A dual diagnosis occurs when you are diagnosed with a mental disorder and a substance abuse problem, but how is this made and what dual diagnosis treatment options are available? When you first seek help for either the substance abuse or the mental disorder it is important that all of your conditions and medical issues are known. The first step should be a complete evaluation, with a physical exam, testing, and a complete diagnostic work up. This will help to ensure that any mental disorder is identified along with the substance abuse. When a dual diagnosis is provided then dual diagnosis treatment will involve a specific plan for each of the conditions that you have, so all of the problems are addressed at the same time.
Dual diagnosis treatment is critical, because if both conditions listed in the dual diagnosis are not addressed and effectively treated then a full recovery will not be possible. When only the substance abuse or the mental disorder is treated then the other problem will still cause issues, and you will not be whole. Dual diagnosis treatment needs to be personalized for your specific needs and the mental disorders that are present. When a mental disorder is present it may take some time to determine whether the addiction or the mental illness is the underlying disorder and which problem is contributing to the other. If this is not done then dual diagnosis treatment is not going to be effective, and you could end up relapsing soon after you leave treatment for the dual diagnosis.