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.



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Nice to meet you

Article by Dr. Mark Ritzen


See original image

Meeting other people is a very common, and for our mental health important part of our daily life; Meeting others can ensure us to be part of a group, which gives us the feeling of being accepted, protected, integrated. Furthermore, meeting others can help us fulfill some of the intentions or plans we have in life; Here, a meeting gives us the feeling of opportunity. Last but not least, a meeting can help us to develop ourselves in all possible ways : by meeting people we learn about the existence of other values, lifestyles, ideas, convictions, intentions, etc. and might enrich ourselves with this. By learning about other ideas, intentions, believes , we can reflect more profoundly about ourselves, put things in perspective and place ourselves better in the complex and fascinating heterogecity of being human.

The other person we meet presents us a rich diversity of individual characteristics that are the result of his genes (nature), as well as his education and life experiences (nurture).

Some examples of the many characteristics that define a person are his sex, weight, size, personality, temperament, interests, know-how, intentions, social intelligence, strengths, weaknesses, desires and worries, and of course we can define many many more.

When two persons meet, two different worlds of individual characteristics are voluntarily or involuntarily confronted with each-other ; this can be a very enriching, never-ending process of dialoging/ experiencing/ discovering. It can also be a challenge to adapt oneself to avoid greater discomfort.

Fortunately, during most of our meetings we are rather pragmatic ; during a meeting, we reduce the complexity of the other to those dimensions that are important to us in the given specific situation. That might for example be a specific know-how (for example if we consult a lawyer), or a shared interest/ habit (like religion, to reassure us being part of a group).

Knowing all this, we can imagine that meeting others is a very complex event for the brain that is accompanied by differentiated and precise perceptions, priorisations, interpretations, curiosity, expectations, hopes, fears, desires : We try to estimate/ inventorying the other’s individual characteristics, especially those, that are important to us in a given situation; In the meantime we have to reflect about/ look at/ eventually re-define our own characteristics ; furthermore, we have have to estimate the chance to reach our goals with the available/ detected ressources in ourself and in the person we meet. Finally we have to develop or adapt a strategy to reach (if defined already) our goals.

Meeting others is necessary for our mental health ; on the other hand it is a very complex challenge for the brain. Therefor, If the brain is affected by a a psychiatric illness it might have difficulties to manage all the necessary processes in order to have a « good meeting »; as a result, many psychiatric patients don’t feel at ease with other people and tend to isolate themselves, to draw themselves back from society. Meeting others is so important to experience happiness ; Without it, how can we feel ourselves accepted, wanted and integrated ?

Exactly here I think that society (that means everyone) can really help people, suffering from psychiatric problems. By being sensitive, tolerant, inviting and supportive, especially to those who have a risk to loose connection to society ; By doing this, society has an opportunity enrich itself, by rediscovering other values than competition, power and wealth-related successfulness, by reactivating ressources as patience, observation, fascination, compassion, heterogenicity and flexibility.



Dr. Mark Ritzen – Psychiatrist in Luxembourg.

Visit his Medihoo profile HERE

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Has your loved one recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder?

Here Are Some Ways to Support Your Partner With Bipolar Disorder

If your spouse or loved one has recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may be wondering what to expect and how to best show your support. Here are suggestions for helping them cope with the disorder.

Boost your partner

Boost your partner’s confidence

If you can make your partner or loved one feel good about him or herself, their treatment will be much easier.

So will both of your lives.

Take an active role in bipolar treatmentTake an active role in bipolar treatment

Remind your partner to take their pills. Don’t count on them to stick faithfully to their medication regimen, as they may slip from time to time. If they are seeing a psychiatrist or counselor, it could be helpful to join him or her for a session. At minimum, if you have questions or concerns, write them down so your partner can take them to doctor appointments.

Recognize there are things a bipolar patient canRecognize there are things a bipolar patient can’t do

Some everyday tasks are difficult for people with bipolar disorder to handle. For example, bill paying can be stressful, creating anger and frustration.

Try to be understanding and help your partner.

Remember your partnerRemember your partner’s strengths

Appreciate your partner’s strengths and superhero abilities that come from bipolar disorder. For instance, go along during a hypomanic phase when he or she wants sex multiple times per day.

But also understand that medication may lead to a reduced sex drive at times.

Be there during bad timesBe there during bad times

When he or she is in a bad frame of mind, don’t be afraid. Don’t put up a defense or brace yourself for something bad. Be there to talk and support your loved one. While they may be nasty during a bad phase, stay with them.

Embrace your partnerEmbrace your partner’s bipolar diagnosis

Accept your partner’s bipolar diagnosis. It’s not going to change. His or her condition may not improve. Medication can control bipolar, but your partner won’t be “cured.” Realize that a bipolar diagnosis is not always a bad thing. Your loved one is the same person he or she has always been.

Your partner may embarrass you at timesYour partner may embarrass you at times

Your partner may do something bold, brash or stupid. Step up and support them in a non-condescending way, even though you may be embarrassed. Don’t say “that’s the bipolar disorder talking” or openly blame it on the condition. Accept your loved one, don’t dwell on it, give them a hug to show that you understand and move on. Your partner will be grateful.

Remember that life wonRemember that life won’t be easy

A bipolar diagnosis takes its toll on every relationship. Remember that things may not be easy. When bad episodes come, they may be more dangerous and volatile than before. Rather than using his or her old coping techniques, after a bipolar diagnosis your partner may try harder to rein in their behavior. And this could make things worse.

Watch for triggers and behavior changesWatch for triggers and behavior changes

Watch for clues of upcoming changes to your partner’s mood or frame of mind.

You are in the best position to recognize the signs and help them identify and understand them.

Source (text & pictures): HealthCentral

Leaky Blood Vessels In The Brain May Lead To Alzheimer’s

Leaks in a barrier between blood vessels and brain cells could contribute to the development of Alzheimer's.

Researchers appear to have found a new risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease: leaky blood vessels.

An MRI study of found those experiencing mild problems with thinking and memory had much leakier blood vessels in the hippocampus. “This is exactly the area of the brain that is involved with learning and memory,” says Berislav Zlokovic, the study’s senior author and director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the University of Southern California.

Read more: NPR