treatment.

Children of alcohol or other drug-addicted parents are at increased risk for developing substance abuse and mental health problems. Disruptive behavior disorders coexist with adolescent substance abuse problems more often than not. Other special groups that may be affected include older adults with mood or anxiety disorders, especially those who are grieving numerous losses. They may drink or misuse or abuse prescription drugs to cope with their lowered quality of life. These factors can often complicate treatment of hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and other health-related problems that affect the elderly as well. More often than not Dual Diagnosis Treatment is the most successful action an addict can take.

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