Dual Diagnosis: Mental Illness and drug addiction

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Dual Diagnosis: Mental Illness and drug addiction

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After years of relapsing after he would get clean and then relapsing and relapsing over and over again and every relapse getting worse, Nick finally got in the care of a doctor who understood the concept of dual diagnosis, that many addicts have other psychiatric problems. She ordered a psychologically testing, and it was determined that Nick had bipolar disorder and depression, serious bipolar depression and serious depression. And she began for the first time in his life to treat him for those psychiatric illnesses. He is on medication. He is in therapy. And he says and I agree that if those things were never caught, he wouldn´t be sober today and in fact he has been sober now for about six years. When I look back, I imagine that if I could have gotten Nick in the care of a doctor who would have been able to diagnose the fact that he had these mental illnesses, that he had depression, he had bipolar disorder and got him treatment when he was young, who knows? Would he still have become addicted? Maybe not because so much of his addiction was about trying to treat this anxiety that he felt, this depression that he felt, this mania that he felt. And even if he would have become addicted, I have to think that it would not have gotten as severe, he would not have been in such, such, such danger, such dire circumstances, so close to dying so many times.

View David Sheff's video on Dual Diagnosis: Mental Illness and drug addiction...

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David Sheff

Writer

David Sheff is the author of Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy, the follow-up to his New York Times #1 bestseller, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s AddictionClean is the result of the years Sheff spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem, which he sees as the greatest public-health challenge of our time.

Beautiful Boy was based on Sheff’s article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine and won an award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.”  It was named the nonfiction book of the year by Entertainment Weekly.  

Named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People, Sheff also won the 2013 College of Problems on Drug Dependence Media Award. Sanjay Gupta, MD, said, "As a clear-eyed chronicler of addiction, David is without peer.”

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