What Exactly is a Dual Diagnosis?

Mental health has come a long way in recent years, but there is still a lot of confusion in the industry. One area that isn’t discussed much is the concept of dual diagnoses. So what exactly is it?

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

Many people don’t realize that mental health doesn’t happen in isolation. People that struggle with depression or eating disorders may have another disorder as well. A dual diagnosis is a practice of treating an individual that suffers from both a psychiatric disorder and an addiction.

For example, many people with alcohol addiction also suffer from depression. Here at Delray Center, we emphasize the importance of diagnosis and treating both. Many addicts struggle with detox and recovery because they don’t treat their other mental health issues.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Dual diagnosis happens when an individual as co-occurring mental health and addiction issues. This means that a person has both a psychiatric disorder and an addiction at the same time. This can happen a few ways. A person may develop an addiction as a result of trying to self-medicate for a mental health issue. For example, someone may start drinking to cope with depression. Alternatively, someone may develop a mental health issue as a result of their addiction. For example, someone with an opioid addiction may develop anxiety.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Historically, dual diagnoses treatment was to address each issue either sequentially or separately. Sequential treatment means first addiction was treated then the underlying psychiatric problems. Separate treatment means that both disorders receive treatment at the same time, often by different doctors or without addressing the other issues.

What is Dual Diagnosis Exactly? | Delray Center for Healing

These two types of treatment tend to have high failure rates though. At Delray Center, our dual diagnosis program specializes in incorporating treatment that addresses both issues at the same time, by the same doctors. If you want to learn more, feel free to contact us today!