Dual Diagnosis Issues—Getting the Right Help

Dual diagnosis issues can be among the most difficult conditions to resolve, but only if you don’t get the right help. Working with people who are especially trained in assessing and treating dual issues makes all the difference. And, it does take a specialized perspective. Just as in any other type of treatment, sometimes no one but a specialist will do.

Two Separate but Simultaneous Problems

Dual diagnosis problems involve two primary problems happening at the same time. It is as if you have a sprained ankle and the flu at the same time. With either resolved, you’d still be miserable unless the other was resolved, too. However, in the world of addiction and mental health, it’s not so simple. Dual disorders involve an addiction and a ‘free-standing’ mental health issue. If one were absent, the other would remain. Each runs on its own track, moving forward in one’s life despite the other if nothing’s done, but at some point, they will converge, interact and create a new brand of pain and confusion.

Masquerading Symptoms–Sorting It Out

People with dual disorders often suffer long periods of time before getting relief. One of the reasons is that it is difficult to disentangle the conditions. To twist an old saying, when you are lost in the forest, it’s hard to see the individual trees.

One of the most mystifying characteristics of dual diagnosis issues is that they can masquerade as something they are not. This leads to diagnostic confusion and can set one off the wrong treatment tract, prolonging problems. For example, there are substance-induced depression, psychoses, mania, and anxiety symptoms. These can look like the problems people would have without substance use. On the other hand, there are depressive disorders, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorders and anxiety disorders that appear to be the effects of substance use. However, the masquerading symptoms appear, it is far too often a diagnostic confusion that leaves people without remedy.

Getting the Right Help

Working with the right treatment professionals can help you sort out these issues, and more easily than you may think if you have struggled for some time. If substance use is a problem for you, how do you know if you need dual treatment? Consider seeking out a dual diagnosis specialist if:

  • There is a history of mental health problems and addiction in your family.
  • Substance treatment and/or mental health treatment haven’t worked for you.
  • You use substances to get relief from mental or emotional pain.