‘Dual Diagnosis’ is the term used when a person suffers from both a substance addiction problem and another mental health issue such as depression or an anxiety disorder. We believe that if you don’t treat both together you can’t beat either.
Most mental health services and addiction treatment centres in Ireland are currently not organised to treat such people holistically. For example, if you have difficulties abstaining from alcohol due to anxiety, you can not enter rehabilitation services (most residential drug services insist you must be “dry” before entry). Yet you can not get your anxiety problem treated until your addiction to alcohol has been addressed.
According to figures from the American Medical Association, up to 37% of alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness, and 29% of people diagnosed as mentally ill abuse either alcohol or drugs.
A study by the UK Dept. of Health put the figures even higher, suggesting that 75% of users of drug services and 85% of users of alcohol services experienced mental health problems.44% of mental health service users reported drug use. (Weaver et al, 2002)
Despite this, there is currently little awareness of the problem in Ireland.
Our aim is to change this and make sure people get the right kind of treatments at the first time of asking.