Dual diagnosis (often referred to as Co-occurring disorders) is the term used when an individual is suffering from both a mental health illness and addiction or substance abuse problem at the same time. Many rehab clinics are not equipped to successfully treat dual diagnosis patients due to the complexity of the condition. Dual diagnosis can be challenging to treat, as it can be difficult to establish which of the illnesses came first – addiction or the mental health problem.
Primrose Lodge offer comprehensive, specialist treatment for those suffering with dual diagnosis illnesses. We find that treating both co-occurring conditions simultaneously through a combination of therapy and sometimes medications shows by far the most successful outcome.
With an individual suffering from a dual diagnosis disorder, determining which came first can be problematic. The substance has to be removed in order to establish the true extent of the mental health problem. Outside of a rehab environment, this can be extremely difficult to attain, as the individual often uses the substance to self-medicate the way they are feeling. Treating the conditions at different times can be both dangerous and detrimental to a full and lasting recovery. Any individual who has reached the end of the line with an alcohol or drug addiction is likely to show symptoms of depression and anxiety. These symptoms tend to diminish considerably or vanish completely once the substance addiction has been treated; but this is not the case for patients with Dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis patients will be left with a mental health illness; they may or may not have developed as a result of their addiction. In many cases of mental health problems, individuals will self-medicate symptoms and this can lead to a delayed diagnosis and effective treatment.
In the community, under the NHS mental health sector, patients are told to stop drinking or drugging before being offered appropriate treatment. If the individual is an addict, it is very unlikely they will be able to achieve this of their own accord, especially if they using substances to supress an underlying problem. This can lead to a very rapid decline in both the addiction and their mental health condition. The prolonged and frequent use of alcohol and drugs actually worsens any pre-existing mental health illness. It is vital that anyone suffering from Dual diagnosis gets immediate professional help to treat both conditions concurrently. Leaving one or both of the conditions untreated can lead to self-harming behaviours and suicidal tendencies.
Dual diagnosis can be misleading in some instances, as an individual can suffer with more than just two illnesses at the same time. They may have a combination of different substance or behavioural addictions and mental health conditions. The term more recently used amongst professionals, and that is considered more accurate, is “Co-occurring disorders”. A diagnosis of co-occurring disorders occurs when at least one disorder of each type can be established independent of the other and is not simply a manifestation of symptoms resulting from the one disorder.
Many undesired side effects and symptoms can present in an individual who is addicted to alcohol or drugs. It may be that these symptoms are as a direct result of abusing the substance, which has propelled them into a state of pathological mental decline. It is common for someone suffering with the illness of addiction to develop some symptoms of depression and anxiety. Excessive use of alcohol and drugs can cause these symptoms to manifest. With an individual who has a co-occurring condition, the symptoms will not go away once the substance addiction has been resolved. They will require treatment for all conditions diagnosed.
Mental health conditions that commonly co-occur alongside substance and behavioural addictions are:
It is important to determine and treat any independent conditions at the same time with the correct medical and psychological treatment. In doing so, a full and lasting recovery is possible. It may be that on-going treatment and monitoring of a mental health condition will be required after leaving residential treatment. Where this is necessary, we will ensure that the individual, their immediate family, and doctor are fully informed and aware.
Primrose Lodge offer a comprehensive assessment of each and every patient that walks through our doors. Our qualified and experienced doctors will deduce through an initial assessment the conditions present and the treatment required. Whilst in our care, each patient will be reviewed and monitored closely from a medical and psychological point of view. If the individual is not responding to the original treatment plan satisfactorily, then this will also be reviewed and the needed changes in treatment will be made.
Wherever possible, we try to avoid strong medications as these can have side effects detrimental to the individual’s recovery, but if necessary, and where they are deemed to be beneficial, we can and will prescribe them. Our treatment programme relies heavily on therapeutic and holistic treatment methods; designed to bring about a change in the individual’s cognitive thought process that is sufficient for them to recover from their illnesses. Treatment programmes are tailored specifically to meet the patient’s clinical, medical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. In view of this, each patient receives a fully personalised plan of treatment and care.
Addiction and mental health illness can present similar symptoms, so it can be difficult for someone inexperienced in treating dual diagnosis to identify which is which. It is for this reason that we always recommend a full and thorough assessment by a qualified medical professional so that a correct diagnosis can be made. Here are a few examples of mental health illness symptoms, but as previously advised, to the untrained eye, they can easily be dismissed or attributed to symptoms of alcohol or drug abuse:
It is vital that those with co-occurring disorders are correctly diagnosed as having the condition; without it they will not receive the correct treatment. With the conditions being linked, all must be treated simultaneously in order for the person to overcome his or her problems.
Primrose Lodge have a clinical team of highly skilled and qualified therapeutic and medical staff who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of this condition. We can successfully treat patients who are suffering from both an addiction and mental health disorder. Furthermore, we will show them exactly how they can manage their condition(s) on leaving the treatment environment and returning home. Our free aftercare programme will also encourage the individual to stay recovery-focused and to ensure we can continue to monitor their progress outside of residential care.
For further advice on Dual diagnosis/Co-occurring illnesses, or to discuss treatment for your individual case, please call and speak to a member of our clinical team now.
“For years my daughter was pushed from pillar to post on the NHS; no treatment seemed to have a permanent effect and overall her mental health was getting progressively worse. Thank God we found Primrose Lodge, their approach is refreshing and extremely effective. My daughter now manages her mental health condition without the need for drink and drugs…I never thought I would see the day!”