Dual Diagnosis Treatment | United Recovery

Dual Diagnosis

For many people who are dealing with a substance use problem, there may be an underlying mental health condition. Coping with alcohol or drug addiction can be incredibly hard, but with underlying anxiety, depression, or mental illness, the road to recovery becomes that much harder on your own.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of people with mental and substance use disorders went from 8.1 million in 2015 to 9.5 million in 2019. A mental and substance use disorder can trap you in a vicious cycle. Unfortunately, many people only attempt to address one part of the diagnosis, most often the substance abuse issue. It can mean poorer outcomes when they fail to address mental health concerns. One of the main ways to address this issue is through dual diagnosis treatment.

Dual diagnosis treatment is available to tackle addiction and the psychological difficulties limiting your ability to move forward.

United Recovery is a specialized medical and dual diagnosis treatment center helping you in the recovery process with tailored programs to support your long-term health and rehabilitation from addiction. The following guide looks at what dual diagnosis treatment entails and whether it is the proper form of therapy for your needs.

About Our Rehab Center

Our professional therapists will perform a complete assessment when you arrive at United Recovery for dual diagnosis treatment. This includes mental health and physical evaluation. As a specialized recovery and addiction rehab facility, we aim to help you every step of the way with tailored programs that suit your mental health condition and the severity of substance abuse and addiction.

Our professional and friendly staff will welcome you into our facility explain the treatment process so you can work towards your recovery and your well-being. We offer a wide range of treatment programs to assist with mental health disorders and substance use. These include individual and group therapies, including holistic programs that introduce self-care, positive coping mechanisms, and relapse prevention. We help you with the specialized care, treatment, and support that you need in recovery.

Getting Help for Dual Diagnosis

Understanding Dual Diagnosis

A person with a dual diagnosis has a psychological disorder and substance abuse problem. Various surveys show that these conditions can co-occur in many cases. Other terms for dual diagnosis include co-morbidity and co-occurring disorders. Rather than diagnosing a person with a single disorder, a medical professional provides a combined diagnosis. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, close to 50 percent of people with severe mental disorders also have an addiction problem.

The mental disorder that you suffer from can include mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, such as PTSD, or even psychotic symptoms. On the other hand, you may struggle with alcoholism, prescription drug abuse, or methamphetamine addiction. When such conditions occur together, the symptoms of each are worsened.

When you are affected by addiction and mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, or eating disorders, it makes the process of recovery that much more complicated. It can be hard to manage substance addiction such as alcohol or drug addiction on its own, but when you’re also facing a mental health illness or condition, it makes the struggle more challenging.

In a co-occurring disorder, the psychological condition and the substance addiction present with their own set of symptoms. These symptoms can negatively affect your ability to function normally, whether at school or your place of work. You may find it challenging to manage family life or impossible to deal with challenges and stress that come your way. It is also not uncommon to become withdrawn and feel that you cannot connect to other people.

If you do not seek treatment for co-occurring disorders, both conditions will continue to affect and influence each other negatively. A lack of therapy for mental health issues makes symptoms much worse, and a subsequent alcohol or drug addiction will worsen.

To help you live a balanced life where you can connect to others and feel as though you can cope with life and experience pleasure again, you need to find the proper treatment, including dual diagnosis treatment. Self-treatment is ineffective because you need professional rehabilitation and support to treat each disorder. United Recovery offers dual diagnosis treatment to help you live a rewarding and fulfilling life.

How Commonly It Occurs

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that about 17 million Americans struggled with mental disorders and substance abuse problems in 2020. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that almost 30 percent of people diagnosed with a mental illness also abuse some illicit substance, alcohol, or prescription medication. Dual diagnoses frequently co-occur because mental illness is a precursor to substance abuse, while substance abuse makes you vulnerable to psychological imbalances.

Symptoms of a Dual Diagnosis

There are no unique symptoms of a dual diagnosis. Rather, your mental health and substance abuse problem will have individual symptoms. Therefore, symptoms of a dual diagnosis depend on the substance you’re addicted to and the mental health issue you face.

Generally, you can expect to face the following symptoms as a result of your substance abuse problem:

  • Physical dependence
  • Tolerance towards the substance
  • Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Needing the substance to function
  • Withdrawal from family and friends

Meanwhile, the following symptoms can accompany a mental health disorder:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Frequent mood fluctuations
  • Inability to concentrate on everyday tasks
  • Confusion

You may also deal with strained relationships and an overall low quality of life.

Recognizing the Signs of Dual Diagnosis

  • Ongoing struggles with recovery from substance addiction despite treatments
  • A lack of satisfaction or pleasure with life when you are not using drugs or alcohol
  • You start using drugs and alcohol in the hope of feeling pleasure, happiness, or what you may consider at that stage “normal.”
  • You have a family history of mental health disease
  • You have experienced past trauma

Causes and Risk Factors

Some of the common risk factors of dual diagnosis are trauma and genetics. Trauma is the result of your environment, and it can lead to higher stress levels. In an attempt to cope with this stress, you may develop a substance abuse problem – this is called the self-medication hypothesis. Similarly, mental health disorders and substance abuse can run in the family. If people in your family have had the condition, it increases your susceptibility to developing it.

Of course, there’s also the likelihood that either substance abuse or a mental disorder causes the other. When you suffer from poor mental health, alcohol, and illicit substances can give you a boost of dopamine that temporarily quiets your intrusive thoughts. And if you develop a tolerance for a particular substance, your brain stops making neurotransmitters on its own. It increases your risk of developing a mental disorder often characterized by chemical imbalances in the brain.

While there’s no specific rule as to which causes the other, various studies show a connection between them.

How We Treat Dual Diagnoses

To treat dual diagnosis, every patient requires a complete medical assessment performed by our experienced therapists. We will first determine the nature and severity of psychological conditions, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, behavioral disorders, and co-occurring substance addiction. Because each condition interacts with and influences the other, an assessment can help create an individualized and effective treatment that gets to the root of the problem right from the start of therapy.

Types of Programs

Detox Program

Our detox program for includes withdrawal symptoms management, 24/7 medical supervision, as well as eventual substitute medication. We take into account any co-occurring illnesses (this includes mental health conditions and other addictions) and help you cleanse your body from all harmful addictive substances.

Detox Program

Residential Program

Our inpatient programs include on-site medical support, extensive cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies, one-to-one sessions and group sessions alike, as well as a number of holistic, alternative therapies. Although we pride ourselves on the 12-step method, we provide a number of alternatives for those who need a different aspect of the treatment approach.

Residential Program

Extended Rehab Program

Our extended rehabilitation includes a number of combined therapies and counseling sessions. You can agree upon an extended option once you are near to completing or have already completed your rehab. We also have an alumni network of supportive members who have also successfully completed our addiction rehabilitation program.

Extended Rehab Program

Why Choose United Recovery for Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

When you struggle with mental health and substance use disorders, it creates a perpetual cycle of unhappiness and an inability to help yourself or the ones you love. At United Recovery, we provide the support, the care, and the professional treatment you need to move forward and find true happiness and health again.

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Dual Diagnosis Treatment Process

When dealing with a dual diagnosis, one of the first steps is to help you cut back on your drug use. That’s because substance abuse can exacerbate symptoms of mental disorders, making it even harder to recover.

Detox From The Addictive Substance

To reduce the adverse effects of substance abuse, dual diagnosis treatment at luxury rehab will start with a detox process. Detox means reducing your intake of an addictive substance in a controlled environment under the supervision of medical professionals.

Trying to detox on your own and without medical assistance can be dangerous. This is especially true for alcoholism, as withdrawal symptoms can be severe enough to land you in the emergency room. Even if you’re addicted to other substances, the risk of overdosing is much higher after a relapse.

At in-patient rehab, medical professionals will ensure your body doesn’t experience adverse reactions to a lack of the substance. They also prevent withdrawal symptoms from getting severe in the first place.


You may require medication for two reasons during dual diagnosis treatment. First, to ease withdrawal symptoms, you may experience during detox. And second, to alleviate the symptoms of your mental health disorder. In some cases, your addiction and mental health specialist may prescribe a single medication for the treatment of both issues. One example is of FDA-approved drug bupropion, which can alleviate depressive symptoms as well as nicotine dependence.

Behavioral Therapy

Besides weaning off the drug, it’s important that you see a professional therapist. Most people with a dual diagnosis abuse substances in response to certain events, places, and even people – all of which are triggers. To help you cope with these triggers, your therapist will use behavioral techniques to alter your thinking process and, by extension, your behavior. Therefore, you’ll be better equipped to cope with triggering situations in a healthy and less-harmful way.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, often referred to as CBT, teaches you to change harmful thinking patterns. Meanwhile, dialectical behavioral therapy is effective at reducing the frequency of self-harm behaviors like suicidal thoughts and drug use.

In-Patient Care

When you struggle with a dual diagnosis, there’s a high likelihood that it will take a toll on your physical health as well. Substance abuse can increase your risk of malnutrition and deficiency-related diseases. Meanwhile, you may overeat or lose your appetite as a symptom of mental health disorders. A dual-diagnosis luxury rehab center will put you in touch with the in-patient care you need to start feeling healthier.

Continued Treatment

Part of continued treatment after leaving a rehab center involves attending support groups. Dealing with substance abuse and poor mental health can be isolating, so these groups help you realize that you’re not alone. Being part of a community can also encourage you to continue your journey toward recovery.

Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

You’re probably wondering why you can’t just seek treatment for one issue at a time. After all, addressing both issues may sound time-consuming and perhaps even costly. However, when you fail to address one of these concerns, you risk undoing all the progress you make. Suppose you receive treatment for substance abuse but not your anxiety. Later on, when you experience anxiety-inducing situations, you’re more likely to relapse as a result. Therefore, it’s best to seek dual diagnosis treatment from a reputable rehab center. Doing so will ensure the following benefits:

Improved Prognosis and Outcomes

When you address both addiction and mental illness at the same time, you have a higher chance of recovering. That’s because you’re addressing mental health symptoms, which you may take substances to cope with, and your body is no longer dependent on the substance. Even when you experience an urge to use, therapy allows you to channel that urge into something productive.

Better Mental Health

When you receive treatment for your mental health disorder, you’ll learn healthy coping skills and have a professional guiding you through unpleasant emotions. Moreover, no longer using a substance can allow your brain to start producing its own natural neurotransmitters. Therefore, you’ll no longer be dependent on taking substances to feel something.

Better Physical Health

Both substance abuse and mental health conditions can increase your risk of developing illnesses like nutritional deficiencies, liver issues, cardiovascular problems, and even gastrointestinal concerns. In-patient care involves giving you balanced meals, regular checkups, and necessary medication to help you feel healthier. After your treatment program, the rehab center will also put you in touch with a specialist in case you’re dealing with chronic conditions that need to be managed.

Enhanced Quality of Life

By receiving dual diagnosis treatment, you automatically start to know more about your condition. And understanding why you feel a certain way is the first step toward getting better. By effectively addressing your substance abuse and mental health disorder, you can get a fresh start and work on rebuilding your relationships.

Greater Commitment to Recovery

While it’s common to hear terms like ‘successful recovery,’ it’s important to remember that recovery isn’t a destination but a lifelong journey. When you have a history of mental illness and substance abuse, you need to ensure that you don’t fall back on your old habits. By getting dual diagnosis treatment, you can remain committed to recovery.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when you think about the benefits of dual diagnosis treatment. In the long run, it can have a positive effect on your relationships, academic progress, and career journey.

How Long Should I Attend Rehab for Dual Diagnosis?

The length of treatment for dual diagnosis will differ according to individual needs. For opiate addiction, it can take months up to a year to recover from dependence, but the process could take longer in combination with mental health conditions. Fortunately, every person is different, and we offer treatment to suit your unique situation and diagnosis. We believe that extended programs are best for those looking for recovery because it helps to address both the physical and the psychological cravings, struggles, and difficulties associated with addiction and mental health disease.

Therapies used to Treat Dual Diagnosis

The best treatment for dual diagnosis focuses on treating the underlying mental health condition, substance addiction, and overall health. At United Recovery, we offer our clients a wide range of treatments to support their recovery and rehabilitation.

Group Sessions

Group treatment includes group support and participation in the variety of group activities that we offer at the center. Our goal is to provide the help you need to recover for the long term.

Individual Sessions

Individual sessions are structured with the assistance of a certified and experienced therapist. This ensures that you are taught coping skills, ways of handling stress, and strategies to cope with substance addiction and mental health conditions. We offer behavioral and psychodynamic therapy with our friendly and certified counselors’ assistance.

Holistic Treatment

Holistic therapy involves alternative treatments such as chiropractor support and massage therapy so you can relax and focus on your recovery with us.

Expected Outcomes of the Treatment

Studies have found that dual diagnosis can lead to a variety of positive outcomes for a patient long after the end of their treatment period.

Higher Abstinence

One of the most common findings among researchers is that dual diagnosis treatment leads to higher abstinence from alcohol, drugs, and prescription medication with the potential for misuse. Studies proved that people who underwent treatment for both their mental health and substance abuse problems abstained from substances at a higher rate than people who only received substance abuse treatment.

Fewer Hospitalizations and Emergency Room Visits

In another study, researchers found that the number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits among people who received dual-diagnosis treatment was low. This was compared to people who only received treatment for one issue. Simply addressing substance abuse without improving a patient’s mental health does little to alleviate suicidal thoughts. Not to mention, when you’re unable to cope with intrusive thoughts or depressive feelings, the risk of relapse and consequent overdose is much higher.

Fewer Arrests

Studies show that there’s a high correlation between substance abuse and violent behavior. About three-quarters of people who begin substance abuse treatment report engaging in violent crimes. Similarly, some psychiatric conditions make you more likely to commit a crime. Therefore, getting adequate dual diagnosis treatment can help reduce the likelihood of engaging in such behavior later on.

Increased Financial and Housing Stability

A large number of people struggling with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders are exposed to housing instability. Reports by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show that people who receive dual diagnosis treatment experience increased housing stability. Not to mention, improved mental health also allows you to keep a stable job and support yourself financially.

Do You Need Help?

If you’re looking for help dual diagnosis – our team of experts will help you find the needed support.
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What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Someone who receives a dual diagnosis has a mental health disorder that coincides with a substance problem. This can include prescription, alcohol, and illicit drugs that co-occur with a mental disorder such as anxiety, depression, and even bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Approximately half of the individuals diagnosed with a mental health condition have a substance dependence that may occur at the onset of the state or a later stage in their lives. Because substance use and mental health problems can influence one another, it makes both conditions worse and increasingly hard to deal with.

Some of the most common dual diagnosis disorders include:

  • Depression and Cocaine Addiction.
  • Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Alcohol Abuse.
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Opioid Addiction.
  • Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol.
  • Schizophrenia and Marijuana Addiction.
  • Eating Disorders and Appetite Suppressants

There are many mental health or psychological conditions that can co-occur, complicating the treatment process for both mental illness and substance addiction. It is essential to understand that while these conditions can exist simultaneously, neither may be responsible for the other.

Many factors come into play, including the fact that the use of certain drugs such as opiates can change the function of the brain, which increases the risk of developing a mental health disorder.

Mental health conditions can also increase the risk of using substances to feel better, even temporarily. Prescription medication for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and even chronic pain can also increase the probability of using alcohol and drugs.

Recovering from Dual Diagnosis

In 2017, it was estimated that more than 8.5 million people were suffering from a co-occurring disorder. These astronomical numbers mean that millions of people and their families continue to suffer in the cycle of addiction and mental health problems.

Recovery from dual diagnosis can be difficult but not impossible. We can help you with aftercare programs and group support when you enter our recovery program.

Aftercare programs are meant to help you when you need therapy and treatment after you have completed a rehabilitation program. This includes access to treatment and the chance to practice the skills and tools you’ve been taught while you adjust to everyday life.

Support groups are vital in the recovery process, and as a 12 step facility, we believe in the value and encouragement that are support groups can provide for our clients.

Learn More About Our Aftercare Program

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do all rehabs offer dual diagnosis help?

No, not every rehabilitation center offers dual diagnosis treatment, and therefore, it is crucial to receive the professional assistance you need with our specialized team at United Recovery.

What is the dual diagnosis model of treatment?

Dual diagnosis focuses on treating the underlying mental health condition and substance use. Individual and group therapies are provided based on individual assessment.

How to Find Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Near Me?

You can speak to the United Recovery team for more information on treatment options.

Does Insurance Pay for Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Please speak to your insurance provider to determine whether they provide cover for dual diagnosis treatment.

What are the most common conditions with a dual diagnosis?

Conditions frequently associated with dual diagnosis include anxiety, depression, behavioral disorders such as ADHD, and eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia.

Do you treat dual diagnosis?

Yes, we have specialized therapists and treatment options for dual diagnosis patients.

How long is the treatment for dual diagnosis?

The treatment will depend on individual factors and circumstances. Our professionals can help you with the duration of treatment.

What does dual diagnosis treatment include?

Treatment starts with a detox to wean you off the addictive substance, which is followed by medication, behavioral therapy, and in-patient care.

What causes a dual diagnosis?

The most common risk factors of dual diagnosis include trauma, genetics, and stress. Having a mental disorder can increase your risk of substance abuse. Similarly, excessive use of substances can increase the likelihood of developing mental disorders.

What are the benefits of dual diagnosis treatment?

Dual diagnosis improves your physical and mental health, makes you committed to recovery, and improves your quality of life.

How common is a dual diagnosis in the US?

In 2020, about 12 million adults struggled with a co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorder.

Do You Need Help?

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