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Many patients have both a serious mental illness and a substance abuse problem. This is called dual diagnoses, or at the same time Drugs and Psychiatry (ROP patients). Such patients have traditionally been throwing balls between rushing help and mental health care - no one has wanted to take responsibility. Guidelines have now been drawn up for the treatment of such patients!

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TV2 News had the problem up in 2009. They concluded that psychiatry across the country is experiencing a sharply increasing drug problem. They based this, among other things, on a survey which showed that four out of ten patients who are currently admitted to psychiatry acutely have a so-called double diagnosis: substance abuse problem in combination with severe mental illness.


- Drug problems have exploded in scope

A number of experts and professionals across the country told TV2 that drug problems now pose a formidable challenge.

- A few years ago there was some alcohol and some hashish, the last five years we think this has exploded. We have received a very large amount of use of amphetamines and cocaine, and also several drugs, so that the drug problem has exploded, says chief physician Inger Greve Isdal at Haukeland University Hospital.

For many years she has worked with the sickest patients in psychiatry, those with schizophrenic disorders.


The psychoses are not detected

TV2 spoke to several experts. Randi Rosenqvist, head of the Forensic Medicine Commission, said the following: 

Intoxication is definitely a bigger problem and what worries me is that intoxication becomes so dominant in the acute clinical picture, that psychiatry does not perceive the underlying psychosis. I think there are many psychotic people who sail during a drug diagnosis and who are not properly diagnosed and treated.

Ketil Røtvold, at the Department of Special Psychiatry at the University of Tromsø, stated:

The biggest problem with intoxication combined with severe mental illness is that the abuse triggers and aggravates the underlying disorder so that one does not arrive with traditional treatment to the same extent as one would do without intoxication problems. This is one of the really big challenges you have.


New guidelines for the treatment of concomitant drug and mental disorders

The main message in the guidelines (Norwegian) is that substance abuse and mental disorders interact with each other and require special attention. People with concomitant drug and mental disorders (ROP disorders) have the opportunity to improve both symptoms and quality of life if both disorders are investigated and treated in a coordinated manner.



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