Triple Threat: Beyond Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues

February 10, 2015 5:55 PM

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Until the '80s, it used to be that clients coming in for treatment were typically corralled into two discrete camps: the mentally ill or the substance abuser. Each had parallel treatment and discrete funding streams. As that decade drew to a close, so appeared the term dual diagnosis, a clinical moniker which appropriately -- finally! -- acknowledges the reality that those who experience substance abuse disorders were almost always in the throes of one or more concurrent mental health disorders that needed treatment.

Dual diagnosis is when a person experiences a mental health disorder and a comorbid substance abuse problem. There is extensive and ongoing deliberation over the appropriateness of using a single category for a heterogeneous group of individuals with complex needs and a varied range of problems. The...

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