Dual Diagnosis and Alcohol-Related Offenses

Dual Diagnosis and Alcohol-Related Offenses

Whether or not we care to admit it, there’s always a rush to judgment whenever someone is charged with an alcohol-related offense. To police and prosecutors, the person who has been charged is simply a criminal who should be punished. In the court of public opinion, someone charged with DUI or DWI is often viewed as reckless, irresponsible, or worse.

Our approach

At Kans Law Firm, we prefer to reserve judgment until we learn the whole story – and then we act accordingly. This approach is based not only on our extensive experience as criminal defense lawyers specializing in DUI and DWI cases, but also on our understanding that clients facing these charges are people whose choices got them into trouble.

To provide the best possible representation for our clients in these cases, we must determine:

1) If they were actually driving under the influence of alcohol when they were stopped, and if so;

2) Why they chose to drink and drive.

Often, this assessment reveals there were other factors at play.

What is dual diagnosis?

Just because someone drinks a lot doesn’t mean they have a mental illness. And just because someone has a mental illness doesn’t mean they’ll drink too much.

In some cases, however, someone who is struggling with mental illness will use alcohol or other substances to alleviate or mask the symptoms.  In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates 33 percent of people struggling with alcohol abuse also suffer from a mental illness.

The determination that someone suffering from a mental illness is also misusing alcohol or drugs is called a dual diagnosis.

When someone has a dual diagnosis, the symptoms of alcoholism and a mental illness often compound one another. As a result, any alcohol consumption can influence their emotional health and vice versa. When unaddressed, simultaneous mental illness and alcohol dependency can quickly worsen, resulting in poor decision-making and behavior.

Alcohol misuse and mental illness

People who abuse alcohol may also suffer from:

How each of these conditions influences alcoholism is contingent on the duration and severity of the disorder.

Manifestation of co-occurring alcoholism and mental illness

Of course, everyone is different, so people grappling with alcoholism and a mental illness may not always have the same symptoms. Having said that, here are some common warning signs:

Within this context, it is important to note that people grappling with dual diagnosis are often ashamed or embarrassed. As a result, they may be reluctant to discuss what’s going on, and defensive if confronted.

Even son, early intervention in these cases is key to meaningful recovery. Therefore, it is essential to get advice and assistance from a qualified professional when addressing these issues.

A DUI or DWI arrest as a wakeup call

For a client who is suffering from a mental illness and abusing alcohol, being charged with DUI or DWI may serve as a much-needed wakeup call. Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, it may also be an opportunity to get some help.

Here are potential treatment options:

Caring, compassionate attorneys who will fight for you

At the Kans Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys are fully equipped and ready to fight for your rights. Not only are they well versed in Minnesota’s DWI and DUI laws but they are also familiar with the criminal justice system.

This is crucial because a DWI or DUI conviction can have lasting consequences. In addition to resulting in the potential loss of your driver’s license, being found guilty of a drunk driving charge could also affect your job and other aspects of your life.

If you are struggling with alcoholism and a mental illness, you have even more at stake, so don’t leave anything to chance. Contact us today.

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In Post Image Credit: Tumisu  / Pixabay