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ABOUT US is a not-for-profit resource for the community, connecting people to addiction treatment and education resources. You can find information on addiction and treatment as well as detailed information on treatment centers nationwide. Our main goal is to provide a comprehensive resource for individuals who are seeking treatment regardless of their situation.

Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment

Dual diagnosis addiction treatment refers to the rehabilitation of patients who display the symptoms of both a substance use disorder as well as a co-occurring mental health disorder like obsessive compulsive disorder, delusional behavior, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and attention deficit hypersensitivity disorder.

This form of treatment is designed to manage all of the disorders that you are displaying at the same time. As a result, it often incorporates the most successful aspects of rehabilitation and best practices for both addiction and mental health treatment.

Dual diagnosis treatment is considered to be useful because addiction often arises as a result of an underlying mental health disorder. As a result, both conditions need to be managed and rehabilitated at the same time before you can overcome your addiction as well as ensure that your mental health is back in good order.

To understand dual diagnosis treatment, it is important to know what a co-occurring disorder is and what it entails. In general, receiving a dual diagnosis effectively means that you are struggling with both a mental health disorder or illness as well as a substance use disorder or addiction. When this happens, you could be said to have dual diagnosis disorders.

Dual diagnosis addiction treatment is also referred to as integrated dual diagnosis treatment - or IDDT. It is effective because it comes with various rehabilitation services that are designed to deal with all the conditions that you are struggling with, and the treatments are offered simultaneously.

Who is Dual Diagnosis Treatment Best For?

Dual diagnosis addiction treatment is recommended if you have received a dual diagnosis. This effectively means that you must have met the basic criteria for a substance use disorder as well as for a co-occurring mental health disorder.

These criteria are outlined by the DSM - 5 (or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) that is published by the ASM - the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM acts as the primary guideline that both addiction treatment and mental health services professionals use to diagnose and treat patients in various clinical settings.

You can receive your dual diagnosis from a therapist, counselor, psychologist, physician, or psychiatrist as long as they are qualified and duly licensed. They would typically give you this diagnosis if you are displaying the basic signs and symptoms of a mental illness while also struggling with an addiction involving alcohol and drugs.

Receiving this diagnosis could provide you with relief especially if you have been struggling with undiagnosed mental illness for a period of time. This is because you would typically have been suffering from such symptoms as:

  • Episodes of hopelessness
  • Flashbacks to a traumatic event from your past
  • Hallucinations
  • Sadness
  • Severe mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts

It is also important to note that you may have challenges trying to recover from your mental health disorder if you are also struggling with addiction. However, going for dual diagnosis treatment could ensure that you get the highly trained and compassionate rehabilitation team that will help you get started on the journey to recovery.

This form of treatment, however, might also be ideal if you are displaying any, some, most, or all of the following typical symptoms of co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis:

  • Arrest
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Divorce
  • Drug overdose
  • Engaging in risky actions and behavior so that you can maintain your addictive or abusive habit
  • Engaging in risky behavior whenever you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Extreme behavioral changes
  • Frequent hospitalization due to your substance abuse
  • Heavy substance abuse
  • High tolerance to the substances that you have been abusing
  • Infection with STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) like HIV and hepatitis b and c as a result of drug or alcohol taking
  • Losing control over your substance use
  • Perceived inability to work normally or function as you used to unless you abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Possible incarceration
  • Possible relapse after going for addiction treatment
  • Potential homelessness due to your drug taking
  • Poverty
  • Psychiatric problems
  • Psychotic behavior
  • Relationship problems
  • Separation from a person you were in a relation with
  • Serious health problems
  • Substance abuse withdrawal symptoms
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Unemployment
  • Violence
  • Withdrawing from your social circle, friends, and family

You may also be able to benefit from dual diagnosis if you have been struggling with any of the following common co-occurring disorders:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Personality disorder
  • Schizophrenia

How Long Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

The best form of treatment for a dual diagnosis would require that you go for integrated intervention that takes place over the long term. According to SAMHSA - the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - addiction treatment should take place over more than 3 months or 90 days.

However, since dual diagnosis treatment is designed to deal with both addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, you can be sure that it will typically take longer than the recommended 90 days. This is because you would need enough time to deal with both your substance abuse as well as the mental illness that you have been struggling with.

Other services that you may require over the course of your dual diagnosis treatment - and which will increase the duration of such treatment - include:

  • Detoxification
  • Inpatient rehabilitation
  • Supportive housing
  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication management
  • Support and self-help groups
  • Aftercare planning
  • Relapse prevention
  • Outpatient rehabilitation
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family and couples counseling

Average Cost of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The average cost of the dual diagnosis treatment will also vary widely based on many different factors. For instance, you can expect the treatment to come with the following services - and this could increase the total cost of your recovery:

  • Aftercare plan
  • Aftercare services
  • Aftercare support
  • Diagnosis
  • Evaluation
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medical detox
  • Personal therapy
  • Treatment plan

That said, there are many other factors that will determine the total cost of your dual diagnosis addiction treatment. These factors include but are not always limited to the following:

  • Location of the recovery center
  • The amenities provided by the facility
  • The need for additional recovery services once your formal treatment has come to an end
  • The qualifications of the staff members working for the center
  • The services provided to help with your recover
  • The type of rehab program that you choose
  • The use - if any - of medications to manage your addiction and co-occurring disorders
  • Whether or not you have an insurance plan that will pay for some, most, or all of your treatment services

How Do I Go About Finding Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Like with any other type of treatment services, it is important that you take your time looking for the right dual diagnosis treatment program. This means that you should find a program that can treat both your addiction and the mental health disorders that you have been struggling with. You should also check that the facility offers all the amenities and services that you are going to need in the course of your recovery.

While looking for the right dual diagnosis center, you should ask the following questions and judge the facility according to the answers you get back:

  • Do you provide individualized dual diagnosis treatment for every resident in the center?
  • Does this facility provide aftercare programming and referral services?
  • If I relapse during my treatment, how will the program handle it?
  • Is the therapy offered through this program structured to effectively deal with dual diagnosis cases?
  • Will I receive professional evaluation and assessment from licensed physicians and psychiatrists before I am admitted to the program?
  • Will the program view all of the disorders I am struggling with as interconnected issues or as separate conditions?

After choosing a dual diagnosis treatment program and you have settled into the center, you can get started on the treatment process. Often, the program will incorporate various activities, medications, and therapies over the course of your treatment. You will also get the opportunity to take advantage of the amenities and activities offered by the center.


Although you might become addicted as a result of a pre-existing mental health disorder, there are also situations in which you could develop these disorders due to your ongoing substance abuse.

The important thing is to ensure that you go for dual diagnosis addiction treatment. By so doing, you will be able to benefit from the structured and safe environment, the various recovery services, and the different rehabilitation programs that you are going to need in the long term.

Overall, dual diagnosis is recommended if you are displaying the signs and symptoms of a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental disease like anxiety, depression, or obsessive compulsive disorder.


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