What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis 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. Oasis Recovery Communities Runcorn are very experienced and have the resources to treat both conditions simultaneously and successfully. Dual Diagnosis is a complex condition that requires both medical and therapeutic treatment on a more intensive level. It can be challenging to treat, as it can be difficult to establish which of the illnesses came first – the addiction or the mental health problem.

Oasis Recovery Communities Runcorn offer specialist treatment for those suffering with dual diagnosis illnesses. We find that treating all co-occurring conditions simultaneously through a combination of therapy and sometimes medication shows by far the most successful outcome, both in the short term and long term recovery process.

Treating Dual Diagnosis

In order to establish if the mental health condition is the underlying cause of the substance abuse or activity addiction, the addiction and substance must be removed. Only then can we assess the true extent of the Mental Health illness presenting, and if needed, provide further treatment. Outside of a rehab environment, sufferers find recovery virtually impossible to attain, as many with a dual diagnosis will self medicate their mental health problem with alcohol, drugs and prescription pills.

Treating co occurring illnesses at different times can be both dangerous and unhelpful to a full and lasting recovery. As both conditions have a detrimental affect on each other, leaving one of the conditions untreated is highly likely to result in a relapse of the other condition.

Any individual who has reached the end of the line with an alcohol or drug addiction is likely to show symptoms of depression, anxiety and even display symptoms of psychosis. These symptoms tend to diminish considerably or vanish completely once the substance addiction has been successfully 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, self-medicating the symptoms can lead to a delay in a correct diagnosis and more importantly a delay in the  implementation of effective treatment.

In the community, under the NHS mental health sector, patients are told to stop drinking or drugging before being offered appropriate treatment for a mental health illness. If the individual is an addict, it is very unlikely they will be able to achieve this without intensive professional help; especially if they are using substances as a solution to the symptoms of an underlying illness. This can lead to a very rapid decline in their physical and mental health. The prolonged and frequent use of alcohol and drugs actually worsens any pre-existing mental health illness. It is vital that anyone suffering from a 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.

Are You or a Loved One Diagnosed with Dual Diagnosis?

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”.  As more than two illnesses can be present at any one time. 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.

Substance abuse of alcohol, drugs and prescription pills will only provide the sufferer with very temporary relief from the symptoms of their mental health condition. The reality is that the long term abuse of substances will propel the sufferer into a state of pathological mental decline. Mental health conditions that commonly occur alongside substance and behavioural addictions are:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Severe Depression
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

It is important to correctly identify and treat any independent conditions at the same time with the correct medical and psychological approach. In doing so, a full and lasting recovery is possible. It may be that on-going treatment and monitoring of a remaining 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, so that a continuation of their care can be carried out in the community

How We Treat Dual Diagnosis

Our rehab clinic conducts a comprehensive assessment of each and every patient that walks through our doors. Our qualified and experienced doctor will deduce through an initial assessment the conditions presenting and the treatment required. Where a substance dependency is present, a full medical detox will be prescribed to help alleviate any withdrawal symptoms and ensure their safety through the detoxification process. 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 as expected, our Doctor and treatment team will review this and make the necessary changes needed.

The team will work closely with mental health professionals to ensure that the best and most appropriate care is provided. Our treatment programme is based mainly on therapeutic and holistic treatment methods; designed to bring about a change in the individual’s cognitive thought process that is sufficient in order for them to recover from their illnesses. Each treatment programme is tailored specifically to meet the individual’s clinical, medical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. In view of this, each patient receives a fully personalised plan of treatment and care.

Dual Diagnosis Symptoms

Addiction and mental health illness can display 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 some typical 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:

  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, college or home
  • Severe mood swings
  • Change in appetite and weight
  • Being paranoid or self-conscious
  • Isolating from family, friends and the world outside
  • Self-harming behaviours
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Having a negative perception of life
  • Lacking motivation
  • Irritability
  • Hyperactivity
  • Sleeping problems
  • Aggression or anger
  • Hallucinations
  • Talking to themselves
  • Shaking or sweating
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Relationship problems
  • Becoming secretive
  • Behaving out of character

Importance of Correct Diagnosis

It is vital that those with co-occurring disorders are correctly diagnosed; without a confirmed professional diagnosis they will not receive the correct treatment. With the conditions presenting being linked, all must be treated simultaneously, in order for the person to overcome his or her problems and prevent a recurrence of any of the conditions.

We are committed to our clients full and permanent recovery and can successfully treat patients who are suffering from both an addiction and mental health disorder. Furthermore, we will show them exactly how they can learn to manage their condition(s) on leaving the treatment environment and returning home. Our complimentary aftercare programme will also assist the individual in staying recovery-focused and allow us to 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.

“My son has displayed symptoms of anxiety disorder and depression from a very young age, but there just wasn’t the help available back then. He began using alcohol and drugs to self medicate in his teens. As he got older his mental and physical health declined to a point where I was terrified he would take his own life. The correct help just wasn’t available on the NHS, it was so frustrating. Finally I heard about Oasis Recovery Communities Runcorn through a friend that they had helped. I booked my son in for a 12 week intensive programme. He has returned to me a completely different man! Im so grateful to them for helping him and he continues to return for aftercare and is now even helping others. He is able to be a son to me and a father to his children and I am now able to start living my own life without the constant worry of him dying” ~Angela

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Call Now 0203 131 5938

Call Now 0203 131 5938

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  • 38-40
  • Bridge St
  • Runcorn
  • WA7 1BY
  • UK

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