Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment

Dual Diagnosis Addiction


What is dual diagnosis, and how does it work? Many people who suffer from addiction don’t understand that there may be underlying challenges they’re facing. If someone who has a mental illness or has experienced emotional distress also has a substance abuse problem, that refers to dual diagnosis.

Living through either substance abuse or mental health disorders can be frustrating enough, but going through both at the same time can be extraordinarily challenging. The presence of an ongoing mental health issue or mental disorder can make getting sober and staying sober feel impossible.

If you are seeking out treatment or wondering why addiction treatment hasn’t worked in the past, consider the possibility of a co-occurring mental health concern. You may genuinely have far less control over your experiences with addiction than you may have believed in the past. If you’re looking for help for someone you love, consider the possibility of dual diagnosis.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is the event of diagnosing substance abuse disorder or alcohol misuse disorder along with a mental disorder. To do this, trained medical professionals, psychiatrists look to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to ensure that they are properly diagnosing mental health disorders.

It is even possible that the psychiatric disorder is the primary source of concern or the root cause of substance abuse. If the substance abuse stops and then other symptoms remain, it’s likely that the psychiatric disorder was behind the addiction. Mental health professionals look at four primary criteria before determining a diagnosis for a psychiatric disorder in dual diagnosis situations.

These criteria address similar issues that many people in addiction have experienced. One requirements is that the symptoms are excessive when considering the level of abuse. In other words, addiction isn’t slow-creeping for people with outstanding mental health challenges. People engaging in substance abuse that also have mental health issues fall into addiction hard and fast.

Another requirement for dual diagnosis is that the person has a history of challenges that don’t relate to the substance abuse. or that they should have exhibited symptoms of the psychiatric disorder when sober or before they began using.

One of the criteria is that symptoms should have been present before the substance abuse started. But, there is debate about the correlation between mental disorders and substance abuse.  In other words, it is a chicken-and-egg situation, doctors can’t agree on which came first.

A psychiatric disorder could lead to substance abuse. But, substance abuse can also lead to the various mental disorders.

Dual diagnosis can combine substance abuse disorder, or alcohol misuse disorder, with different types of psychiatric disorders.  Many people experiencing addiction have also gone through trauma. People often learn during recovery that they have anxiety disorders, or mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, and they did not know they had these conditions.

Who Suffers from Dual Diagnosis?

A handful of cursory studies show a few things about who suffers most from Dual diagnosis. It is estimated that about 25% of adults that have a mental illness also have some type of substance abuse disorder.  Another survey estimates that about half of the people who have used drugs or alcohol also experience or suffer from some type of mental illness.

 If you’re looking at ways to enter recovery but are worried that there may be other elements to address, then a rehabilitation center that offers dual diagnosis is probably your best bet. You may have experienced depression in the past or noticed anxiety when you’re sober, and these could be indicators that you’re also suffering from an undiagnosed psychiatric disorder.

Many of those who suffer from Dual diagnosis have been in and out of treatment centers. They may have a good time where their addiction and their mental illness is generally well-kept or in check. Then, thanks take a turn, and the addiction spirals, and the mental illness rears its head. We know that those who experience mental illness are more susceptible to addiction, it could be innate, or it could be an intentional method of self-medicating.

What are the Different Types of Dual


Dual diagnosis works in a few ways, and there are three primary types of dual diagnosis. These different types sort out which came first, the addiction or the trauma. They also address which is the more pressing matter. If addiction is a symptom of the trauma or the mental health issue, then it’s possible that getting to the root of the mental disorder or trauma. Addressing the mental health challenge can lessen the degree of addiction.

What are the Different Types of Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis works in a few ways, and there are three primary types of dual diagnosis. These different types sort out which came first, the addiction or the trauma. They also address which is the more pressing matter. If addiction is a symptom of the trauma or the mental health issue, then it’s possible that getting to the root of the mental disorder or trauma. Addressing the mental health challenge can lessen the degree of addiction.

Addiction and Depression

There’s a close link between mental health disorders and addiction. Specifically, about 50% of people that have a mental disorder have also struggled with substance use.  This type of dual diagnosis focuses on the connection between addiction and depression where one likley lead to the other but it’s unclear which came first.

Depression can lead many people toward drugs or alcohol as an attempt to ease the burdens of depression. But, many drugs also create depression. It might be impossible for a psychiatrist to pick apart which came first in the scenario, but it’s evident that these are somewhat connected issues.

Addiction and Trauma or PTSD

The next type of dual diagnosis is a combination of addiction and trauma. This particular type of dual diagnosis can work in two ways. Trauma often leads to addiction.  Anyone who experienced childhood trauma is at a much higher risk of developing an addiction later in life. However, addiction can also lead to trauma.

For example, a person who survived a horrendous car crash may have PTSD, and they may have been put on addictive painkillers at a time when they were emotionally and mentally vulnerable. The PTSD from the accident could have made them more susceptible to addiction and led to the addiction when, in other situations, they would not have developed a dependency to the painkillers.

Many people suffering from addiction don’t want to admit the trauma they’ve suffered as a result of that addiction. It’s possible that when drunk or high, they engaged in risky financial behavior, sexual trauma, and physical trauma. Some treatment centers even focus on particular types of trauma Associated and dual diagnosis.

Addiction and Anxiety


Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness and it often leads to people to attempt to self-medicate. People that have general anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder will often turn to alcohol or drugs to dampen, mask, or numb the effects of the anxiety and fear.

The unfortunate situation is that using drugs or alcohol often makes anxiety disorders worsen. Using drugs alongside anxiety disorders can cause severe withdrawal and make the symptoms of addiction even more extreme.

Addiction and Mood Disorders

Mood disorders such as Bipolar Disorder, and Cyclothymic disorder, or even long-term depression go for long stretches of time without diagnosis. However, nearly all forms of mood disorders including Bipolar disorder make a person more likely to abuse substances. Often it is an effort to stabilize their moods, or to ride a high mood for longer periods of time.

Addiction and mood disorders typically tie together as a form of self-medicating and when the person can get help, they can get on treatment that works.

Why it is Important to Treat Both Issues

Trauma or mental illness could be one of the causes of addiction, but it could just be a co-occurring disorder. One of the primary challenges of obtaining a dual diagnosis is finding the right diagnosis under the conditions of addiction. It’s possible that someone who suffers from alcohol misuse disorder is depressed but is also experiencing a long-term impact from the chemical effects of the substance. Does that mean that the depression is not serious?

Because it is so difficult for physicians and psychiatrists to separate, which occurred first, while also addressing the addiction, the issues must be treated simultaneously. To treat both of the addiction and the psychiatric or mental disorder, the patient will need help from counselors in the recovery community and psychiatrist who are well versed in dual diagnosis, addiction treatment, and mental health treatment specific to their condition.

Treating both issues simultaneously allows physicians and psychiatrists to assess the progression of sobriety and determine which came first.  Working closely with therapists and those who have years of experience in handling dual diagnosis will ultimately address both issues and treat them at the same time. It is vital to get to the root cause of the issue.

How to Pay for Dual Diagnosis Rehab

When seeking out treatment, many are hesitant because of payment and negotiating how they’ll financially manage the recovery. The cost of rehab varies based on the individual, their needs, and the duration of the stay. Anyone who has Insurance should consider undergoing a fast and free insurance verification.

Many facilities, including River Side Recovery Center, accept most major insurance policies. Our center also accepts cash payment for our services of drug rehab, detox, alcohol detox, medical detox, alcohol rehab, dual diagnosis, and more.

Getting the help you need should not be put off because of the possibility of a high cost. If you’re looking to get into a rehabilitation center and start a sober life, contact our offices. We’ll guide you through an insurance verification and explain the costs associated with treatment that might impact you.

Enrolling in a Dual Diagnosis Rehab Center

Finding the right dual diagnosis rehab center is the first step.  Many people consider going to Rehabilitation or starting the recovery and forging a sober life. But what stops so many from seeking that help? Often, people don’t have all of the information available, and they may not realize that their other elements or current conditions that might affect the addiction.

Taking that first step to enrolling in rehab can drastically change your life. It could address not only the addiction that you’ve suffered through for far too long, but also attend to mental health issues and past trauma.

Your addiction may go beyond simple substance use or alcohol misuse. It may be attributed to an unaddressed, ongoing or long-term mental health issue. Consider enrolling any dual diagnosis rehab center at River Side Recovery Center in California.