Co-occurring disorder diagnoses have been steadily on the rise in the United States over recent years. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 47.6 million Americans struggle with at least one mental health disorder. Sadly, approximately 9.2 million of those people also live with a co-occurring substance abuse disorder. If you’ve been searching for mental health and drug addiction help — either for yourself or a loved one — you’ve probably encountered the term dual diagnosis in your research. If it sparked your curiosity or got you wondering, “Do I need dual diagnosis treatment?” you’ll find more details about the therapy below.

What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Dual diagnosis treatment is a form of therapy for individuals who struggle with both a substance abuse disorder and a mental health disorder. Rather than tackling one disorder before moving on to the next — as was the practice for many decades — dual diagnosis treatment addresses both conditions simultaneously.

Substance addiction is a disease, meaning it alters your brain’s normal chemistry and reward response in favor of the substance. When you use the substance(s), you trigger a reward response in your brain, which elicits feelings of pleasure. Over time, your brain learns to associate those harmful substances with positive feelings, which you continue to chase.

When you struggle with a mental health disorder alongside substance addiction, your brain may prompt you to use harmful substances to diminish negative or stress-inducing emotions. Because your brain becomes programmed to associate substance consumption with feelings of pleasure, you may feel compelled to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.

Do I Need Dual Diagnosis Treatment? Signs to Watch For

To receive an official diagnosis of co-occurring disorders, you must undergo an evaluation with both an addiction specialist and a mental health professional. Because there are many combinations of co-occurring disorders, signs can vary considerably but frequently include:

  • Stealing or practicing deceptive behaviors to fund your addictive behavior
  • Hiding your substance use from family and friends
  • Declining performance in work, school, or everyday life
  • Experiencing compulsive behavior and feeling guilty about it
  • Routinely using substances to cope with stressful or negative emotions or situations
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to reduce or eliminate your consumption of the substance(s)
  • Symptoms of bipolar disorder, major depression, PTSD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, personality disorders, or eating disorders

Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If you’ve been asking yourself: “Do I need dual diagnosis treatment?” it can be helpful to know what the program entails and what you stand to gain from the therapy. Long-term benefits of this comprehensive treatment approach include:

  • Getting an official diagnosis for your co-occurring disorders and receiving the appropriate medications to help you manage your condition
  • Adopting healthy coping mechanisms to help you manage difficult or stressful situations
  • Addressing addiction relapse associated with mental health disorders
  • Learning to recognize triggers for your mental health disorder, so you can implement the appropriate coping strategies

Keep in mind that if you struggle with co-occurring conditions, it’s virtually impossible to treat your substance abuse problem without addressing your psyche. The two conditions play off one another, and if you only address one, your chances of suffering a relapse are far higher.

What Therapies Are Available In a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center?

Our dual diagnosis treatment program provides a multi-faceted treatment approach for individuals who struggle with both a substance abuse disorder and a co-occurring mental health disorder. As part of the center’s treatment approach, we combine various therapies into a synergistic program, which, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health, is referred to as integrated intervention. These therapies typically include:

Detoxification and recovery from substance abuse can exacerbate existing mood disturbances or even trigger emergent behavioral problems. Thus, if you live with co-occurring disorders, a dual-diagnosis treatment center is best prepared to meet your unique needs.

Are You Struggling With Co-Occurring Disorders? Find Help at Westwind Recovery®

Have you been asking yourself “Do I need dual diagnosis treatment?” Do you want to know if it can help a loved one? If so, reaching out for help is the first step on the road to a successful recovery. You’ll learn new, healthy coping mechanisms, interact with compassionate individuals who understand what you’re going through, and develop the skills you need to live a healthy, happy, addiction-free life. No matter what you’re going through, please, know that you don’t have to tackle it alone. We’re here for you whenever you need us. So if you’re ready to explore your treatment options, reach out to our team today at 855.340.8832.