Dual diagnosis is a term used to describe the course of treating drug and alcohol addiction in conjunction with a mental disorder such as depression or bi-polar disorder. Addiction treatment specialists are now also using dual diagnosis in the treatment of gambling addiction.
Over the past couple of decades, research and study of the brain determined that treating just depression or other mental disorders as the underlying cause of substance abuse was insufficient. Likewise, just achieving abstinence from drugs and alcohol didn’t cause psychiatric symptoms like depression or bi-polar disorder to disappear. From this came the term dual diagnosis and what’s called integrated treatment.
Since the 1980s dual diagnosis has become more common in treating dually occurring psychiatric and substance abuse disorders, although a limited number of treatment programs actually specialize in co-occurring disorders or integrated treatment. However, that is hopefully changing, as indicated by the fact that dual diagnosis is now also being recognized in the treatment of gambling disorders and addiction.
According to Foundations Associates, nearly 14 million Americans are affected annually by co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental health or psychiatric conditions. Of those, fewer than 20 percent receive the proper treatment, primarily because of conflicting treatment modalities and differing opinions as to what constitutes effective treatment. That being the case, it stands to reason that dual diagnosis and integrated treatment for those with gambling addictions has been slow in coming.
Statistics from the Lakeview Health Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center in Jacksonville, Fla., indicate that as many as 70 percent of their drug and alcohol addiction patients also suffer from mental disorders, including bi-polar disorder, depression, borderline personality disorder and anxiety. Because all addictions have the same basic characteristics, it follows that those with a gambling addiction also have a co-occurring mental or psychiatric disorder.
December and January are typically when the effects of gambling addictions hit their peak, presumably because of the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl and an array of other sports. Although society is more familiar with the effects of drug and alcohol addiction, the effects of gambling and gambling addiction can be just as devastating to addicts and their families. As a result, Lakeview Health and a few other treatment facilities are beginning to use dual diagnosis in their treatment of gambling addiction.
People addicted to gambling typically lose thousands of dollars and almost always end up in financial and/or legal trouble. Their gambling usually causes problems at home, on the job, and elsewhere. Thus far, it appears depression is the most common mental disorder co-existing with a gambling addiction. Regardless, experts are coming to agreement that dual diagnosis is important to successful treatment.
This is an excellent treatment for overcoming an addiction as powerful as gambling because it has destroyed many lives where certain people cannot do without losing a fortune over a game of judi online or blackjack.