The term dual diagnosis has in many ways achieved more of an important sense of status than it actually deserves.
In literal terms, it means someone who is an alcoholic and is also addicted or has been addicted to other types of drugs, both prescription and nonprescription.
In the world of rehabs, dual diagnosis is a very common understanding of many individuals who present as needing help with either an addiction to alcohol or drugs.
Many people who are alcoholics start off using alcohol and at some point in there life will start using various types of drugs as well. There may be many reasons for this both internal and external.
Equally many people who start off using various types of drugs for a number of reasons also at some point find themselves using alcohol and being addicted to alcohol.
They may or may not be alcoholics, but the combination of alcohol and drugs can make it an almost impossible distinction to make.
When any individual gets to a point in their life when they seek help, the combination of alcoholism and drug addiction will have taken its toll in many ways.
Anyone entering rehab needs to be assessed as to whether a medical detox needs be undertaken, and if so that the rehab has medically qualified personnel who are experienced and able to undertake and oversee such a detox.
In this context it is crucial important that the rehab staff have experience of a wide range of different types of drugs that the individual may have used.
Knowing what drugs may be in the individuals system as well as alcohol is key for managing withdrawal effects in a safe and secure manner.
Once any medical detox has been assessed and undertaken if needed, then the individual will begin the process of whatever therapeutic work that the rehab offers by way of its treatment programs. In this sense it doesn’t really make much difference whether the individual has been an alcoholic or has had an addiction to drugs.
This is simply because the focus of the therapeutic work will be on helping the individual to understand the nature of their alcoholism, and what have been the triggers for their drug use.
The rehab will try to help the individual to begin to understand the process of alcoholism as an illness, and try to help the individual see that their emotional make-up and their emotional drives are one of the main focuses for the recovery work.