Drug and Alcohol Awareness

This course offers an introduction to the effects of drug and alcohol on mental health. It considers why individuals might choose to use substances and discusses how assessment and treatment is delivered by the North London Forensic Service.

Defining Dual Diagnosis

What do we mean by Dual Diagnosis?

The relationship between drug and alcohol use and mental illness is complex. The term 'dual diagnosis' is often used to describe this, although it is recognised that it does not fully capture all of an individuals needs.

Examples of people with dual diagnosis (a combination of mental health problems and substance use) could include; A dependent drinker who experiences increasing anxiety. An individual with Schizophrenia who uses cannabis on a daily basis to 'help with voices' An individual with Bipolar Disorder, whose occasional binge drinking and experimental use of drugs destabilises their mental health. A recreational user of 'dance drugs' who has begun to struggle with low mood after weekend use.

What do we mean by dual diagnosis ?

  • A disagreement between a service user and their doctor about diagnosis
  • A term used to describe combined mental health problems and substance use
  • A term used for someone who has multiple difficulties
Select the single correct response from the options below.

Why are we interested in Dual Diagnosis

The Importance of Understanding Dual Diagnosis

In 2010/2011, there were 6,640 admissions to hospital with a primary diagnosis of a drug-related mental health and behavioural disorder. A 14.3 per cent increase on the previous year (2009/10).

Drug and alcohol use in high for individuals with mental illness and is associated with poor treatment compliance, longer admission and more frequent admissions to hospital.

Drugs misuse among adults (16-59 years), in England and Wales, has increased from 30.5 per cent in 1996 to 36.3 per cent in 2010/11.

Research has shown that drug and alcohol use can be associated with an increased risk of offending, especially violent and acquisitive crimes.

On the whole drug use is down from 3.3m in 2005 to 2.9m in 2011, with a significant drop in injecting, heroin and crack use (Drug Treatment 2012; Progress Made Challenges Ahead, NTA).