Dual diagnosis treatment

What is dual diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is the process of identifying concurrent conditions including addiction, eating disorders and psychological concerns including anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. In certain cases, the agony and alienation caused by a mental condition can spur an individual to turn to substance abuse, or attempt to regain control of their lives by strictly regulating their weight. These are just a few examples of the complex ways in which these self-destructive behaviors can interact, and the results are often devastating. 

In overlooking additional conditions that may contribute to an addiction or eating disorder, many treatment centers unwittingly do a disservice to their patients, potentially increasing the risk of relapse later on. The only way to fully recover from co-occurring conditions is to take an integrative approach to treatment that chips away at all of the chemical dependencies and distorted perceptions that can so seamlessly drive patients to hurt themselves and their loved ones, both physically and emotionally.

A Unique Approach. Proven Results

It is rare that any self-destructive condition, be it addiction or an eating disorder, exists all on its own.

The human mind is a complex thing. So many of the choices we make every day are fueled by biological and chemical processes we are completely oblivious to, not to mention our emotional drive. As such, it is rare that any self-destructive condition, be it addiction or an eating disorder, exists all on its own. Often, these conditions are closely linked to psychological disorders or past trauma that requires the attention of qualified medical health professionals to identify and address.

Too often though, treatment centers in Florida approach self-destructive behaviors as if they are isolated issues. This, paired with the fact that it is simply easier to choose one straightforward label to describe and understand someone’s suffering, means that far too many patients miss out on the support they so dearly need.

Dual diagnosis is a combination of substance addiction and mental illness. Even though these disorders can be approached separately, their close relation makes the dual diagnosis treatment possible.

When a person is diagnosed with a mental illness and an addiction, it’s possible to address both conditions simultaneously because one of them often leads to another and vice versa.

Patients with co-occurring disorders are difficult to treat because it’s hard to establish where symptoms are coming from. When a person with dual diagnosis has an mental illness or eating disorder, it’s tough to understand the cause. Medical professionals need to discover the underlying cause and treat it accordingly.

Dual Diagnosis Signs and Symptoms

Co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders can vary depending on the type of addiction and the type of mental illness involved. Some of the warning signs that may point to the need for a dual treatment are:

  • An acute need for alcohol and drugs to feel normal
  • Problems with holding on to a job or maintaining a relationship
  • Struggling to meet social obligations
  • Feeling of isolation
  • Erratic behavior
  • Depression and anxiety when stopping substance use
  • Financial and legal problems related to substance abuse
  • Neglecting physical health and ignoring hygiene.
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Taking unjustifiable risks
  • Quick weight gain or loss
  • Sleeping pattern changes

Dual diagnosis patients are at a high risk of violent behavior and suicide. That’s why it’s important to seek medical help as soon as any of the above symptoms are discovered.  

Co-Occurring Disorders Are Common

According to National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), about 20 percent of people with a substance abuse problem have at least one mood disorder and 18 percent suffer from at least one independent anxiety disorder.

According to the Surgeon General’s report in 2016, out of 20.8 million people over the age of 12, who struggle with a substance abuse disorder, 41.2% have a mental illness.

Further, according to a report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, about 29% of people diagnosed with a mental illness have an alcohol or drug abuse problem.

These studies show that mental illnesses and addictions go hand in hand. It’s a common problem, which needs to be addressed timely and simultaneously.

Mental Health Disorders That Pair Up with Addictions

Mental health disorders that people suffering from various addictions usually face are:

Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment

In the past, there were separate treatments for mental illnesses and addiction. Today, we know that co-occurring disorders must be addressed together since they influence one another. Keep in mind that:

  • Treating one disorder won’t cause the other to improve automatically.
  • Parallel treatments don’t come together to become a single effective solution.
  • Lastly, most drug rehabs aren’t equipped to handle dual diagnosis patients.

The treatment plan for co-occurring conditions involves behavior therapies, medication, and support groups, involving patients with similar issues. It’s vital to stop using drugs and alcohol as soon as possible for the treatment to be effective.

During the treatment, health professionals give both disorders the same level of attention. They address them as chronic conditions that require long-term support.

Do I Need Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

If you suffer from mental health and substance abuse disorders simultaneously, you may need integrated treatment. It’s imperative to avoid parallel treatment options and seek professional assistance for co-occurring disorders.

With the right treatment, you can address both problems at the same time, improving the chances of recovery substantially. Only a treatment center equipped to handle both conditions can provide the necessary care. For more information about dual diagnosis treatment options, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.



If you are ready to discuss treatment for yourself or a loved one, the Fairwinds admissions team is here to help.

Contact Us Here

CD Contact Us