Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Substance use disorder isn’t just a struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol. For many people, it’s also a struggle with unresolved mental health issues. Did you know that nearly six people out of every 10 with a substance abuse disorder also suffer from co-occurring mental illness? That makes it imperative that these conditions are discovered before beginning mental health or addiction treatment. Dual diagnosis recognizes the aspects of addiction that are related to mental health. When mental disorders are addressed through dual diagnosis treatment, it gives the patient a much better chance of overcoming addiction as well.

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is when a diagnosis for mental illness and addiction is made at the same time. Dual diagnosis conditions (also known as co-occurring disorders) can be very difficult to treat because of how closely various mental health problems and addiction are intertwined. If a person with dual diagnosis conditions tries to get solo treatment for a substance abuse disorder or mental illness, the treatments may not be effective. The overlapping symptoms of these conditions make it very difficult for them to be treated individually. That’s why dual diagnosis treatment is so important.

What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

If you have dual diagnosis conditions, the best choice is to complete an integrated program guided by medical professionals with dual diagnosis experience. When you go in for treatment of co-occurring disorders, you will generally start with an assessment. This helps doctors get information for treatment decisions. Substance abuse treatment plans are usually decided first. A plan for treating any co-occurring mental illness then follows.

Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

A dual diagnosis program can help you achieve lasting sobriety by treating both your substance use disorder and mental disorder. It’s difficult to gain control of either condition by treating only one at a time. The following are some of the main benefits of dual diagnosis treatment:

• Full psychiatric health assessment
• Learn how to cope with triggers
• Plan for the future
• Take advantage of counseling and peer support groups
• Get treatment of both your mind and body
• Focused care
• Education and understanding
• Normalization

Dual diagnosis treatment programs give you the benefit of a full assessment to identify any mental disorders that you might have. It also discovers the underlying psychological factors that contributed to your substance use disorder. Substance use often starts when a person uses drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Knowing the mental conditions that are causing you to self-medicate can help break the cycle of substance use and abuse.

Learning To Cope

Underlying psychiatric issues are primarily what drives substance use disorders. Certain triggers and stressors can lead you back to your substance of choice over and over again. Learning to cope can break this cycle and allow you to escape. A dual diagnosis program focuses on helping you recognize these triggers and formulate a plan to deal with them in the future.

Progress To The Future

Co-occurring disorders can make it very difficult to make any progress towards a better future. You might find it extremely hard to stay in school or hang on to a job when you’re struggling with substance abuse and mental issues on top of that. Getting help through a dual diagnosis program can give you the skills you need to cope with strong emotions and triggers that interfere with your daily life.

Peer Support and Personal Counseling

Counseling is an important part of treatment for substance use disorder. However, peer support is important as well as support from your loved ones. It helps you to understand that you’re not alone in your recovery.

Body and Mind Healing

Many quality dual diagnosis programs use various holistic treatments like massage therapy, mediation therapy, art therapy, yoga and nutritional counseling to help you recover in every area. These treatments can give you more balance and cultivate other interests that will keep you away from relapse.

Focused Care

It’s easier to get focused care when your care providers know what they’re treating. Dual diagnosis addresses substance use disorder as well as any co-occurring mental issues. Treating one condition and not the other is much less effective than treating both conditions at the same time. The overlapping symptoms between substance abuse and mental disorders are plentiful. In order to keep one condition from sabotaging treatment of the other condition, they need to be treated at the same time.


A holistic approach is important to someone with a dual diagnosis condition. They typically need a whole-body approach or the problems will flip-flop to other areas. When you enroll in a dual diagnosis program, your treatment providers will make a point to help you better understand your health conditions and how to treat them. Knowing what you’re struggling with is half the battle.


If you have co-occurring disorders, you might feel like you’re alone and wonder if anyone can help you. The truth is, it’s not rare at all to have a substance use disorder and a mental health issue. Not only that, but the way you struggle with the conditions is similar to how other people in the country struggle. Entering a treatment program for co-occurring disorders can expose you to the truth that many other people also have these issues.

Do You Have Co-Occurring Disorders?

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health finds that 9.5 million adults in the United States experienced co-occurring disorders in 2019. Though it’s often discussed that mental issues lead to substance abuse, it’s also possible for substance abuse to lead to mental issues. As mentioned previously, symptoms from co-occurring disorders often overlap. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have co-occurring disorders, take a look at the following:

• Withdrawal from loved ones
• Sudden behavioral changes
• Engaging in risky activities
• Developing tolerance for drugs or alcohol
• Needing drugs or alcohol to function
• Drastic mood swings
• Problems concentrating
• Losing interest in previous hobbies and activities

Most of these symptoms can come from either substance abuse or mental illness. For example, if you feel depressed, you might start socially isolating. People who are abusing drugs or alcohol also often socially isolate in order to hide their problem and to have more opportunity to do it. Another common shared symptom is losing the ability to function in normal life. If you can’t go to work, perform daily hygiene or remember to pick up your kids from school, it’s very likely that you have a mental condition or your use of substances has become problematic.

What’s Next?

Consider New Method Wellness for your treatment of co-occurring substance abuse and mental disorders. We are a qualified dual diagnosis facility with evidence-based programs and a range of holistic therapies. The first step is to come in for an assessment. Contact us today to find out more.

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