What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

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A dual diagnosis usually means that someone has an addiction problem in addition to a fully diagnosed mental health disorder. Learn about how difficult treatment for dual diagnosis patients can be with information from a licensed mental health counselor in this free video on psychological disorders.

Part of the Video Series: Psychology Careers & Treatments
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is John Bosworth and I'm a licensed mental health counselor in St. Petersburg, Florida. I'd like to talk to you a little bit about what is a dual diagnosis. There's a lot of misinformation about diagnostics and personality disorders and DSM-IV. A lot of people are very misinformed about some of the true diagnosis. Dual diagnosis usually means in a mental health facility or in a private practice, simply that somebody is dealing with an addiction problem or some type of substance abuse or dependence problem in addition, in conjunction with a fully diagnosed mental or psychological disorder. And usually what I see in my practice, is some people that deal with addictions have underlying personality problems such as an anti-social personality or a borderline personality disorder or a narcissistic personality disorder. And what a personality disorder means is usually a very fixed, rigid way of thinking. So dual diagnosis basically involves not only an addiction or a substance abuse problem but some type of other fairly or pretty serious mental health disorder, whether it be a personality disorder or a mood disorder. So that's basically what we mean when we talk about what is a dual diagnosis. My name is John Bosworth and I am in private practice in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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