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Dual Diagnosis


Dual diagnosis also known as co-occurring mental disorder is the condition of a person with from a mental illness and a substance abuse problem.

The concept can be used broadly, for example depression and alcoholism, or it can be restricted to specify severe mental illness (e.g. psychosis, schizophrenia) and substance misuse disorder (e.g. cannabis abuse), or a person who has a milder mental illness and a drug dependency, such as panic disorder or generalised anxiety disorder and is dependent on opioids.

Diagnosing a primary psychiatric illness in substance abusers is not always easy as drug abuse itself often produces psychiatric symptoms, therefore making it difficult to separate between substance induced and pre-existing mental illness.

Drug abuse, including alcohol and prescription drugs, can induce symptoms which resembles mental illness, which can make it difficult to differentiate between substance induced psychiatric behaviour and pre-existing mental health problems. More often than not psychiatric disorders among drug or alcohol abusers disappear with prolonged abstinence.  Those with co-occurring disorders face complex challenges. They have increased rates of relapse and hospitalisation until correctly diagnosed.

Severe anxiety and depression are commonly induced by sustained alcohol abuse which in most cases abates with prolonged abstinence. Even moderate sustained use of alcohol may increase anxiety and depression levels in some individuals. Abuse of hallucinogens can trigger delusional and psychotic events long after stopping.

In most cases these drugs induced psychiatric disorders fade away with prolonged abstinence. A protracted withdrawal syndrome can also occur with psychiatric and other symptoms persisting for months after cessation of use. Substance use disorders can be confused with other psychiatric disorders. There are diagnoses for substance-induced mood disorders and substance-induced anxiety disorders and thus such overlap can be complicated.




Only a small proportion of those with co-occurring disorders actually receive treatment for both disorders. There are multiple approaches to treating concurrent disorders. Partial treatment involves treating only the disorder that is considered primary. Sequential treatment involves treating the primary disorder first, and then treating the secondary disorder after the primary disorder has been stabilised.

 Integrated treatment involves a seamless blending of interventions into a single coherent treatment package developed with a consistent philosophy and approach.With this approach, both disorders are considered primary. Integrated treatment can improve results and outcomes.

 At Miracles Asia the approach depends on the circumstance and is treated accordingly. We treat the individual and the approach most suitable is used.

Why consider residential treatment at Miracles Asia?

 The benefits of residential treatment are:

  • Being away from your usual environment: Often people can feel confined and disheartened in their daily life. It is easy to repeat poor choices in the place where you live and work.
  • Being away from the substance: With the substance out of the way, what’s left is your relationship with you. And when you actually develop a affirmative relationship with yourself, is when the real healing can happen.
  • Professional help: Trained professionals help you to learn new behaviours, and new ways of thinking, plus techniques to overcome emotional issues.
  • Your daily needs are cared for: Without the need to cook, clean, and earn. your time is free to focus on this relationship with yourself.
  • Social support: In residential treatment centres, you realize on every level that you are not alone. It can be a very healing experience to become aware that other people share your same issues and feelings.

For more information please contact Miracles Asia and talk to our Clinical Director for more details about our treatment plans.