Drugs, Diagonoses and Money

Co-occurring:  Drugs, Diagnoses and Money

The latest trend in drug addiction diagnosis and treatment deals with co-occurring disorders, meaning an individual is said to have a substance abuse disorder and one or more mental disorders.  These disorders can be located in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM IV).  An interesting point about the DSM is that new disorders are supposedly discovered and subsequently labeled as time goes by.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, seven to 10 million individuals in the United States "have at least one mental disorder as well as an alcohol or drug use disorder."  Further, as indicated by the U.S. Surgeon General in the 1999 report on mental health: "Forty-one to 65 percent of individuals with a lifetime substance abuse disorder also have a lifetime history of at least one mental disorder, and about 51 percent of those with one or more lifetime mental disorders also have a lifetime history of at least one substance abuse disorder."

The disorders listed in the DSM IV are supposed to be mental illnesses, diseases or neurological disorders, yet many are common in society and one apparently can come and go in as little as one day.

A couple of the 41 most commonly diagnosed disorders include Separation Anxiety Disorder, of which a characteristic is persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or elsewhere because of fear of separation.  I can't think of many children that haven't displayed that particular "symptom." 

There is also the Brief Psychotic Disorder, where the duration of an episode of the disturbance is at least 1 day but less than 1 month, with eventual full return to premorbid (morbid = relating to or characteristic of disease) level of functioning.  It would be difficult to find someone that hasn't experienced a state such as this.

As more money is being allocated through state and federal agencies for study and treatment of patients with a co-occurring disorder, more organizations are developing methods and more drugs to address this new problem, coincidentally. 

In the last month alone the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded an additional $18.3 million to five states to address co-occurring disorders.  In all, SAMHSA is awarding seven of these new grants, designed to stimulate states to provide comprehensive, evidence-based treatment to persons who have at least one mental disorder as well as an alcohol or drug use disorder.  The problem is that there isn't any evidence to base it on, other than subjective diagnoses.  The language in studies and reports regarding this movement usually includes words such as "may" and "suggests" without any actual proof.

According to SAMHSA, scant research has been conducted on the prevention of co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental disorders, and limited data available suggest that since some of the risk factors for mental and substance abuse disorders may be identical, (e.g. low socioeconomic status, family conflict, exposure to violence), stating that programs designed to prevent one disorder may prevent or forestall development of the other.

This activity begs the question of how do people develop co-occurring disorders?

Researchers have offered explanations for high prevalence rates of substance abuse disorders among individuals with mental disorders but the etiology (a branch of medical science concerned with the causes and origins of diseases) is not yet clear. 

As the guidelines for diagnosis and the wide range of symptom inclusiveness shows, this ideology has no hard facts and is based on subjective evaluations that intentionally complicate the matter when it is not necessary.  Whether it's called co-occurring disorder, dual diagnosis or comorbidity, most of the treatments for these disorders require psychotropic drugs. 

When and why did we as a nation start to spend more money on trends and concepts and less on actual results?

The more science and medicine focus on the chemical composition of human beings' brains and develop more drugs to treat symptoms, the more we as a nation are denying the innate abilities that people have to overcome fantastic obstacles with the human mind or spirit. 

In the case of substance abuse, there are simple and extremely effective rehabilitation strategies that don't use drugs to treat individuals or subjectively evaluate people.  One such program is called the NarcononĀ® Drug Rehabilitation and Education Program, which uses drug-free methodology developed by L. Ron Hubbard, who spent decades researching effective solutions to drug and alcohol addiction.

To get free information about substance abuse or to get help for a loved one in need, contact Narconon Arrowhead today at 1-800-468-6933 or log on to