A dual diagnosis means that you have been diagnosed with both a psychiatric disorder and an alcohol problem. Families who have mentally ill relatives that are complicated by alcohol abuse have special issues. There are special drug and alcohol rehab dual diagnosis programs for such people.
Issue #1 – You may not be able to find a facility that treats both the drinking and the mental illness at the time. Many families who have dual diagnose and alcoholism issues find their loved one being ushered from one program at another as it is truly difficult to find a program that can handle schizophrenia combined with alcoholism or bipolar mania combined with alcoholism.
Issue #2 – The alcoholic that has a psychiatric problem often always needs a team of experts, including someone who expert with medications and their effects. This can involve hours of research and many visits. It is hard on the family of such an individual as they often have to wait months to see someone who can really understand, medicate and recommend the appropriate therapy for the person with a dual diagnosis. It also does not help that many of these doctors are expensive and quite difficult to get a one on one appointment with.
Issue #3 – The individual with a dual diagnosis tends to be twice a ruthless, reckless and also violent as the normal alcoholic. Once confronted they often run and get carried away in what is known as the “downward drift” in society. This means that as a consequence of their illness they may find themselves living in marginal neighborhoods where drug use prevails.
The traditional drug treatment programs do not work as well on people with dual diagnosis because they involve a lot of confrontation and a lack of medication which might just make things worse in the case of a chemically dependent schizophrenic. An appropriate treatment program for dual diagnosis should take a more appropriate approach and realize that recovering from alcohol abuses may be separate from any medications that the person may be taking.