Confronting an Individual With Dual Diagnosis

It is difficult enough to deal with a family member who has a mental illness (such as schizophrenia or bipolar mania but if they receive that dual diagnosis that they are also abusing alcohol or drugs it is even harder to get them to face the severity of their habit.

This is very difficult for families who may have just recognized the symptoms of alcohol abuse in a mentally ill family member. Symptoms are –

  • Being more aggressive or argumentative than usual
  • Being less reliable than usual
  • Suddenly having big money problems
  • Valuables disappearing from the house
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Apathy
  • Neglect of personal hygiene

Usually the person reacts very strongly to the mix of their medication and the resulting chaos usually belies that there is a problem.

Sometimes confronting the problem is not going to work. Unless you have irrefutable evidence the alcoholic is going to tell you they do not have a problem. Also it is important to note that if you are going to confront this individual that you should do it in a careful deliberate manner in the company of other people and you should try and do it when he or she is not under the influence of alcohol. You should also avoid being emotional, making dire threats or kicking them out of their home. This is because a loved one will often become emotional and say things that he or she does not mean.

Before any type of confrontation it is advisable to make contact with an interventionist and an available drug treatment center so you can proceed immediately once you have made contact with an available treatment center.

Coming to terms with the idea that you have to book a loved one into a rehab as the result of a dual diagnosis is not easy and it is best to research your loved one’s psychiatric disorder before making any real moves or confronting him or her regarding their alcohol abuse problem.