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Dual Diagnosis Treatment

LIVING LIFEWith Dual Diagnosis

Finding emotional balance, takes the right practitioners.

For every moment that inner voice has reminded you how powerless you’ve become to drug cravings, there lives the opportunity to seek help to overcome the disease of addiction. Perhaps your drug of choice is alcohol, and you long to stop needing the drink. You know you need help. But hopelessness supersedes action. You know you want relief. But anxiety keeps you frozen in fear. This could be about you or someone close to you.

But what if there’s more. For near 50 percent of those with a substance use disorder there is more — the presence of a mental illness.

Traditional addiction treatment programs that focus on an individual’s chemical codependency can help with removing the physical cravings to use, and address unhealthy life choices and destructive coping mechanisms. But with dual diagnosis, left untreated, addiction recovery is short-lived. Here’s why.

WHAT AND WHYDual Diagnosis Happens

Our compassion comes from understanding human frailties.

Also known as a co-occurring disorder, dual diagnosis is when a person has a substance use disorder, simultaneously, with a mental illness. Just as one person may gravitate to using one type of drug versus another, people can develop different mental health conditions. How it happens is often a mystery until a person seeks help from a licensed mental health specialist.

For some, a mental illness may have developed due to a childhood trauma or a predisposition to such conditions based on family history or genetics. Others can experience anxiety disorders and depressive disorders from ongoing use of drugs or alcohol. No matter the reason why dual diagnosis occurs, it doesn’t go away over time. In fact, dual diagnosis isn’t a condition that can be cured, so to speak, though it can be managed.

Self-Medicating Has Two Sides of This Story

Many people get caught up in identifying which came first, the substance addiction or the mental illness. Treating one condition first and then focusing on the other proves ineffective and puts the individual at greater risk.

Challenges in dual diagnosis are in the similarities.

For the untrained layperson and treatment professional, assessing dual diagnosis is tricky. Many of the symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction are also traits of mental illness. While substance addiction can bring about despair, irrational thought, excitability, manic highs and lows, hallucinations, suicidal ideation, self-harm, and violence against others, so too can mental illness.


It’s hard to imagine what it’s like…

…to live with dual diagnosis, unless you already struggle with a mental health condition or live with someone who does. Couple this, with ongoing drug or alcohol abuse and the stress is exponentially compounded and unmanageable.

The symptoms of mental conditions including PTSD, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia will drive a person to self-medicate to calm the associated emotional and behavioral signs. Conversely, people with drug or alcohol addiction can develop anxiety disorders or depressive disorders as a result of a chemical imbalance caused by the drug use. For example, an individual who abuses benzodiazepines can experience intense panic attacks during withdrawal from the drug, which may remain long after a sober lifestyle has been adopted.

Regardless how one condition developed before the other, in the end, mental illness will increase substance use, and substance use will worsen mental health.


Behavioral health is just part of the bigger mental health picture.

Just as drug and alcohol addiction affect each individual differently, mental illness comes with its own set of circumstances adversely affecting one’s quality of life and the ability to engage in normal daily function. Each condition will ebb and flow into the other, unless a careful and strategic treatment plan is put into place to minimize the symptomology, and determine the right level of medication-assisted treatment.

Not all behavioral health facilities are the same. By focusing on drug and alcohol addiction, many rehab facilitators misdiagnose patient health conditions and thereby miss the opportunity to provide the right treatment for dual diagnosis. To effectively treat dual diagnosis, treatment centers need to have the staff that specializes in it. We do.

ACCEPTANCE RECOVERY CENTERDual Diagnosis Treatment Benefits

Peace of mind isn’t a phrase that generally comes in the same sentence as dual diagnosis treatment. But you and your loved one will find both behind our doors.

We know how much the family is also impacted by a co-occurring disorder, which is why we make family therapy a part of our unique dual diagnosis treatment program. Personal resolve is a goal we present to each patient here, as self-acceptance is an important gateway to rehabilitation.

Our dual diagnosis patients experience various stages of recovery through the introduction and ongoing practice of various holistic methodologies and trauma resolution therapies. Each provides opportunities to learn healthy coping mechanisms, stress reduction, and the life skills needed to become an active and productive member of family and the greater community.

Trauma therapy and EMDR

“A lot of people are living with mental illness around them. Either you love one or you are one.”
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