It is important to properly evaluate and diagnose a addict with both disorders. A person with both alcoholism and drug addiction is often referred to as being “dually-addicted” not to be confused with the term dual diagnosis, which meant someone who had a drug or alcohol problem and a mental health diagnosis, such as depression.One key issue in drug and alcohol rehab for a dually-addicted person is detox. Alcohol almost always requires detoxification. While some drugs require detox and others do not. The detox protocol must be closely monitored and administered to insure both addictions are properly and simultaneously cleansed from the body. Dually addicted patients are more likely to drop out of treatment and have poorer results than patients who abuse only one substance.
Medical research conducted on dually addicted patients will address the needs of the overwhelming number of Americans who abuse both alcohol and illicit drugs. More than 2.4 million of the 5.6 million people who abused illicit drugs in 2001 also abused alcohol, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. In fact, the more heavily someone abused alcohol, the more likely he or she was to use illegal drugs, the survey found. In 2001, nearly two of every three American teenagers, ages 13 to 17, who engaged in frequent drinking binges also abused drugs. In comparison, only 1 in 20 young people who didn’t drink at all used drugs.
The treatment and rehabilitation process is similar for addicts suffering from both alcoholism and drug addiction. Addicts who suffer from both diseases are treated with the same modalities as someone with one or the other disease. The differences between rehab and treatment for someone with both alcoholism and drug addiction would primarily be making the dually addicted person acutely aware they have both concerns and address both forms of the disease concurrently and accordingly.