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Double diagnosis

 Understanding the double diagnosis and the support adapted to this condition?

Double diagnosis - definition

A dual diagnosis is made when a patient has an intellectual disability and a mental health problem simultaneously.
It is therefore often difficult to determine whether the subject’s behaviour is linked to medical, environmental, psychiatric or emotional problems, or to a combination of all these factors at the same time.
Clinicians can, however, take steps to better understand how all of the social, biological, and psychological factors impact the patient’s mental health.

Dual diagnosis - causes and risk factors

The relationship between intellectual disabilities and mental health problems is complex. A subject with an intellectual disability is more likely to develop a mental health problem, which is explained by various factors (physiological, psychological and social).
Thus, some people with intellectual disabilities of genetic origin, such as fragile X syndrome, may find themselves predisposed to social phobia. People with 22q11 microdeletion are at increased risk of developing schizophrenia as well.
Knowing the origin of intellectual disability can help anticipate potential mental disorders or illnesses.

Double diagnosis - what support ?

There is no single intervention that works for everyone with a dual diagnosis.
The treatment plan for these people must necessarily be personalized. The diagnosis must precisely determine the origin of intellectual disabilities, and the psychiatric disorders or illnesses associated with them, to provide the patient with appropriate support.