An individual with mental illness and under substance abuse is suffering from dual diagnosis, also known as co-existing or co-occurrng disorders. Because of the complexity of interactions associated to these disorders, doctors who assess dual diagnosis victims usually encounter difficulties in doing their job. This article provides tips on how clinicians may properly evaluate people suffering from dual diagnosis.
It is important for clinicians from dual diagnosis center who are examining sufferers of dual diagnosis to possess better knowledge of the medical history of their client, specifically with regards to the patient’s psychiatric illness and substance use or abuse. Clinicians must include information such as all the substances used by the client since first use, family history of addiction, as well as previous treatment. The mental illness history of the client may also serve as a key in determining the possible interactions between mental illness or mental disorder and substance use or abuse.
Clinicians are advised to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) in providing the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders and mental disorders. DSM-IV allows the clinicians to differentiate the casual factors, thus helping them determine whether the patient is really experiencing dual diagnosis. The manual also offers certain criteria for the substance-induced mental disorders of the dual diagnosis patients. It explains that an individual having such disorder only experiences psychotic symptoms when influenced. This only indicate that the patient would not be diagnosed with separate psychotic disorder.
It is also necessary for clinicians to have keen observation of their client over time to differentiate the separate symptoms of mental health and substance. Keep in mind that a clinician may not achieve proper diagnosis of the client’s illness in a one-time interview. Nearly all dual diagnosis treatment facilities provide drug treatment programs focusing on treating substance abuse first prior to mental disorder. Doctors then are expected to have more precise evaluation and diagnosis if the symptoms found on their client are due to either mental disease or substance abuse after having some time of not using it.
Diagnosing such mental problem requires skills and expertise. That’s why clinicians must have that special abilities in identifying this kind of condition to avoid misdiagnosis and to ensure safety to their patients. With the above-mentioned tips, physicians will be able to properly and accurately evaluate whether their client has dual diagnosis or not. And through proper assessment, they may be able to come up with the most effective and right therapy for the victim.
Ericka Lopez is an experienced writer on New Hampshire Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center and also other health-related topics. To learn more about her works on New Hampshire Drug Treatment Program, check out http://www.drugtreatmentprogram.net/state/new-hampshire/