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What does dual diagnosis mean?

Co-occurring disorders are common. Physicians will see patients who have two or three significant illnesses, perhaps hypertension and diabetes. Each is diagnosed and treated, but the person who has both hypertension and diabetes has a much better prognosis if both conditions are being treated simultaneously in a coordinated fashion. Perhaps the treatment plan consists of medication, diet, exercise, and stress management.

So too in mental health and chemical dependency fields, one expert may be treating the mental health condition and another the chemical dependency. There is approximately a 50% chance that someone with a mental health disorder has addiction, and approximately a 50% chance that someone with addiction suffers from a mental health disorder as well. As these conditions have long and short term interactions, and feeling more stress, depression, and loss are known as risk factors for chemical dependency relapse, the person’s prognosis is enhanced by treating both simultaneously and by coordinating such treatment. Work on your self knowledge and growth by watching the relevant WYNK flash videos, getting some psychotherapy, and attending recovery groups such as AA, NA, MA, SA or the corresponding groups for the codependent person. Sometimes recovery is doing many things which combine for health, just like in the physical medicine example. Taking the right meds (not those of your own acquisition), being in the prescribed therapy (whether individual and/or group), and making the proper lifestyle choices will combine to be the solution.

by: Lois Cochrane Schlutter, Ph.D. L.P.

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