Studies have shown that mental health professionals find working with patients with dual diagnosis challenging, and the purpose of this paper is to examine some of these challenges.
In total, 85 mental health professionals from 8 different mental health centres in Denmark were interviewed. The data analysis was inspired by a grounded theory approach.
Different challenges in the dual diagnosis treatment were identified and they suggested that the focus of treatment was mainly on the mental illness rather than the substance use disorder. The single focus of the treatment made it challenging to treat patients with dual diagnosis sufficiently. While several studies explain the single focus by inadequate competencies among professionals, the present study suggests that the single focus is also explained by the way that the treatment is organised. For instance, standardized treatment packages and insufficient guidelines on substance abuse treatment make it challenging to treat patients with dual diagnosis.
This paper suggests that a more flexible, and a longer period of, treatment, together with more sufficient guidelines on dual diagnosis treatment and a more formalized collaboration with the substance abuse treatment centres, will make it a less challenging issue to treat patients with dual diagnosis.
The author reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
This work was supported by Sundheds- og Aeldreministeriet (the Danish Ministry of Health) under grant ”project 65301, part 1, Styrket indsats for dobbeltdiagnosticerede voksne”. The author is solely responsible for the content of this paper and it does not necessarily represent the views of the grant provider.
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