“Once a criminal, always a criminal,” they say. It may be true in some cases, but certainly not in all. For some, crime is the way to life. However, in many cases, the tendency to commit repeat offense emanates from a substance use disorder (SUD), a mental illness, or both – a condition known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. The tendency to go back to jail, also termed as “recidivism,” can sometimes be blamed on any of the three conditions mentioned above, it has been found. And the way American jails are overcrowding, recidivism is seen as a major contributor to it.
Prisoners, who comprise a high-risk group are often supervised following their release. But this does not stop them from resorting to criminal ways. The most obstinate criminals have vulnerability to mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, along with an addiction problem. To curb this trend, it is essential to treat the root problems of substance abuse and mental illness by incorporating behavioral programs and treatment.
Dual diagnosis and repeat jail terms
Substance abuse is a common problem in American jails. One of the common reasons for serving jail sentences is crime committed while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or due to a person’s poor mental health condition. Many inmates serve jail time for crimes that are committed for raising money for their daily dose of drugs. On the other hand, some criminals have addictions that not only keep them unemployed but make them more prone to committing violent acts.
Studies have shown that co-occurring mental disorder and substance abuse are highly common in jail inmates. In fact, a lot of prisoners receive psychotropic medication, in conjunction with behavioral therapy, while serving their term. Inmates with coexisting conditions are more likely to serve longer prison times than those without any mental afflictions.
Some of the reasons why inmates with mental health problems and addictions spend longer term in jail are:
- Inability to follow strict rules of the prison because of the nature of their mental illness and addiction
- Loss of certain rights and privileges due to mental health condition
- Serious breaches of jail rules and regulations
Even in prisons where programs combining medical treatment along with rehabilitation, education and skill development are provided, it is seen that post release, convicts backslide to their previous state because most medical facilities are skeptical about providing assistance to ex-inmates.
Road to recovery
The number of people requiring assistance in the form of therapy or medication in a correctional setting is enormous. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), behavioral health counseling and medication, apart from spiritual help and scientology can aid recovery. But, it is important to ensure that therapy, counseling and medication continue even post release.
People suffering from dual diagnosis are likely to witness problems during the recovery phase due to the interplay between both the co-occurring diseases. This can further complicate the condition and increase the chance of witnessing negative consequences. Although dual diagnosis is a complex condition, some good dual diagnosis treatment centers in Florida can ensure faster recovery.
If you know someone who is suffering from co-existing problems of substance use disorder and a mental illness, the Florida Dual Diagnosis Helpline can assist you in finding the best possible treatments available at some of the finest dual diagnosis treatment centers in Florida. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-337-7631 or chat online for more information on dual diagnosis treatment in Florida.