When an individual suffers from both a mental illness and an addiction drugs or alcohol it is called a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnoses are common throughout Illinois, yet the general public seemingly knows little about this serious condition. What follows is an introduction to dual diagnosis, including important information about what you can do to help if someone you know suffers from these co-occurring conditions.
Important facts about dual diagnosis
- Many people who suffer from mental illness also have a drug or alcohol dependence issue as well. Surprisingly, this figure can be as high as 50%.
- Those who suffer from mental illness are more vulnerable to drug addiction, moving much more quickly from the casual use stage to the dependence stage.
- It is common for those with mental illness to turn to drug use as a way of self-medicating the symptoms of their disorder, and to escape from the shame or stress that disorder may cause.
- The most common mental illnesses associated with dual diagnosis are: anti-social personality disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
- Common symptoms of those with a dual diagnosis are: sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, anti-social behavior, muscle aches and pains, chills, fever and chronic fatigue.
- In the United States prison system, surveys have found that as many as 20% of the inmates suffer from some form of dual diagnosis.
- Dual diagnosis patients are difficult to treat because of the similar symptoms of the mental disorder and the addiction.
- Dual diagnosis patients are at a much greater risk for suicide and violent behavior.
- Professionals who treat those with a dual diagnosis must work closely with the individual, and create a treatment plan that moves at a more deliberate pace that “stand-alone” drug rehab. Because of the fragile nature of those with mental illness, the program must bring the person along slowly, always considering the effects of the mental condition and the medication that may be required to keep it under control.
- When they start taking illegal drugs, many people with a dual diagnosis stop taking the medication prescribed for their mental illness. This has a negative chain effect – in which the mental condition worsens because it is not being treated properly.
The best way to heal those with a dual diagnosis is integrated treatment. Integrated treatment refers to those drug rehab programs that treat an individual’s mental illness and drug addiction in the same facility, during the same time frame. This is the only way to insure that the individual is receiving structured, thorough care for their afflictions. Residential drug rehab programs that feature integrated care for dual diagnosis patients are not as common as those which treat addiction alone, but they are well-worth seeking out.
To help you find dual diagnosis treatment centers in Illinois, call us at (866) 531-4569. there are hundreds of outstanding treatment centers in the Chicago area and throughout the state. Call us today, and start getting the help you need tomorrow!