Information On Dual Diagnosis Assessment

June 27, 2012 0 Comments

An individual with mental disorder and under substance abuse is suffering from dual diagnosis, also known as co-existing or co-occurrng conditions. Because of the complexity of interactions linked to these disorders, doctors who assess dual diagnosis patients usually experience challenges in doing their job. This article offers guidelines on how physicians may properly assess individuals experiencing dual diagnosis.

It’s important for physicians from dual diagnosis treatment centers who are examining people with dual diagnosis to have better understanding of the medical history of their client, specially with regards to the patient’s psychiatric illness and substance use or addiction. Doctors should include information such as all the substances used by the client since first use, family background of addiction, as well as previous treatment. The mental illness history of the client may also serve as a key in identifying the possible interactions between mental illness or mental disorder and substance use or addiction.

Physicians are encouraged to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) in providing the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders and mental disorders. DSM-IV allows the physicians to differentiate the casual factors, thus helping them identify whether the patient is really experiencing dual diagnosis. The manual also provides specific criteria for the substance-induced mental problems of the dual diagnosis patients. It explains that a person having such disorder only experiences psychotic symptoms when influenced. This only suggest that the patient wouldn’t be diagnosed with separate psychotic illness.

It is also essential for doctors to have keen observation of their client over time to differentiate the separate symptoms of mental health and substance. Bear in mind that a clinician may not obtain proper diagnosis of the client’s illness in just a one-time interview. The majority of dual diagnosis rehabilitation centers provide drug treatment programs focusing on treating substance abuse first prior to mental disorder. Physicians then are expected to have more exact assessment and diagnosis if the symptoms found on their client are attributable to either mental illness or drug abuse after having some time of not using it.

Diagnosing such mental problem requires skills and expertise. That is why clinicians must have that special skills in identifying this kind of condition to avoid misdiagnosis and to ensure safety to their patients. With the above-mentioned guidelines, physicians are able to properly and accurately examine whether their client has dual diagnosis or not. And through proper examination, they might be able to come up with the best and right treatment for the patient.

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