Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

Dual Diagnosis related to

Mental Health and Dual-Diagnosis

Receiving a dual diagnosis can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. A dual diagnosis is defined as having a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder concurrently. These disorders often go hand in hand, but they don’t have to. It is important to know what your mental health needs are first or at the same time as addressing any addiction issues.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis refers to when someone suffers from two or more conditions at the same time. Co-existing mental illnesses are very common, particularly for people abusing drugs and alcohol. There are different reasons why a person becomes addicted to substances. Some people start using it in response to a difficult or traumatic experience they have difficulty processing. This is called self-medicating. Other people develop the symptoms of mental illnesses like depression or anxiety as a result of abusing substances for a prolonged period of time.

Dual Diagnosis is a term that refers to the simultaneous presence of mental and substance use disorders. The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) defines dual diagnosis as a “clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual who has a clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, educational, or other important areas of functioning.”

A person suffering from a dual diagnosis may have difficulty managing their symptoms with conventional treatment approaches. They may have more success with an integrated approach that addresses both the mental and physical health aspects of their condition and is able to treat both diagnoses simultaneously. Some of the treatment options for dual diagnosis include:

  1. Psychotherapy – Psychotherapy is a long-term, comprehensive approach that can help a person recognize and control their symptoms while helping them learn coping skills to be successful in managing their condition. Some types of psychotherapy that have been found to be effective are dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
  2. Medication – Medication is another approach that can help a person control their symptoms and maintain stability of emotions. Some medications used to treat dual diagnosis are antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antianxiety medication.
  3. Group Therapy – Group therapy offers another route for self-exploration and acceptance through the support and encouragement of others with similar struggles. Group therapy is extremely effective in helping individuals understand their diagnoses and learn tools to manage their symptoms. 
  4. Another option for people with dual diagnoses is the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as meditation, yoga, art therapy, and othersComplementary and alternative therapies are more often used in conjunction with prescription medication and traditional psychotherapy. 

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The Pros of Dual-Diagnosis

The Benefits of Receiving Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

As mentioned, dual diagnosis treatment is the simultaneous treatment of both a mental health disorder like generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder as well as a substance use disorder. It is important to note that this type of treatment is not always available, as it requires specialized programs for both disorders.

The benefits of dual diagnosis treatment can be seen in the following ways:

  • More effective than treating one condition at a time.
  • Helps reduce addiction relapse rates.
  • Provides people with the opportunity to address the underlying issues that may be leading to or exasperating substance use issues. 
  • Helps individuals learn positive coping skills in order to live a healthier, happier life.
  • Helps people feel better about their diagnoses.
  • Helps people develop increased autonomy and self-esteem while providing them with support to manage their daily stressors and symptoms.

What to Expect From Dual Diagnosis Treatment

It is very important for each person entering rehab to be fully evaluated and assessed. This is to get a detailed picture of their physical, mental, and emotional health so that a personalized program can be devised for their individual needs. During this assessment, which is generally the first step of admission, physicians, clinicians and therapists will determine through discussion and examination if the person is dual diagnosis.

In order for addiction rehabilitation to be successful, it is important to determine what drives substance abuse in an individual. In some cases, it can be PTSD, depression, or panic disorder that is driving a person to use drugs and/or alcohol. In other cases, a person may never have suffered any mental health issues but was driven to substance abuse by other factors such as genetics, familial circumstances or high-stress levels.

Individual and group therapy is a vital component of dual diagnosis treatment because they serve to open lines of honest communication in a secure environment. Much of the challenge of overcoming dual diagnosis lies in understanding how your co-existing mental illnesses interplay with each other. In rehab, the focus of therapy is on unraveling the complex relationship between two health conditions to allow you to seize back control.


What Dual Diagnosis Means for Achieving Successful Recovery 

As mentioned, the term dual diagnosis refers to the co-occurrence of a mental health condition with a substance use disorder. It is estimated that almost 50% of people who have a mental health disorder sometime in their life are likely to also have a substance use disorder.

Achieving successful recovery can be difficult for those who suffer from co-occurring disorders as they are more likely to relapse and experience poorer outcomes than those who do not suffer from both conditions.

In order to achieve successful recovery, it is important for people with dual diagnoses to seek treatment for both conditions simultaneously at an intensive treatment program, usually an inpatient or outpatient facility. This ensures that the person has access to the necessary treatment and support services, such as detox, intensive outpatient programs, or residential rehabilitation programs depending on their unique needs.

How is Dual-Diagnosis Treated?

A common example of dual-diagnosis is someone who suffers from both addiction and depression or anxiety as there is a very strong correlation between the two. However, from a treatment perspective, it is not enough to identify two conditions; rather it needs to be identified which one came first. In terms of substance abuse, there are two routes to becoming a dual-diagnosis patient:


  • You started to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate the symptoms of a mental health condition such as depression; or
  • You developed anxiety or depression as a direct result of substance abuse as it very often triggers other conditions

The way Casa Recovery identifies the specific issues a dual-diagnosis person faces is by comprehensive evaluation and assessment. The most effective treatment path is recognized as addressing both health conditions separately but at the same time. This is due to the relationship between the two conditions and the fact that they are very likely to continue to drive one another without intervention.

A Top Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center in Orange County, CA

If you use alcohol or drugs to help ease your depression or anxiety or feel increasingly depressed after using, you have the symptoms of dual diagnosis.

Casa Recovery is a top-rated dual diagnosis rehab center in Southern California. It offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs and a sophisticated clinical team to meet the needs of every client. Casa Recovery also has a long list of amenities that include:

  • Serene, peaceful environment
  • Onsite psychiatry services 
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Residential inpatient programs
  • Holistic treatment services 
  • Experiential group therapies

Casa Recovery offers customized mental health programs that address both health conditions in dual-diagnosis cases. Our top mental health treatment center in Orange County offers a tranquil environment where you can focus on getting better. We offer treatment programs that are fully tailored to your specific needs. Find out more about treating dual-diagnosis by contacting Casa Recovery in confidence today.


Our Care Team is Ready to Answer Any Questions.

Casa Recovery offers a wide range of treatment options for those struggling with mental health and co-occurring issues. We are here for you and ready to assist in any way we can. Contact us right now to get the help you deserve from a group of people who care.