What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?When an individual suffers from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder simultaneously, they are said to have a dual diagnosis. Often, untreated or improperly treated mental health issues lead individuals to become addicted to drugs, and conversely, many drug addiction problems lead to the development of mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and even schizophrenia. Depending on the nature of individual’s specific situation, either the mental health disorder or the substance abuse problem may have developed first.  


Common Symptoms for Dual Diagnosis Patients

Patients suffering from co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders often experience symptoms including:

  • Unexplained changes in behavior
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and regular activities
  • Feeling like they need a drug to function
  • Extreme mood swings or sudden outbursts
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Engaging in risky activities when high on drugs or alcohol


How Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Work

Much like regular treatment for addiction, individuals with a dual diagnosis usually need to undergo medical detox and rehabilitation at an addiction treatment center. During medical detoxification, patient will be under medical supervision, they often will slowly taper off the drug they were using or its medical alternative in order to reduce the most intense symptoms of withdrawal. Additionally, they may be prescribed other drugs that can specifically help treat the symptoms of their mental health disorder.

After completing medical detox, patients can then receive treatment therapies to learn the life skills and coping techniques to change their thought patterns and addictive behaviors. Throughout the duration of the rehabilitation program, they will work with other patients, counselors, teachers, and alumni in order to develop the skills to live a sober life.

During this process, they will usually get some type of psychotherapeutic treatment, from a therapist or psychologist, which often will include cognitive behavioral therapy, a theory of care that many professionals have found particularly effective at treating dual diagnosis patients.


Get Dual Diagnosis Treatment for a Coexisting Disorder at an Accredited Drug Treatment Center

Facing a mental health issue and a substance use disorder simultaneously can be an overwhelming challenge, and without professional help, it may be difficult or impossible to attain long term sobriety from alcohol and drugs.

At Get Treatment, we understand how important it is to find an addiction treatment center that sees you as an individual– not just a number. Our top rated, accredited addiction recovery centers will help you regain your mental, physical, and emotional health with a combination of traditional and alternative therapies tailored to your specific needs.

With medical detox, inpatient, outpatient, and sober living programs available, we can help you find a second home for every stage of your recovery process.

To learn more, call 855-638-9268 today.



Erica Loret de Mola


Erica Loret de Mola is a communications major who has been writing about addiction treatment for approximately three years. As content manager and editor in chief of Get Treatment, she strives to provide the most accurate and current information available to our clients.


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