We are all born into this world in some similar fashion or another: crying in obnoxiously shrill tones, cold beyond all expectation, and more disheveled than anything in the womb could’ve foretold. We are brought right into the ugly beauty that is this world. Right into the thick of the gauntlet. If only we could imagine the fate that lie ahead for some of us; destiny can be so unfaithful sometimes.
They say we are all born into this world with dual citizenship. Half of our being resides in health and happiness, while the other is dwelling in sick and illness. We control the balancing of both those halves. Yet what do you do when something falls out of your sovereignty? The answer lies within the serenity prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous, spelling it out for us. Knowing the difference between the things we can or cannot change is the only pivotal way to maneuver past misfortunes that make home with us. Sometimes this is finances, sometimes this is love. Other times it’s disease and disorder.
Dual diagnosis is when there is another disorder coupled with addiction that must be overcome. Addiction often brings this unwelcome scenario into the equation for many. Unfortunately this issue cannot be changed. Once you have the combination you have it, but it can be treated. Knowing the difference is almost the mirrored difference between irrationality and rationality. Understanding dual diagnosis before treatment will make the future so much easier to understand.
When exploring the idea of dual diagnosis before treatment, it’s imperative to understand what we’re up against. As if the monkey of alcoholism wasn’t enough, now there’s the uninvited burden of some other mental disorder to go with it. While any mental disorder that accompanies substance abuse is considered a dual diagnosis, some illnesses are more prone to showing up in addiction related circumstances. Some of the most commonly co-occurring mental illnesses include but are not limited to:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
- Mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder)
- Anxiety disorders (panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder)
- Personality disorders (antisocial, borderline, narcissistic)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorders
Even with knowledge of all these, there is no method to the madness that is dual diagnosis. Addiction and it’s coexisting disorder(s) must be treated synonymously for effective relief. They both feed into the justificational behavior that usually ends in an addict’s demise. To top that off, there’s usually no way of knowing which came first in this chicken/egg debate of mental health. The disorder can give birth to addition, or addiction fed the other disease.
Any way you look at it, it’s about treating the now inevitable diagnosis. It is very important to get an accurate analysis of the mental disorder so that treatment can be customized to the specific needs of the patient. What’s the good of the frog is not always the good of the fly. Some addicts require medications with their dual diagnosis, then there’s others who need nothing of the sort. It’s an individualized toss up.
The absolute best way to treat dual diagnosis is to focus on treating both the mental disorder and alcoholic thinking at the same time. Since they both feed off of each other, their treatment is also contingent upon one another. If you become sober but still have an irrational way of thinking, there’s still danger looming around the corner. The same goes vice versa with medicating any mental disorder. If you’re still getting high, that substance may counteract the medication or therapy being undergone. Both heads of this dragon must be vanquished simultaneously.
Treating both of these usually begins with detoxification. It is not until all the absurd cognition is dealt with that any sense can be made. The narcotics and their prolonged after effects are nothing more than a distraction from the available help at hand. It is only once detoxification is completed that treatment for the dual diagnosis can effectively begin. It is here that the mind begins it’s recovery from the powerlessness and unmanageability introduced from alcoholic thinking.
Of course nobody signs up for dual diagnosis willingly, but those that deal with it are stronger people in the end for it. Dual diagnosis really applies the idea that if it doesn’t kill you it’ll make you stronger. Addicts and alcoholics dealing with such must be vigilant at all times while engaging in various forms of therapy. Sometimes we’ll think we have an area of our lives under control when denial is just creating that mirage of a belief. Dual diagnosis can convince you everything is okay when certain parts are in shambles. Each side to this coin is as deadly as the other. Disease is a disease is a disease.
If you are sick with a cold, most of us have the first reaction of taking medicine. You have a problem at hand and then apply a solution. The same goes plain and simple for addiction or the duality diagnosis’. Allowing recovery/therapy to be that medicine will make a world of difference while creating a happy future. Recovery will naturally make some things seem less overwhelming. Once on the helping side of things dual diagnosis isn’t nearly as menacing- and most anybody will attest to that. If we can treat the other half just like we do addiction, then there is nothing stopping us. Dual diagnosis is far from a death sentence, it just takes a little more attention to detail than expectations call for. How far are you willing to go to obtain happiness?