Background: There is a need to evaluate the professionals' perception about the consequences of the lack of therapeutic adherence in the evolution of patients with co-occurring disorders.
Methods: An online survey, released on the Socidrogalcohol [Spanish Scientific Society for Research on Alcohol, Alcoholism and other Drug Addictions] and Sociedad Española de Patología Dual [the Spanish Society of Dual Pathology] web pages, was answered by 250 professionals who work in different types of Spanish health centers where dual diagnosis patients are assisted.
Results: Most professionals perceived the existence of noncompliance among dual diagnosis patients. Almost all of these professionals (99%) perceived that noncompliance leads to a worsening of the progression of the patient's disorder, in both the exacerbation of mental disorders and the consumption of addictive substances. Most of the professionals (69.2%) considered therapeutic alliance as the main aspect to take into account to improve the prognosis in this population. The primary purpose of treatment must be the improvement of psychotic-phase positive symptoms, followed by the control of behavior disorders, reduction of craving, improvement of social and personal performances, and reduction of psychotic-phase negative symptoms.
Conclusion: Most professionals perceived low adherence among dual diagnosis patients. This lack of adherence is associated with a worsening of their disease evolution, which is reflected in exacerbations of the psychopathology and relapse in substance use. Therefore, we propose to identify strategies to improve adherence.
Keywords: decompensation; dual diagnosis; noncompliance; professionals’ perception; relapse.