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Framework of Dual Disorders and Its Flaws

Mangaraju Gayatri

When psychiatric illness and substance use disorder coexist, the clinical approach to the patient is, unsurprisingly, awkward. This fact is due to a cultural context and, more directly, to the patient’s psychiatric condition and addiction behaviors—a situation that does not favor a scientific approach. In dual disorder facilities, several types of professionals work together: counselors, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Treatment approaches vary from one service to another and even within the same service. It is crucial to provide dual disorder patients with multiple treatments, comprising hospitalization, rehabilitative and residential programs, case management, and counseling. Still, when treating Dual Disorder (DD) Heroin Use Disorder (HUD) patients, it is advisable to follow a hierarchical algorithm. First, we must deal with addiction: by detoxification, whenever possible. This means starting most patients on anti-craving pharmacological maintenance, though aversion therapy may be appropriate for a few of them.[1] Opiate antagonists may be used with heroinaddicted patients as long as those patients are only mildly ill. In contrast, agonist opioid medications, i.e., buprenorphine and methadone suit moderately and severely ill patients, respectively. Achieving control of mood instability or psychotic episodes is the next step, to be followed by a prevention strategy to counteract residual cravings and dominate mood disorders or psychotic episodes through long-term pharmacological maintenance that is focused on a double target.