Dr. Stephen Stein, MD, is a specialist in addiction medicine who works with recovering addicts at Narconon Vista Bay in Northern California. In videoerecorded interviews, he addressed the concept of the “dual diagnosis.”
Families may take a loved one to a rehabilitation facility to save their life from abuse of alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin or many other addictive substances. Before that person even has a chance to get the drugs out of his (or her) system, the family may be told that this person suffers from a “dual diagnosis.” In other words, besides addiction, the person is also bipolar or manic depressive, or they may suffer from depression or panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder or phobias, among others. That person may be put on new drugs while they are going through withdrawal from the old drugs.
Dr. Stein’s extensive experience with addicts gives him a different understanding. “The vast majority of people who were diagnosed [by others] with depression or bipolar disorder were just addicted,” he said. “What they needed was to just get off the drugs they were abusing before someone decided they needed further treatment.”
In a decade of working with addicts in rehabilitation, he has only encountered a couple of people were truly mentally ill and needed care for that condition. As was proper for their conditions, they were taken from that drug rehab facility to a location where they could get mental health treatment. The rest benefited from being supported through a healthy detoxification process. As the body healed from the damage done by addiction, the person would brighten up. His thought processes would become clearer. In fact, what might have been thought to be mental illness was really just a need for a holistic addiction treatment program that supported healing and detoxification.
When Dr. Stein talks about “insult,” he’s talking about something that causes injury, irritation or trauma. “Drug abuse and addiction creates a huge chemical insult,” he commented. “The most important thing is to take the drugs away and let the body heal. It’s not sensible to add more drugs to a person who has already been damaged by them. They should be allowed to detoxify before a diagnosis of mental illness is made.”
As the medical doctor for Narconon Vista Bay. Dr. Stein has been able to see these principles at work, as each person who goes through the Narconon drug rehab program is immediately given nutritional support as they withdraw from the drugs they were taking. They are also helped by providing them with gentle physical and emotional “assists” – exercises that help calm the body and mind.
Dr. Stein then helps ensure that each person who is going to go through the more intensive detox action called the Narconon New Life Detoxification Program will be able to benefit from that service. "Only a few people are excluded from this step due to health reasons, like heart problems," he observed. "I've never seen an adverse effect from this detoxification program." This is where clarity of thought can return to the recovering addict, as old, toxic drug residues are flushed out with a combination of time in a sauna, moderate daily exercise and a strict nutritional regimen.
"In my experience, shorter programs do not give a recovering addict time for this kind of healing to occur," he concluded. "The person in recovery goes home, back to the stressors, family problems, legal programs and his head is still swimming. In a longer program, he can go through this healing and then have a chance to look at life and problems and solve them." Training in sober-living skills occurs later in the Narconon drug recovery program. Each person is then assisted in applying these skills to resolve the conflicts created by addiction. As a result, when recovery is complete, the newly-sober person does not have to go home to unresolved situations. He also has learned how to deal with any new situations that might come up.
To discover this innovative method of bringing about lasting sobriety, contact the international offices of Narconon at 1-800-775-8750.