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What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Drug addiction is a complex disease in the fact there isn’t one all-encompassing factor that leads one to substance use. Each addict is unique because they have multiple underlying factors that led them to drug and alcohol addiction. One of the most common underlying factors in addiction is a condition known as dual diagnosis. It is challenging for those with dual diagnosis disorders to find treatment, and they often require specialized care.


Like many people, you may not be aware of dual diagnosis as a condition. You may have heard the term, but may have little knowledge of what it is and how it affects the life of an addict. This article will explain what dual diagnosis is and the common disorders associated with dual diagnosis. You will also learn about dual diagnosis therapy and where to find treatment for dual diagnosis in South Florida. Call Atlantic Recovery today if you have further questions about this complex condition or need help.


What Does Dual Diagnosis Mean?

What exactly is dual diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis occurs when someone has a mental illness that co-occurs with substance abuse issues. While mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are prevalent in those dealing with drug addiction, dual diagnosis can also occur in those people who have “process” addictions such as gambling addiction, food addiction, and sex addiction. The difficulty with dual diagnosis is uncovering whether the mental illness or the substance abuse came first.


You may be shocked to learn that dual diagnosis is a common underlying factor in the development of drug and alcohol addiction. It is estimated that 45 percent of Americans have a dual diagnosis. Additionally, 1 in 4 Americans will experience a significant mental health issue in their lifetime. It is also important to note that an estimated 23 percent of young adults in the United States have a dual diagnosis disorder.


In your research, you may have noticed that the term co-occurring disorder is often used and considered as being one and the same with dual diagnosis. While both terms refer to the same condition, they are different in terms of the diagnosis. Co-occurring disorders occur when a person’s mental illness leads them to use drugs and alcohol in order to cope with their condition. On the other hand, dual diagnosis occurs when the underlying conditions show substance abuse is the core underlying issue, but a person will have separate diagnoses of addiction and mental illness.


No matter the root cause, people with this condition need specialized treatment for dual diagnosis.


What are Common Dual Diagnosis Disorders?

When people enter dual diagnosis therapy, they can have a variety of co-occurring disorders. While many people who enter a dual diagnosis program have one mental illness along with their addiction issues, it is possible that some may have more than one mental illness they experience. The following are the most common dual diagnosis disorders seen in dual diagnosis therapy:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia


The development of these disorders can be the result of a family history of mental illness and substance abuse, brain injury, or past unresolved trauma, among other factors. If you or a loved one is dealing with a dual diagnosis, you must seek help from a reputable dual diagnosis treatment center.


What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

In many ways, dual diagnosis treatment is an effective combination of both addiction and mental health treatment. These specialized programs feature a fully integrated model where clients are screened for both substance abuse as well as mental illness. People who come to a dual diagnosis treatment center receive intensive medical and therapeutic care that addresses their mental illness and their substance abuse disorder (SUD). Addiction treatment staff works alongside mental health professionals in creating an individualized treatment program specifically tailored to meet the clients’ specific needs and goals.


Dual diagnosis therapy programs are created by experienced, Masters-level researchers. Before being utilized, dual diagnosis treatment programs are subjected to rigorous testing and are administered by high-level clinicians. These programs include traditional levels of care such as medical and individual, group and family therapy. These therapy programs offer anger and anxiety management, grief counseling, art and music therapy, animal therapy, and life skills training. Because of the complexity of this condition, treatment for dual diagnosis includes aftercare programs that focus on the following:

  • Continued substance abuse and mental health counseling
  • 12-step support
  • Sober living
  • Mental health residencies
  • Continued coping skills training


How to Find Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs Near Me

Dual diagnosis is a serious condition that requires immediate professional intervention. If you are in need of dual diagnosis therapy programs, call Atlantic Recovery today. We provide effective dual diagnosis treatment that is evidence-based and personalized to meet your exact needs. Our experienced and compassionate staff will work with you during and after your stay to ensure that you have the tools and support you need to manage your dual diagnosis disorders effectively. Our goal is to help you live a meaningful and long life in recovery.

Take that first step and call Atlantic Recovery today for addiction treatment in South Florida.