Wednesday, March 04, 2009

New research on treating dual diagnosis

People who are addicted to drugs often have other mental-health problems as well, including depression and anxiety; something psychologists call dual diagnosis. Integrated psychological treatment aims to treat both drug addiction and other mental-health problems at the same time on the basis that people's anxiety and depression may contribute towards their drug problem. Dr Morten Hesse of the University of Aarhus in Copenhagen carried out a review of the research into the effectiveness of this approach. He found that in people who were depressed integrated psychological treatment produced a higher percentage of drug-free days, less depression and more patients sticking with their treatment. However, there was little backing for the integrated treatment of drug abuse and anxiety with some studies showing that it produced worse outcomes. This could be because some treatments for anxiety involve a gradual exposure to the things that make people stressed; an exposure that could lead to people taking drugs again if they have not completely recovered from their addiction. Dr Hesse recommended that the anxiety treatment should be deferred until people were further recovered from their drug addiction.

You can find out more about this research at

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