Drug abuse has been a common problem for a very long time.

Gregory’s treatment





Drug abuse has been a common problem for a very long time. There was a need to come up with treatment modalities that would help in dealing with a drug abuse problem. For a long time now, there have been various psychologists trying to come up with modalities of treatment that will be useful and efficient. The four major modalities of treatment include crisis intervention, individual counselling, group counselling and family counselling. These treatment modalities are quite helpful in the patient’s path to recovery. Crisis intervention with family, co-workers and friends are quite useful and lead to a person getting into a therapeutic program. Crisis intervention is aimed at moving a drug addict from the cycle of a crisis and motivating them to start taking steps towards their recovery. Individual counselling is important as it assist patients to admit that they are suffering from addiction. It also helps in pointing out the relevant signs and symptoms to the patient’s experience. Group therapy is useful as it makes an addict get challenge and support from their peers who are in the same predicament. In many families, the family members are afraid or bringing up the issue. Family counselling is, therefore, quite useful in creating a forum to talk about the issue of drug addiction affecting the family member and treatment.

Dual diagnosis, also referred to as co-occurring disorders is whereby a patient suffers from a mental illness and a substance abuse problem. These two normally have a complex relationship and hence treating a patient with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse is quite complicated as compared to treating one of these conditions alone. A primary psychiatric treatment can persist or lead to misuse of substances (Gold, 2005). Alcohol and drugs could be some sort of self medication an individual imposes on themselves. People with mental health problems such as anxiety disorder might turn to alcohol and drugs to relieve themselves from the effects brought about by the illness.

Patients might be feeling nervous, anxious, bored, lonely or have difficulty in sleeping and end up using different drugs to deal with these feelings. The misuse of substances might get worse or change the path of a particular psychiatric illness. Individuals with dual diagnosis normally have complex needs that are related to social, health, emotional and economic stressors. It is quite a challenge to offer support to people with dual diagnosis. Patients with dual-diagnosis on many occasions face a prognosis that is bleak as compared to those who suffer from one disorder. These patients have a higher risk of hospitalization, relapse, homelessness, incarceration and other serious infections such as HIV (Smith, & Morris, 2007). Individual counselling is important in the case of dual diagnosis since the mental health condition requires treatment that is separate from the individual’s addiction. Intensive therapy with counsellors or psychologists helps in addressing the psychiatric diagnosis and the addiction disorder at the same time. The addiction and mental disorder are related hence they should be treated concurrently. Dual diagnosis helps counsellors and psychologists deal with the patient with the knowledge that he or she is suffering from two disorders.

Gregory’s primary diagnosis is anxiety. He has anxiety disorder whereby he feels anxious in social situations. Gregory’s second diagnosis is alcohol abuse. His alcohol abuse began as a result of the anxiety disorder he has. He turned to alcohol in order for him to dispel the feeling of anxiety. Alcohol made him feel at ease when he was ta work, when he was out with colleagues and other public events. With time, he needed alcohol so as to get the anxiety releasing effect. His dual diagnosis is anxiety disorder and his dependency on alcohol.

Treating a secondary diagnosis is very important after a dual diagnosis has been done. It helps in dealing with the problem that has resulted from the primary diagnosis and thus will not complicate the underlying problem further. It will help in dealing with the underlying problem and prevent it from any further escalation. It helps in arresting and containing the primary diagnosis and hence making it easy to deal treat it as well. Treatment of a secondary diagnosis can also lead to the worsening of psychiatric symptoms on the patient. For instance, a patient who abstains from drugs might end up having worse symptoms if they are suffering from anxiety disorder. The patient depends on drug use to relieve these symptoms, and when they no longer use them, the symptoms might end up increasing.

An alcohol and drug counsellor is quite limited when it comes to treating diagnoses other than those that are related to substance abuse. These counsellors are trained in dealing with only alcohol and drug related patients and hence they lack the expertise to treat other diagnoses (Rosenthal, 2003). They are only familiar with dealing with substance abuse related patients and hence find it challenging to deal with patients with other diagnoses.

The four treatment modalities are useful in different circumstances in dual diagnosis. An example of a circumstance is a teenage boy is suffering from generalized anxiety disorder and addicted to cocaine. The teenage boy is from a rich family and hence the parents are always busy and hence do not have time to deal with their son. There will be a need for a crisis intervention whereby the parents try to get help for their son. The boy will require individual counselling so as to be able to make out the signs and symptoms of his disorders. There is also need for group counselling whereby he will be able to interact with other people who are facing the same challenges he is facing. It will help him get support from his peers who understand what he is going through. Family counselling is important in this situation as it will help his parents talk about this issue and assist their son on his path to recovery.

Individual counselling sessions would be appropriate for treating Gregory. There is the need for an intensive therapy that will address the anxiety disorder and alcohol abuse (Watkins, & Lewellen, 2001). These conditions should be treated simultaneously as they are related. There is the need to focus on his anxiety disorder and alcohol abuse simultaneously or in different sessions that alternate. During counselling, there is need to provide intense case management. There is the need to assess Gregory’s perception of the relationship between his anxiety and alcohol abuse. Gregory should be encouraged to look past the immediate effects of taking alcohol. It will assist him in understanding the negative implications of the continued alcohol abuse.


Gold, M. (2005). Dual Diagnosis. Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 5-13.

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Rosenthal, R. (2003). Dual diagnosis. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Smith, G., & Morris, P. (2007). Dual diagnosis: What does it mean? Mental Health and Substance Use: Dual Diagnosis, 162-165.

Watkins, T., & Lewellen, A. (2001). Dual diagnosis an integrated approach to treatment. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.