Appropriate Assessment and Diagnosis for People with Dual Diagnosis

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Last Updated on May 15, 2021 by Content

T.V. Boscarelli, C.A.D.A.C., C.C.S.; Director of Adult Treatment Services – The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Santa Barbara

Dual diagnosis has led to innovation and compassion from the medical field. As of late, over a multi-month period, the subject which Started things out, the Chicken Or the Egg? Brought tremendous reaction to a national dual diagnosis website. The debate focused, of course, on whether substance abuse caused the mental disease or mental sickness caused substance abuse in dual diagnosis clients. It before long became obvious that those submitting assessments were from two particular camps? Those with, principally, a mental health treatment background and those with, basically, a substance abuse treatment background. As the conversation slowed down, little was settled. Every group made their statement? To themselves! 

The way of talking pinpointed how, indeed, experts in this field concerned about dual diagnosis dismiss one of the critical components in the legitimate evaluation of any substance abusing population? Reliance versus Abuse. Conversations and exploration often treat dual diagnosis as interchangeable, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Until a customer is appropriately analyzed here, viable treatment is incidental. When a doctor’s bias is appropriately acknowledged, it becomes a debatable dual diagnosis.. 

Again and again, clinicians treat dual diagnosis as one essential diagnosis and one secondary diagnosis. If there is a correct appraisal of dependence or alcoholism, these analyses demonstrate an essential infection that isn’t brought about by any mental ailment. Exploration today has segregated those qualities that cause dependence. Even though mental illness may trigger drug and alcohol use, the actual fixation is another issue, a dual-diagnosis. The medication and alcohol use a momentum manifestation of that infection. The dual-diagnosis of mental sickness as essential infection without considering addiction as an essential illness contradicts the essentiality of dual diagnosis.

Conversely, if the mental condition were an essential dual diagnosis, not a progression of manifestations brought about by the Abuse of synthetic compounds, treating the substance abuse as fixation and limiting the mental sickness would likewise not serve the customer. Further, two essential conclusions of mental sickness and fixation (not substance abuse) should be treated in an incorporated or similar way. The dual diagnosis is treated as essential without considering either condition to be the cause of the other.

Semantics slaughter in this calling. Many providers like to categorize substance abuse clients with mental illness as substance addicts and alcoholics, so their treatment plan emphasizes this fact. This is acceptable since practitioners want to make sure that they are comfortable treating consumers with dual diagnosis. This sits around idly, exertion, and understanding that would be better presented with a more cognitive-behavioral way to shorten drug/alcohol utilization. Different experts limit enslavement/alcoholism, calling it? Abuse,? Neither their treatment plans focus on managing the obsessions and compulsions, nor do they concentrate on the significant, in-depth, or enthusiastic elements of the dual diagnosis of true addiction and alcoholism.


The opportunity now exists for those experts who have dedicated their lives to helping other people investigate the clients with a dual diagnosis with better and more accurate results. Abuse? And? Habit and alcoholism? are not interchangeable terms, anything else than? Misery? And? Schizophrenia? There will not be any improvement in cases where we have not made provision to analyze clients and properly separate addictions and abuse in our paper works, communications, and publications; we will continue to cause grave harm to our clients and patients if we insist on making a dual diagnosis.

It is estimated that the number of people with psychiatric disorders who self-administered prescription drugs or abused alcohol at one time or another has increased to 80% of individuals with dual diagnosis. Essentially, a large percentage of patients with opioid use disorders are often shown to have a psychiatric illness at some stage. The percentages are even higher among nursing demographics and academic settings with dual diagnosis.

Dual diagnosis (coexisting psychiatric and drug use disorders) refers to a large and complicated group of people. The emphasis of this article is on the dynamics of dual-diagnosis in general—Differential diagnosis, the challenge in achieving abstinence for those that see substantial gains from drug usage, and concerns arising from the long-standing gap in mental health and substance abuse care frameworks are also issues that need to be discussed. Mischief reduction, a technique of treating drug-using clients that focuses on the damage caused by drugs and alcohol without requiring withdrawal from other psychoactive substances, may be a useful way of thinking about concurrent dual diagnosis therapy. It is represented as a recovery bunch that is specifically designed for consumers that have been dually assessed. This gathering, enlivened by the possibility that improvements in addiction activity arise in phases and that motivation may be conditioned by the essence of one’s interaction with the care provider, uses a drop-in structure to offer low-cost access to consistent treatment, serving clients “where they are.”

Use Culturally Suitable Techniques 

Understanding the Customer’s Social Background 

Increasingly, the US has encountered a dual diagnosis of low literacy rates among Blacks and Latinos, and a growing proportion of Black women are enrolled in secondary education. A geographical zone is distinctive in its social makeup. Suppliers of medical products are expected to be aware of the social makeup of the treatment populations in which they will provide the dual diagnosis. Of particular significance are factors such as the individuals served, how the counsellor communicated with them, how they understood mending, how they viewed mental turmoil and their own experience with substance abuse and dual diagnosis.


To best work effectively with people of the various social groups, the provider must learn as much as possible about social group quality, including communication style, the nature and way in which relationships are built, and assumptions of dual diagnosis in each family. For instance, a few cultures may somaticize mental disorders symptoms, and clients from such gatherings may anticipate that the clinician should offer help for actual complaints. During treatment, a similar customer might be put off by too many probing, individual inquiries from the very start, resulting in them stopping treatment and avoiding dual diagnosis altogether. Essentially, understanding the customer’s job in the family and its social importance consistently is significant (e.g., assumptions for the most seasoned child, a girl’s responsibilities to her folks, grandmother as authority).

In addition, the doctor must avoid making preconceived notions about a client based on the impression that the doctor has about his/her cultural background and dual diagnosis. The degree of assimilation and the particular encounters of an individual may bring about that individual relating to the prevailing culture or many different cultures. For instance, an individual from India received by American guardians may think minimal about the social practices in his birth country at an early age. In such cases, one should be aware of the client’s country of birth, as that affiliation may affect her perception of the physician; nevertheless, that affiliation does not necessarily affect her beliefs and practices regarding the dual diagnosis. For more actual data about social issues in substance abuse treatment, see the forthcoming TIP Improving Social Competence in Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT in development a).

Clients’ Impression of Substance Abuse, Mental Disorders, and Mending 

clients may have culturally determined concepts of abusing substances or have a dual diagnosis problem, what causes these disorders, and how they might be “restored.” Clinicians are encouraged to investigate these concepts with people who know about the cultures addressed in their customer population. Counsellors ought to be aware of contrasts in how people see their job and the mending interaction of cultures other than their dual-diagnosis.
Any place in which natural, proper mending practices are beneficial to these clients should be coordinated into treatment and dual diagnosis. A particular example would be using needle therapy to calm upset Chinese customers or control their longings or use traditional herbal tobacco by certain Native Americans to establish compatibility in relationships in pursuit of behavioral and emotional balance with people suffering from dual diagnosis.

Social Discernments and Dual Diagnosis 

It is essential to be mindful of social and ethnic bias in dual diagnosis. For instance, some African Americans were generalized as having jumpy behavioral conditions in the past, while ladies have been analyzed now and again as being dramatic. Native Americans with bizarre dreams have been misdiagnosed as capricious or have borderline or schizotypal behavioral conditions. Clinical professionals may overanalyze obsessive-compulsive problems in Germans or theatrical disorders in Hispanic/Latino populations as dual diagnoses. In evaluating demonstrative standards, clinicians should be sensitive to social contrasts in behavior, articulate passionately, and be aware of their own biases, as well as generalizing dual diagnosis.

Social Contrasts and Treatment: Experimental Proof on The Adequacy 

In studies with COD clients, social contrasts and treatment issues have not been identified as dual diagnoses. One investigation involving nonwhite and white COD clients treated in mental health settings. The comparisons were based on ethnicity and suggested a matter that merited supplier consideration for dual diagnosis. African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics/Latinos self-reported a lower level of working and were perceived by clinical staff as having more severe and steady symptomatology and the psychosocial dual diagnosis to be lower.Scientists noticed “this was expected to some degree to the chronicity of their mental disorders and tenacious substance abuse, but likewise was amplified by multifaceted misperceptions; for instance, framework bias, countertransference, or lacking emotionally supportive networks” (Jerrell and Wilson 1997, p. 138).


Further, the examination found that nonwhite clients would, in general, have fewer resources available to them in the community as compared to white clients and that clinicians had greater difficulty connecting them with required resources, which can include dual diagnosis and other mental disorders. For instance, staff members experienced “exceptional challenges in identifying willing and suitable supporters” in 12-Step dual diagnosis programs (Jerrell and Wilson 1997, p. 138). To address such issues, scientists focused on the significance of creating social competence in staff, concentrating on the necessities of such clients, and participating in “more dynamic support for required, culturally important services” (Jerrell and Wilson 1997, p. 139).

Motivational Interviewing and Co-Occurring Disorders 

A treatment commitment dual diagnosis based on MI has been tailored to COD patients with some preliminary viability evidence. In an example of 100 inpatient clients with COD from a huge college medical clinic, Daley and Zuckoff (1998, p. 472) found that with just one “motivational treatment” meeting preceding clinic release, “… the show rate for the underlying outpatient arrangement practically doubled, expanding from 35% to 67 per cent.” MI approaches were adjusted to zero in this study, comparing clinic and outpatient dual diagnosis objectives and strategies. Additionally, the customer was welcome to consider the benefits and difficulties of continuing in outpatient treatment. Those having Daley and Zuckoff’s outcomes are meaningful for individuals in many quadrants since most of their client base has “public area clients with cocaine, alcohol, heroin, or dual diagnosis sedative-hypnotic, tension, or insane problems.” 

Swanson and colleagues (1999) altered MI strategies by expanding the measure of conversation of the customer’s view of the problem and his understanding of his clinical condition. We examined 121 patients from the Emergency Departments of two local hospitals, with 93 having a treatment-seeking dual diagnosis for drug abuse and mental illness. Members were allowed randomly to either standard treatment or standard treatment to expand a motivational meeting. The MI zeroed in on investigating the clients’ commitment to treatment, plans for continuing consideration, and understanding their job in their recovery. I am grateful to the specialists who were able to inspire motivation regarding the treatment of dual diagnosis by providing a powerful motivating statement. It was concluded by the creators that, irrespective of whether considering the real example or just individuals diagnosed with COD, study members who were found to have MI were invariably required to undergo outpatient treatment that would have resulted in a dual diagnosis. 

Motivational procedures have been demonstrated to help people who have genuine mental disorders. Most projects intended for people with such disorders recognize “that most of the mental clients have little preparation for abstinence-arranged substance use issue (SUD) treatments”; like this, they “incorporate motivational intercessions intended to help clients who either don’t recognize their SUD or don’t want substance abuse treatment to become prepared for more conclusive mediations focused on abstinence” (Drake and Mueser 2000). 

A four-meeting mediation has been grown explicitly to improve availability for change and treatment commitment of people with schizophrenia who additionally abuse alcohol and different substances (Carey et al. 2001). This mediation is summed up in Figure 5-3. 92% of the identified members of the 22 member mediation group completed all of the meetings as part of their pilot investigation, and each of the 22 groups agreed that mediation had been both positive and accepting of dual diagnosis.

A scope of motivational variables showed post-intercession enhancements in recognizing substance use problems and more prominent treatment commitment, confirmed by independent clinician appraisals. The individuals who began the mediation with low problem recognition made gains around there; the individuals who began with more special problem recognition made additions in the recurrence of utilization and contribution in treatment. While the information provided is an overview, there is no doubt that the entire strategy revolves around the idea of expressed dual diagnosis. It shows guarantee and warrants further examination, including endeavors to decide its adequacy among clients with COD who have mental disorders other than schizophrenia.

How can you, or someone you love, get the treatment? Contact an admissions coordinator today at 615-490-9376 for more information on how you can get dual diagnosis treatment.