There’s No Such Thing as Dual-Diagnosis

You’re either well or you’re not well…

     Another thing I hear from time to time is how it’s much harder, if not impossible, for so and so to recover because he or she is dual-diagnosis and needs to be medicated for life. Sorry, but that is ridiculous.

     First of all, there’s no such thing as dual-diagnosis. Nobody is an addict and has depression separately. To be an addict is to be sick mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Regardless of the ever-expanding myriad of supposedly individual diagnoses or disorders, the truth is that it’s all one in the same. All of these maladies emanate from the same source and therefore individual treatments are also part of the hoax. I can’t help but to assume terms like ‘dual-diagnosis’ or ‘co-occurring disorders’ are designed to justify and peddle more crap to people in the form of therapy sessions and pharmaceuticals. They are industry terms. They are advertisements.

     All specific manifestations of mental illness are irrelevant, existing as mere symptoms of the same underlying core problem. Thus, if we recover wholly from one thing, we generally recover from the lot of them. In fact, treating symptoms individually often prevents true recovery and fundamental change of the person spiritually. Just thinking about illness in this way prevents recovery. How does the entire psychiatric establishment not get this? More to the point, how is it that the entire industry does not understand the nature of mental illness? As psychology literally means ‘study of the psyche or soul’, the answer lies in very name of the study itself, but hey, what do I know?

     Drug therapy is an oxymoron. That is, there is no recovery to be found in designer drugs that artificially manipulate our chemistry or mask symptoms that have nothing to do with our core illness. I was personally “afflicted” with just about everything – addiction, alcoholism, severe depression, bipolar, anxiety, PTSD, blah, blah, blah… and I have recovered from any and all thoughts and desires to drink, use or self-destruct. There is no more depression or mania or fear or insomnia. All of it, just gone. Needless to say, transformative spiritual experiences are events of a more mystical nature, but they are certainly available to anyone with the capacity to be honest with themselves.

     Contrary to popular belief, our brain chemistry is by no means static and can be manipulated without pharmaceutical intervention. There were some clinicians who simply could not understand my chemical recovery. They didn’t believe it because it does not fit into their belief system. They were certain my brain chemistry was so consistently imbalanced that there was no chance of balance or even the ability to function without lifelong medication. Since then, much evidence has surfaced which suggests that activities like prayer, meditation and mindfulness can indeed alter one’s bio-chemistry, not to mention restore levels of crucial neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Try meditating for 1-2 hours a day, everyday for a year. Your brain will look nothing the same as when you began on day one.

     At any rate, it actually makes no sense to say, “Well, he or she is dual-diagnosis and so the depression makes it harder to recover as it is what’s driving his addiction.” Sorry, but this is backwards. Addiction can cause depression but depression does not cause addiction, so it’s not the depression perpetuating the lack of recovery, it is the lack of recovery that is perpetuating the depression. True recovery is comprehensive and thus when you recover properly from addiction, the depression will lift as well. Do you see? We must look beyond the symptoms. Treating symptoms is just a band-aid. Fruitless. When you stop with the intervention (pharmaceutical or other), you are right back to where you started: insane and untreated.

     When we try to specify exactly what is going on with each malady bio-chemically, or to determine what life events and emotional sensitivities “caused” each individual malady, we miss the forest for the trees. When someone gets diagnosed with five different emotional/psychological maladies and prescribed five different drugs and five different modalities in therapy, rarely do they end up getting better from anything. Once again, focusing on the specifics often prevents real, fundamental, lasting recovery.

     Addiction is the perfect example. Drugs/alcohol and any neurochemical changes that occur as a result of repeated use are merely a sideshow. Focusing on the brain and experimenting with all sorts of dangerous science projects that will rearrange an addict’s chemistry or reduce cravings or make them sick when they use is missing the point entirely (btw, craving is a physical event, not mental or psychological, as after withdrawal, there is no craving, only obsession). Go ahead, try it. You will see no change in the addict and a relapse is well on the way.

     The addict is a sick person, just as the narcissist or the depressed or the anxious. So it’s not drugs and alcohol and addiction that need to be addressed via trigger identification or relapse prevention or harm reduction or some other nonsense, it is the person. Those who are ill need practical tools they can apply to expel the poison within, pull them out of dysfunction, and teach them how to move through their feelings when they begin to suffer or become paralyzed. More drugs is not a solution for healing the core of an individual. There is no such thing as a miracle drug, nor can we talk our way out of these various maladies. We must dig deep, find some guts, get up and act our way out.

     Don’t tell me you or your addict can’t do it. I don’t accept that. If I can recover, and I was about as fucked as they come on multiple levels, then anybody can.

     One problem is that the modern day, progressive belief about addiction fails to account for one thing: recovery. Here is an excerpt from How to Cripple an Addict: “When you ply an addict with more drugs, when you validate an addict in therapy as the victim of a blameless disease, and when you subsidize an addict with government programs (your money), you are essentially telling them that they are too weak, sick and stupid to truly get better and recover, and to make things worse, you are doing it under the guise of compassion, under the guise of science and the disease model.” 

     So why am I okay with no desire to use after 15 years of chronic addiction and mind-blowing depression? Why is it impossible for the medical community to accept the thousands upon thousands of actual spiritual experiences that have occurred, thus restoring addicts and freeing them from addiction and depression for good? Why are we refusing to even see the spiritual solution as a solution anymore?

     You see, this is why I wrote my story. I went from broken, deranged and dying in every possible way to free, content, and restored to sanity. I was in treatment for less than three weeks. Is not much of the psychiatric nonsense completely irrelevant at that point? What I did was quite simple: I worked my ass off. I took certain actions, I became brutally honest, and I reached out with everything I had inside me… and boom, I was touched. That’s it. I walked away free from addiction, and a free man I remain today. Spiritual experiences are real and have been documented (read “Varieties of Religious Experience”). Seek them. Anyone who truly wants to change and is willing to do anything it takes to effect that change, will.

     One last thing, and yes this is probably controversial since everything nowadays is such a big f’ing deal. I don’t believe depression afflicts people the way we believe it to, and no, I’m not saying that it isn’t brutal and agonizing. What I’m saying is that I gave myself the depression. I didn’t catch it in the air, nor did I inherit it, despite of any genetic proclivities. I believe my depression to be an organic manifestation of self-absorption gone astray. Yes, that’s right. I liken my depression to narcissism or sociopathology, that is, a pathological focus on self, a preoccupation with me, Charlie, with my life, my thoughts, my feelings, my past, my future, my hopes, my dreams, me, me, me. Trust me, too much Self will lead to all sorts of nonsense and spiritual decay.

     People can judge themselves, but that is what I know about my own depression. Nothing and nobody was responsible for my depression and no person, place or thing could pull me out. I had to become willing and act my way out, and the power to act came from God. And no, I’m not referring to a belief system or a concept. I’m referring the Power (God-power) and divine intelligence that exists.

     I get that it may be hard to understand the power of God, the divine thread that runs through everything when there is no active experience of it within (or without), and especially when you have so many man-made concepts, doctrines and rituals claiming to represent God.

     But that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is the very real, unlimited, incomprehensible, mind-bending power of God that is capable of anything. I felt it for a brief moment and suddenly all of my illness and fear just vanished. Trust me, Power is real. God is real. It’s just that normally I/we remain so distant and detached from God. You can certainly see the toll that is taking today, as ideology is replacing spiritual intelligence and God. Ideology is becoming a mental illness.

2 thoughts on “There’s No Such Thing as Dual-Diagnosis

  1. Wow! What a different and direct perspective on addiction than I have been reading. Thank you so much for this webpage.It is helping me immensely! I am still hopeful that my alcoholic will find sobriety but with your help from this webpage, have let it go, which is probably the best thing I can do for the alcoholic.

  2. I totally agree Charlie! I mean, about depression. I too was depressed for many years, and I dug myself out eventually – without drugs – and now that I look back, I can see that I did give myself the depression. I wallowed in how bad my life was, and did nothing to fix it. I was almost addicted to feeling sad. Whatever you focus on, grows, right?I see this with individuals in my family who have been diagnosed with mental illness – I can see how they gave themselves these problems by focusing on what was wrong with them for years and years, by feeding these demons as it were. I don't think anybody was ever cured of anything by focusing single-mindedly on their illness. On the contrary, it helps most to focus on something positive, not to dwell on personal suffering.

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