In many cases, certain conditions of people could push them to do certain behaviors that could also posses a problematic effect onto them most especially with their health. Somehow, substance abuse could possibly be a byproduct of a certain psychiatric disorder. A person afflicted with an anxiety disorder could also become addicted to oxycontin, which can give anyone the feeling of relaxation. Make sense?
The term dual diagnosis is defined as the co-occurrence of a mental illness and substance-abuse problem in a person. People who experience this phenomena often face a wide range of psychosocial issues and may experience multiple interacting illnesses. In dual diagnosis, both illnesses may affect the person physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. The two illnesses interact with one another. The illnesses may worsen each other and each disorder predisposes to relapse in the other disease. There are times where the symptoms can go beyond and even mask each other making diagnosis and treatment more difficult.
Several theories have been formulated to explain the relationship between psychiatric disorders and substance abuse problems. Causality theory suggests that certain kinds of substance abuse can causally lead to mental illness. Findings on the origins of schizophrenia showed that it can also be a result of using cannabis. Moreover, the self-medication theory suggests that people with severe mental illness misuse substances in order to relieve a specific set of symptoms and counteract the side-effects of antipsychotic medication. Some studies show that nicotine could be effective for reducing motor side-effects of antipsychotics. Similarly, the alleviation of dysphoria theory suggests that individuals with severe mental illness commonly feels bad about themselves and that this makes them vulnerable to using psychoactive substances to alleviate these feelings.
Dual diagnosis presents a major problem because most of the time it is only one of the two interacting illnesses is identified. Moreove, the patient tends to be in denial with one of the illnesses. A person diagnosed with a mental disorder may be in denial about the drinking or substance abuse. Or, the other way around could occur. The apparent substance abuse could mask the mental disorder. Therapists, psychiatrists, and professional counselors are having a difficult time identifying both illnesses due to psychiatric symptoms can be masked by alcohol or drug use. In addition, alcohol or drug use, or withdrawal from alcohol or other drugs can imitate or give the appearance of some psychiatric illnesses. Also, untreated chemical dependency could add to a reoccurrence of psychiatric symptoms, and untreated psychiatric illness could contribute to an alcohol or drug relapse.
According to one alcoholic, specifically in America, the problem is that society- including the medical community and criminal justice system- do not accept and treat alcoholism as a real illness. Moreover, it seemed that they do not recognize how ineffective it is to treat one illness but not the other. The tendency is that doctors may prescribe antidepressants to their patients without screening them for substance abuse. The addict/alcoholic whose depression is not cured will keep on to fail at the attempt to get clean and sober. Those with depression whose substance abuse is not detected will get sicker because alcohol is a depressant and with every sip they are throwing gasoline on their simmering bipolar. Consequently, it is difficult for these people to find appropriate treatment. Most substance-abuse centers do not accept people with serious psychiatric disorders and many psychiatric centers do not have the expertise with substance abuse.
Integration is the key to treat two disorders where collaborative decision-making procedure should happen between the therapy group and the patient.