Dual Diagnosis Explained
The term dually diagnosed is one that is sometimes frowned upon by the establishment as being deemed politically incorrect. Out of fashion so to speak.
Well, that is as maybe but amongst the fellowship of DDA members, we have no issue with this title whatsoever. In fact, we believe that this term completely describes our struggles.
We are dealing and living with two profound conditions. One a mental health issue and the other being an addiction issue.
These are both far-ranging conditions in the sense that mental health is all-encompassing and can range from a self-diagnosed issue of depression or anxiety to a clinical diagnosis such as BPD or schizophrenia.
Equally on the other side of the coin – addiction can include drug and alcohol issues or addictions such as gambling, sex or overworking.
So quite simply put – a dual diagnosis is a person struggling with two potentially life-threatening and debilitating diseases.
What is DDA?
DDA stands for ‘Dual Diagnosis Anonymous’.
We are a peer support/mutual aid fellowship that supports people with a combination of mental health issues and addiction/substance/alcohol misuse (otherwise known as a Dual Diagnosis).
We follow a ’12 plus 5′ Step Model. Our extra 5 steps specifically address the mental health aspect of a dual diagnosis. Therefore our programme of recovery is particularly designed to support people who are struggling with more than one problem.
We are made up of people who have lived experience of Dual Diagnosis, so know what someone may be going through.
At Dual Diagnosis Anonymous our services are not just limited to those who are struggling with dual disorders. We also welcome and extend our help to their families and friends, as well as health care providers and other interested parties.
History of Dual Diagnosis Anonymous
January 1996- Corbett Monica, founder of DDA, brought a group of clients who were dually diagnosed with mental illness and substance abuse, to a traditional 12 Step meeting in Fontana, California.
These service users were residents in local Supported Housing. One of the clients, Ruben, who was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia and Alcoholism, was disruptive during the meeting due to his severe symptoms of psycho motor agitation and anxiety.
Corbett was asked not to bring Ruben to any more meetings,
due to the distraction and disruption he caused to other members.
Corbett, who is also dually diagnosed, recognised the importance of a 12 Step program for people like Ruben, and himself, who did not “fit in” to the more traditional settings of AA/NA.
With an understanding that dual diagnosis identified the co-occurrence of the two primary issues of mental illness and substance abuse, Corbett created the additional 5 Steps of DDA, which address the mental health aspect of a dual disorder.