Co-Occurring / Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs

Co-Occurring Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Programs Header Image
Last Edited: December 3, 2020

Patricia Howard, LMFT, CADC

Clinically Reviewed
Jim Brown, CDCA

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and certified by an addiction professional.

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

A co-occurring disorder takes place when someone with an addiction also has a mental health condition. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, people with a substance use disorder are twice as likely to experience symptoms of a mental health disorder. An individual can have any combination of mental disorders to receive a dual diagnosis.

Diagnosing someone with a co-occurring disorder can be difficult, considering that the symptoms may overlap. For example, someone who is addicted to cocaine might exhibit traits associated with mania.
But that doesn’t mean they have bipolar disorder. If someone’s dual diagnosis does not receive proper treatment, they could end up homeless, incarcerated, suicidal or dead.

If someone has a co-occurring disorder, they will need to seek out treatment that addresses both disorders at the same time. Due to the regularity of co-occurring disorders, there are numerous options for people who deal with this condition.

Learning to live with a co-occurring disorder is a lifelong process. However, it is not impossible. It takes time and people need to be patient with themselves and their process. Recovery is a lifestyle and doesn’t have an expiration date.

Click Here for a confidential benefits check or call (866) 578-7471 to speak to a addiction specialist.

Browse rehab Treatment Centers
4362 Northlake Blvd
Palm Beach Gardens FL 33410
Sunspire Health Recovery Road is a licensed residential treatment facility that provides a personal approach to care for men suffering from substance ...
219 Dothan Road
Abbeville AL 36310
SpectraCare (Henry Co IOP) located at 219 Dothan Road, Abbeville, AL 36310, United States is a drug treatment program providing substance abuse treatm...
3505 Western Avenue
Kingman AZ 86409
Mohave Mental Health Clinic (Kingman) located at 3505 Western Avenue, Kingman, AZ 86409, United States is a drug treatment center providing substance ...
1401 L Street
Bakersfield CA 93301
Kern County Mental Health (Substance Abuse Resource Team) located at 1401 L Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301, United States is an alcohol treatment progr...
2575 Wagon Wheel Road
Oxnard CA 93036
Alternative Action Program (Oxnard) located at 2575 Wagon Wheel Road, Oxnard, CA 93036, United States is a drug treatment program providing substance ...
920 Acacia Lane
Santa Rosa CA 95405
Turning Point (Santa Rosa) located at 920 Acacia Lane, Santa Rosa, CA 95405, United States is an alcohol rehab program providing substance abuse treat...
202 West Columbus Drive
Tampa FL 33602
Tampa Crossroads Inc (Rose Manor Residential Program) located at 202 West Columbus Drive, Tampa, FL 33602, United States is an alcohol treatment progr...
3575 Fulton Mill Road
Macon GA 31206
River Edge Recovery Center (Macon) located at 3575 Fulton Mill Road, Macon, GA 31206, United States is a drug rehab facility providing substance abuse...
200 West Puainako Street
Hilo HI 96720
Big Island Substance Abuse Council (Waiakea Intermediate School) located at 200 West Puainako Street, Hilo, HI 96720, United States is an alcohol trea...
18 High Street
Houlton ME 4730
Life By Design PA (Houlton) located at 18 High Street, Houlton, ME 04730, United States is a drug rehab program providing substance abuse treatment an...
1463 East 12 Mile Road
Madison Heights MI 48071
Gateway Counseling Center (Madison Heights) located at 1463 East 12 Mile Road, Madison Heights, MI 48071, United States is an alcohol treatment center...
720 East Lake Street
Minneapolis MN 55407
Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio ((CLUES)) located at 720 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407, United States is a drug treatment facility pr...
209 6th Avenue South
Princeton MN 55371
Recovery Plus Rum River (Outpatient Program) located at 209 6th Avenue South, Princeton, MN 55371, United States is a drug treatment center providing ...
312 West 19th Street
Higginsville MO 64037
Pathways CBH Inc (Higginsville Office) located at 312 West 19th Street, Higginsville, MO 64037, United States is an alcohol treatment center providing...
995 Broadway
Bayonne NJ 7002
New Pathway Counseling Services Inc (Bayonne) located at 995 Broadway, Bayonne, NJ 07002, United States is a drug treatment center providing substance...
1206 North Riverside Drive
Espanola NM 87532
Ayudantes Inc (Espanola Northern Clinic) located at 1206 North Riverside Drive, Espanola, NM 87532, United States is a drug treatment program providin...
175 Fulton Avenue
Hempstead NY 11550
Counseling Service of EDNY Alcohol and (Drug Abuse Outpatient Clinic) located at 175 Fulton Avenue, Hempstead, NY 11550, United States is an alcohol t...
6520 Niagara Falls Boulevard
Niagara Falls NY 14304
Horizon Health Services Inc (Addictions Outpt Clinic/Niagara Falls) located at 6520 Niagara Falls Boulevard, Niagara Falls, NY 14304, United States is...
410 South Crouse Avenue
Syracuse NY 13210
Crouse Hospital (Methadone Maintenance Trt Prog (MMTP)) located at 410 South Crouse Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210, United States is a drug treatment prog...
317 South Broadway
Yonkers NY 10705
Yonkers Residential Center Inc (Breakaway Building Rehabilitation) located at 317 South Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10705, United States is an alcohol treat...

What is a Mental Illness?

A mental illness is a condition that impacts a person’s feeling, mood and thinking. These conditions will affect an individual’s social behavior and ability to function. The National Institute of Mental Illness estimates that about 1 in 17 Americans over 13 are living with a serious mental illness or mental health disorder. Click here to learn more about mental health.

People who have a mental health condition didn’t end up in their situation because of a single event. It is generally the result of a culmination of factors and circumstances. Sometimes people who have gone through a traumatic life event can develop a mental health condition as well.

There is a vast amount of stigma regarding mental illness, which makes it so that people often don’t talk about it. This generally makes it worse. Mental illness isn’t something to feel ashamed of. It happens to a lot of people. Mental illness can impact anyone. It doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, income, social status or race.

Most mental health disorders begin around age 24—however, they can happen at any age. Mental illness has a range. It can be anywhere from mild to severe. Everybody’s mental illness is different. Some of the most common mental illnesses are bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Psychiatric Disorder Blockquote

Dual Diagnosis

If someone has a co-occurring disorder, they will need inpatient treatment that addresses all of their needs. This is called dual diagnosis treatment. When someone goes to treatment, they will first have to detox from the drugs accumulated in their system. After that, the client will be ready for rehabilitation. Rehabilitation places the client in an atmosphere with other people who are going through treatment.

The client will learn about both their addiction and their mental illness. Most importantly, the will learn how to combat their mental illness effectively so they don’t feel tempted to abuse drugs.

Following treatment, it is suggested that the client look into aftercare options, such as support groups and counseling. Treatment is an ongoing process that takes time. There is no cure for addiction, but people can enjoy a life of freedom and sobriety if they implement the lessons learned in treatment.

50% of U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime.

Progression of the Two: Which Comes First?

There is no predetermined order to developing a co-occurring disorder. People can develop an addiction first, then experience symptoms of mental illness brought on by substance abuse. Many times, people will have predispositions toward mental illness that lie dormant until they use drugs. Most mental illnesses are mood disorders and drugs alter moods—it’s a match made in triggering town where the two dimensions offset and reinforce each other.

Another possibility consists of people who develop a mental disorder in childhood will turn to drugs and alcohol in order to cope with their illness. Often, people use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. For instance, someone with anxiety might turn toward alcohol in order to feel calm or someone with depression might seek out uppers to make them feel better about their disease. Over time, people can develop an addiction.

Since there isn’t a cure for mental illness, people will have an insatiable craving to heal and drugs and alcohol will not fill that need. Unfortunately, a lot of people will chase this forever elusive need. People need to feel safe. People need to feel calm. But, drug and alcohol abuse can exacerbate the effects of mental illness and in some instances, bring the illness out.

In 2002, the US spent $300 billion on Mental Illness.

Schizophrenia and Marijuana

Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness where people experience delusions, hallucinations and general mental impairment. When someone has schizophrenia, their brain is rewired in distinct ways. Specifically, the disease increases endocannabinoid, which play a role in mood, perception and appetite.

The main ingredient in marijuana is THC; its main role is to impact endocannabinoid receptors. According to the Journal of Neuroscience, when THC targets the receptors, it alters the normal activity in the brain. The specific areas affected are ones that impact rational thinking, judgement and memory. Columbia University reports that individuals in the prodromal (period between initial stages and fully developed illness) may experience an initial onset of the schizophrenia through marijuana or cocaine use.

Recent research in the journal Molecular Psychiatry suggests that having schizophrenia can lead to someone smoking weed. Researchers believe the genes that predispose an individual to enjoying weed might also predispose someone to developing schizophrenia. Researchers often argue that smoking Marijuana worsens schizophrenia and self-medicating can make it worse.

25% of all adults in the United States have a mental illness

Depression and Alcohol

Depression, or a major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder that causes people to feel a persistent sense of sadness and hopelessness. It is a biological thing, as people with depression have brains that are wired differently than those who don’t. Depression is accompanied also by feelings of lethargy and apathy, which comes from the neurological component of the disease.

For a long time, researches have noticed a tangible link between alcohol and depression. The National Institute of Health reports that 30 to 50 percent of people with alcohol issues (at any given time) also suffer from a major depressive disorder. Oddly enough, alcohol is a depressant, but it acts like a stimulant.

Unfortunately, because alcohol is a depressant, it can make people’s preexisting depression even worse—plunging them deeper into the depths of despair.