In the field of substance abuse and mental health treatment, a dual diagnosis refers to the phenomenon of having a substance use disorder (SUD) and one or more concurrent psychiatric disorders simultaneously. Diagnosing mental health problems in a person with a developmental disability requires information from various sources and settings.
Dual diagnosisis a common term used to describe a person with a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. For example, if a person is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorder, they qualify for dual-diagnosis treatment.
Evaluating and treating a comorbidity disease can be complicated due to the coexistence of the conditions. Substance abuse and mental illness are often linked, but they can also occur independently in some cases. Determining which condition is the cause of the other can be difficult and time-consuming when it comes to comorbidity. This process requires thorough analysis, screening, and recurrent comorbidity testing as there is a high chance that the primary disease was caused by some other underlying disorder. Individuals with any of these symptoms need immediate attention from a qualified mental health professional. Many addiction professionals and public health researchers have dedicated their careers to studying the relationship between dual diagnosis.
Having a dual diagnosis, such as a substance abuse problem or an emotional health problem, can be overwhelming. They are often victims of late diagnosis and have to undergo multiple diagnostic tests before they can identify the root cause of their suffering. Many drug abuse problems have signs that disappear quickly once the substance is stopped, making it easier to make an accurate diagnosis. For example, if someone is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorder, they qualify for dual-diagnosis treatment. Additionally, timely diagnosis requires honesty, special observation, and deduction skills from the medical consultant, healthcare worker, or doctor.
Comorbidities are often difficult to diagnose as the side effects of one can always add up or cause another. Dual diagnosis is an evolving field, both in understanding basic communication and in creating sound approaches to prevention, treatment, and recovery. Unfortunately, people with comorbidity continue to face challenges in recovery due to inadequate or inaccessible services, longer diagnosis times, and less treatment delivery. An article published in Psychology Today states that “Compared to people who have a single disorder, those with a combination of disorders may experience more serious medical and mental health challenges and may also require longer treatment periods. Dual diagnosis refers to neurological problems analyzed at least simultaneously, such as the use of dangerous drugs and alcohol. The impact of these addiction disorders is not only limited to individual suffering but often ends up affecting the happiness, comfort, and stability of the entire family or household.
Dual diagnosis adds to the difficulty of diagnosis, dual diagnosis, treatment, and recovery and may be associated with increased relapse rates. After drug restriction, psychological maladjustment could be considered free from substance use if the symptoms still persist and the person (with comorbidity) meets the criteria for mental wellbeing.