So many times people are diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses. The fear of being honest with a medical professional is overwhelming and people are not reporting to their Doctors that they are abusing street drugs, alcohol or prescription medication. This is a severe problem and knowing the truth about dual diagnosis is so important in order to give hope to those who suffer and the families that love them.
2/3 of the patients checking-in to receive substance abuse treatment display signs of dual diagnosis (Falls-Stewart & Lucente). Dual Diagnosis is when a person suffers from a form of mental illness and they also abuse chemicals (alcohol included). The biggest misconception is assessing the person to have a certain mental illness that is being induced by the chemical being abused; unknowingly due to dishonesty.
If a person truly has a mental illness, the sickness will display itself early in age – usually around 18-22 years old, sometimes even younger. Substances can also make mental illnesses surface later in age. Substances cause behaviors that are very similar to several different mental illnesses.
The only way to really tell if someone is truly mentally ill is to allow the person to detox from the substances that they are abusing and then make an assessment that is beneficiary to their needs. In most cases their mental issue behaviors are caused by the substances and will completely go away once the substance has completely left their system.
Dual diagnosis is a tricky and sensitive issue. Most addicts want to diagnose themselves, prolonging their disease, not knowing that the substances they are using; cause 99% of their problems. It can take 3 days to 8 weeks to fully detox and give a proper diagnosis to ones health issues.
It is so sad to watch people suffer from dual diagnosis while they are their disease; the good news is that there is a solution! In the Washington Post there is a very informative, yet sad article about a guy name “Danny” who severely suffered from dual diagnosis. Read this article to help bring awareness in order to help prevent this sad story from happening again: