What Is Dual Diagnosis?

close up photography of pillsThere are millions of people every single year that have issues with substance and addiction. When someone has an addiction to drugs, they may lose all control over their life. Addictions take a toll on the user’s life and on the lives of their loved ones too. It is a challenge to deal with and overcome addiction. When someone had a mental health illness, on top of the addiction, things can get even more complicated. Having both a drug or alcohol addiction, along with a mental health illness, is called a dual diagnosis. Sometimes it is called a co-occurring disorder as well. It can be extremely overwhelming to have a dual diagnosis. You may not know what to treat first, where to go for treatment, or how to manage any of it. You don’t need to worry. There are specialty professionals who can help in managing and treating the dual diagnosis.

Basics of a Dual Diagnosis

There are many ways in which a dual diagnosis can be formed. This is because there are many substances which someone can become addicted to and many mental health illnesses someone could have as well.

Some of the substances one may become addicted to that fall into the dual diagnosis category include:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Opioids
  • Stimulants
  • Hallucinogens
  • Depressants
  • Inhalants
  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • And others…

Also, those with a dual diagnosis may have any number of mental health illnesses including:

  • PTSD
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Depersonalization disorder
  • Narcolepsy
  • And more…

If you suffer from any of the above addictions and have a mental health illness, there is specialized dual diagnosis treatment available.


Ways Dual Diagnosis Disorders Affect One Another

It may be simple to recognize whether someone has an addiction or even a mental health illness. However, it can be a bit more difficult to identify exactly how these substances and mental health illnesses affect one another. Some of the relationships with these drugs and mental health illnesses are:

  • Self-Medication: Some people use drugs for self-medicating. They may have a mental health illness that is either under-treated or untreated. Using drugs may be their way to reduce the symptoms. Self-medicating might help them to reduce the symptoms, but it doesn’t make the mental health illness any better, only worse.
  • Worsening the Mental Health Illness: Taking drugs when you have a mental health illness can make the symptoms of that illness much worse. Drugs affect the brain and the pathways from the brain through the body. Taking drugs, especially when abusing them, can cause someone to be pushed into a psychologically vulnerable position. This can happen when the user takes the drugs and when they go through withdrawal.
  • Developing a Mental Health Illness: Not only can abusing drugs worsen a mental health illness, but it can develop one as well. If someone doesn’t have a mental health illness, one can develop after abusing drugs for some time. Drugs have side effects that are often unpredictable and can be severe. Even if someone has been abusing the same drug for years, they can still develop a mental health illness from continued use.

drink girl glass handsIf you have been abusing any types of drugs and experienced worsened symptoms of a mental health illness, or even the start of a mental health illness, it is essential to seek treatment immediately. Drug abuse and mental health illnesses never mix well.


Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options

Suffering from drug addiction and a mental health illness is tough. However, the sooner you seek out treatment for both of these disorders, the sooner you can regain control over your life. There are many different treatment options available for dual diagnosis disorders. Some of these options include:

  • Integrated Treatment: With this treatment, there is a comprehensive approach taken for dual diagnosis disorders. The patient gets treatment simultaneously for both the addiction and mental health illness. The medical professionals who treat them specialize in treating various addictions and mental health illnesses as well.
  • Parallel Treatment: Another one of the dual diagnosis treatment options is parallel treatment. The patient gets treatment for the addiction and mental health illness simultaneously. However, the treatment is done by different types of professionals, some who specialize in treating addiction and some who specialize in treating mental health illnesses.
  • Sequential Treatment: Dual diagnosis disorders can also be treated with this type of treatment. The approach was the most common for a long time. It involved the patient being treated for either the mental health illness first or the addiction first. The other disorder is treated afterward. The treatments being given might be done at the same center, or they could be done at separate locations.

Each of the dual diagnosis treatment options has their own set of specific benefits. Are you unsure of which type of treatment is the best in your case? You can always speak to a professional, to figure out the best course of action.





Getting the Necessary Help for Your Dual Diagnosis Disorder

Desperate man with headache

You are not alone. There are millions who have a dual diagnosis disorder. Some people are addicted to heroin and have PTSD. Others are addicted to opiates and suffer from an anxiety disorder.

There are others who are addicted to inhalants who also suffer from depression. There is a range of drugs being abused by people who have a mental health illness. There are also many drugs that are causing mental health illnesses as well. You can get the necessary help needed for your dual diagnosis disorder. No matter what type of dual diagnosis treatment you receive, there are professionals who are here to help.

You don’t have to continue suffering from an addiction and a mental health illness. Make today the day you reach out for help. Make today the day you decide to take control over your life. You can save yourself from the chaos of a dual diagnosis disorder with the proper help. Make the call today to turn things around.



We thank the guest blogger who has written this article for helping to increase awareness about this topic!

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What is Physiotherapy – a Guest Blog by Marc Pretti


What is physiotherapy?
Etymology: therapy that uses physical agents like exercises and massage instead of drugs.
It’s a healthcare profession dedicated to working with people, for people. To identify problems directly connected with diseases and help patients recover their ability to move so they can achieve some form of a cure.

Physiotherapists are involved with promoting optimal mobility through physical activity. By using therapeutic exercises, they work on rehabilitation injuries while in the meantime educating people to attain a high level of health. The profession of physiotherapist is committed to health, lifestyle and quality of life.


It is impossible to create a complete list of situations where a physiotherapist can make the difference. Among all the ailments where therapeutic exercises are most efficient arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular, cerebral palsy, chronic pain, fractures, incontinence, stroke and vestibular disorders are the most prominent.

The physiotherapists approach

Again, it is impossible to create an exhaustive list. The techniques most used are:

  • massage
  • Joint mobilization
  • Personalized exercises programs to improve strength, range of motion and function
  • Airway clearance methods
  • Management of incontinence including pelvic floor re-education
  • Vestibular exercises
  • Joint manipulation(osteopathy)

He can add electro-stimulation, shockwave (tendinitis problems), ultra-sound, cryotherapy and swimming pool exercises to the mix. The end goal is to create a personalized treatment program.

Because of the wide variety of techniques one cannot expect that a single therapist masters them all. Therefore it is not possible to recommend a given therapist in general but rather to recommend a given therapist for a given technique

Our approach

My private clinic has a swimming pool, and thanks to my continuous training as sport physiotherapist specializing in cardio training, and osteopathy I have created a program including swimming pool exercises, specific back exercises, massage and mobilization or manipulation.
We work with every type of patient: from babies with breathing issue to athletes with sports injuries like tendinitis, sprains and muscle tears.

My colleagues complete our programs with specialties like pelvic floor re-education, manual lymphatic massage, … check our Medihoo.com profile for more information.

Physiotherapy is becoming more and more important as a treatment without drugs and pills! More specifically for France we see a change: the  “physio-school” will be linked to the university. This means that the used techniques will be scientifically validated and the educational path to become a physical therapist will now take 4 instead of 3 years. In general the linking to the university adds value to the professional of physical therapists i.e. gains recognition and adds to the diversity of available therapeutic solutions for the hospitals linked to the University.

Marc P

By Marc Pretti
Physical Therapist at

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Medihoo is honored to present its first guest blogger: Dr. Mark Johan Ritzen – Psychiatrist and Medical Director from Luxembourg

Mark_Wand_1Dr. Mark Johan Ritzen

was born in the Netherlands, studied medicine at the Leuven University (Belgium); afterwards he specialised at the University of Cologne (Germany) to become a medical specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy. Here his clinical focus lay at the early recognition of psychotic disorders and the treatment of schizophrenia. At the “centrum voor geestelijke gezondheidszorg” in Nijmegen (Netherlands) he worked in close collaboration with the Radboudt University to coordinate care for Patients with affective (mood) disorders in a region of about 150.000 Persons. In the meantime he worked as a expert-psychiatrist for the Cologne and Düsseldorf Court. Since 2012 Mark Ritzen works as medical director of the “Centre Hospitalier Neuro-Psychiatrique”, in Luxembourg. This hospital has 237 beds as well as a large ambulatory service and focusses on the rehabilitative treatment of psychiatric patients. He offers supervisions and workshops at the Luxemburg University.