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Dual Diagnosis Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

Dual diagnosis treatment centers provide proper rehabilitation for people with a psychological disorder and a substance abuse issue condition. It is also known as a co-occurring disorder.

  • Find access to dual diagnosis programs nationwide here.

It can include bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, etc. Studies have shown nearly 37% of alcohol abusers, and over 50% of drug addicts suffer from one mental health condition.

  • Both conditions must receive proper treatment.

It refers to a program that provides therapy that addresses both substance abuse and psychiatric conditions. This area of addiction medicine has been growing in popularity. It is a more comprehensive, practical approach.

Most experts believe in the importance of treating both conditions as the best way to find recovery. Treating both conditions is more effective in long-term recovery.

Residential facilities are more effective for treating co-occurring disorders than those that do not deal with mental health for several reasons, including:

  • Therapy focuses on the underlying causes behind addiction and mental health conditions.
  • It focuses on both issues at the same time. It is more effective in the long run.
  • Patients are more likely to reach a long-lasting recovery without relapse.
  • A comprehensive approach offers clients additional tools to work with to recover from relapses more quickly if they do happen.

Therefore, the facility must have doctors and therapists on staff who can treat both.

Rehab is most effective using evidence-based therapies. Evidenced-based practices use a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, family counseling, and community-oriented support groups.

The best therapy consists of various techniques for both mental illness and substance abuse. It should help the client develop hope, knowledge, and skills to manage their conditions better.

Properly trained therapists can help patients realize the destructive role of alcohol and drugs in their lives. In addition, they need to learn alcohol and drugs can exacerbate their psychiatric disorder.

The best programs offer various counseling and cognitive therapy programs to address each patient’s specific needs.

Alcohol or drug abuse can cause similar behaviors that often mimic actual psychiatric conditions. Because these symptoms are so tightly intertwined, it is vital for anyone with mental illness and substance abuse problems to get treatment at an inpatient facility.

  • Nearly 44 million Americans experience some mental health disorder
  • 50% of individuals diagnosed with psychiatric disorders are affected by substance abuse
  • 40% of people diagnosed with alcoholism have at least one mental health condition

When addicts with schizophrenia or subtypes abuse alcohol and or drugs, their mental illness tends to be more severe than it would be if they were not addicted to any substances.

To determine if hallucinations and delusional thinking are mental illnesses, patients entering a rehab center must undergo detoxification before a co-occurring disorder diagnosis is correct.


It is a severe medical condition that can result in many people self-medicating to alleviate the symptoms or help manage their condition. Unfortunately, when this happens, and they become addicted, it is a co-occurring disorder.

  • Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from depression.

Severe depression, bipolar depression, and mania are considered mood disorders. When a mood disorder continues affecting an addict following detoxification, they will likely receive a co-occurring disorder diagnosis.


General treatment guidelines for addressing addiction and mental illness often involve the following principles and protocols:

  • Developing and utilizing a therapeutic alliance to help fully engage patients in treatment
  • Maintaining a perspective that emphasizes recovery and a goal-oriented future
  • Monitoring psychiatric symptoms through empathetic, supportive counseling methods
  • Providing motivational support consistent with the patient’s stage in recovery
  • Using cognitive behavioral therapy and relapse prevention techniques
  • Facilitating patient participation in group therapy

Features of the recovery perspective found in integrated treatments for co-occurring disorders include acknowledging the long-term, internal process of recovering from an addiction and understanding how recovery progresses in stages that happen over the patient’s lifetime.

Neither addiction nor mental illness is curable, but they are manageable. Integrated aftercare services need to be in a recovering addict’s treatment plan to address emerging physical and mental issues on an ongoing basis.

In addition to medical care and psycho-therapeutic counseling, patients may benefit from holistic therapies involving creative, spiritual, and nature-oriented activities.

Also essential to an aftercare support program for addicts with co-occurring disorders are medications for controlling the mental illness symptoms that previously contributed to their addictive behaviors.

Since many substance abusers with mental illnesses or personality disorders turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication, case managers need to be aware of the importance of taking medications as prescribed to their clients in treatment.

These medications are necessary for managing mental health disorders to remain free from drugs or alcohol that might otherwise be a coping tool.

To make full use of a facility, a person must meet the criteria of having an apparent and diagnosable mental health disorder, as defined by the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Secondly, the person also needs to have a precise diagnosis of alcohol abuse or drug abuse as defined by the same manual listed above.

If only one of these criteria is present, an individual can still go to a treatment facility. Still, they will not meet the criteria of having a dual diagnosis and will only be for one of the issues – addiction or mental health.

A co-occurring disorder indicates a drug or alcohol addiction with more mental health illnesses.

Many addicts have personality disorders that make them more likely to adopt drug-seeking behaviors. In addition, personality disorders can severely impair an addict’s ability to maintain employment, engage in healthy relationships, exert proper impulse control and recognize abnormal thinking patterns.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders categorizes personality disorders in clusters:

  • Cluster A includes schizoid and paranoid personalities
  • Cluster B has borderline, narcissistic, and antisocial personalities
  • Cluster C includes avoidant, obsessive-compulsive, and dependent personalities

The prevalence of personality disorders among substance abusers is exceptionally high that most integrated treatments for co-occurring diseases focus on patients with antisocial and borderline conditions.

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