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The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment


The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

June 12, 2017

One of the first biggest breakthroughs for someone just coming into treatment is the realization that drugs and alcohol themselves aren’t actually the direct cause of our problems, but rather they became our solution to the problems experienced both mentally and emotionally in our daily lives. Up until the 1990s, anyone who suffered symptoms of a mental health disorder, be it mood swings, depressive episodes, anxiety attacks or delusional behavior, had to be treated separately from those who were seeking help for substance abuse and alcoholism. According to previous models of addiction education, those who suffer from problems such as depression and anxiety used to be denied mental health treatment until they had at least 6 months clean and sober. The problem in this situation is that these conditions often overlap, and substance abuse is often driven by an underlying problem. This often meant that anyone suffering from co-occurring mental health and addiction problems never truly received the help they so desperately needed. This is why the most successful programs are integrated to treat all aspects of the illness to ensure the greatest chances of sustained recovery.


Dual Diagnosis Treatment Strategies

  • Group Therapy – Mutual support groups are a key element in dual diagnosis treatment. Both addiction and mental illness can cause or exacerbate symptoms of depression and social anxiety. Isolation and social withdrawal can worsen as a result. Getting together with other members of a supportive group can help restore faith in humanity and enhance their sense of worth.
  • One on One Sessions – Intensive counseling sessions with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or certified addictions counselor will address both their psychiatric condition and their addictive disorder. Because they are so closely related, it is important that both conditions are treated simultaneously. All therapists should have proper credentials in their field.
  • Proper Medication – Proper management of symptoms of depression, anxiety, manic-depressive disorder and schizophrenia often require the assistance of modern pharmacopeia. Medication is a widely accepted tool in dual diagnosis treatment and is considered to be an essential part of recovery for most patients with some form of mental illness.
  • Couples Counseling and Family Therapy – It is often said that addiction is a family disease. The family unit is almost always affected, and sometimes even plays a key role in the patient’s illness. Always be sure to invite the patient’s spouse, family, or any other significant individuals to play an active part in their loved one’s recovery.
  • Social Services – For those who struggle with mental health issues, keeping up practical tasks and basic life skills can be quite challenging. Services such as vocational training, relationship counseling, and nutritional guidance are often implemented by the recovery care management team, but it is important to get the patient signed up for social services as well. Food stamps, housing assistance, and childcare can mean the difference between setting your patient up for success or having them fail under the weight of their pressures.



No matter what type of addiction education is employed by your recovery management team, it is important to stage a proper family intervention to help guide your loved one if they aren’t willing to get the help. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or alcoholism and don’t see a way out, we can help. Contact us at or 855-727-2887.