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Dual Diagnosis Rehabilitation for Addiction and Mental Health

A dual diagnosis, also known as a co-occurring disorder, refers to a situation where an individual is diagnosed with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. The sequence of these disorders’ onset is not of primary concern. The recognition and individualized treatment of each condition are essential, ensuring that interventions are tailored specifically to address the unique aspects of each disorder.

Last Medical Reviewer On: March 31, 2024
Updated On: Dec 25, 2023
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Written by:

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Medical Review by:

Dr. Po Chang Hsu MD, MS

Dual Diagnosis Rehabilitation for Addiction and Mental Health
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    What you will learn
    • A dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorder, is a condition where an individual suffers from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, with the recognition and individualized treatment of each being crucial.
    • Common co-occurring disorders include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD, often intertwined with substance abuse in a bidirectional relationship.
    • The causes of dual diagnosis are multifaceted, involving common risk factors like family history, environmental influences, access to substances, and trauma history.
    • Effective treatment for dual diagnosis requires an integrated approach, addressing both mental health and substance use disorders simultaneously, often involving medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, and comprehensive psychiatric care.

    What Is A Dual Diagnosis Or Co-Occurring Disorder?

    A dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder is an official diagnosis given to those who suffer from a mental health disorder as well as a substance use disorder. It doesn’t matter which came first. It only matters that each diagnosis is identified and addressed with unique interventions for each.

    Some of the more common co-occurring disorders include a diagnosis of anxiety disorders, ADD/ADHD, Bipolar disorder, Depressive symptoms and mood disorders, eating disorders, Personality disorders, and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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    Common Co-Occurring Disorders


    Depression is common among people who have substance abuse disorders. Depression and substance abuse seem to be connected because they have a bi-directional relationship. This means that depression can increase the likelihood a person relies on substances to feel better. Similarly, someone struggling with substance abuse may feel depressed as a result of their substance use.


    Anxiety and addiction are frequently intertwined. An individual struggling with anxiety may turn to drugs or alcohol to quiet their persistent anxious thoughts and feelings. Conversely, increased substance use can exacerbate anxiety symptoms by impacting mental and physical functioning.

    Bipolar Disorder

    Another common co-occurring disorder, bipolar dual diagnosis, occurs frequently. Bipolar disorder is characterized by unusual fluctuations in mood with extreme highs and lows. Individuals may self-medicate to alleviate the intense mood shifts.


    PTSD and addiction are similar, as they both have a complex impact on the brain. Trauma can involve many mental health symptoms that are unbearable and a challenge for any human to endure. To attempt to quiet intrusive thoughts and silence flashbacks, someone with PTSD may be more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.

    What Causes Dual Diagnosis?

    While it’s understood that having a mental health disorder does not directly cause a substance use disorder, and vice versa, research suggests that the presence of one can increase the vulnerability to developing the other due to overlapping risk factors such as genetics, environmental influences, and trauma. Common risk factors include family history and genetics, home or social environment, access to substances, and history of trauma.[1]

    When both are present together, this makes the journey to recovery even more challenging. A mental health condition can lay dormant for years until activated by the symptoms and effects of substance use, or substance use can begin in an attempt to self-medicate the symptoms of a mental health disorder.

    Symptoms exacerbate one another, leading to increasingly unhealthy or dangerous effects and behaviors. The cycle stops at Epiphany Wellness. Restore the balance and create a healthy life you love with us.

    What Does A Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center Do Differently From A Standard Rehab?

    Most basic rehab centers will focus primarily on substance abuse as the primary condition to treat and push for behavior change. While helpful, this is only part of the problem and may not address potential root causes or lasting habit development.

    A dual diagnosis rehab treatment center like Epiphany Wellness will conduct a deep dive into your medical and mental health history. We will conduct a detailed intake assessment to evaluate the level of care you need to treat all presenting disorders.

    Based on this data, we will create an individualized treatment plan to meet your unique needs. Our team of providers will employ a variety of evidence-based therapies to help individuals like you work through mental health challenges as you simultaneously recover from substance abuse. Treatment will address overlapping symptoms, medication-assisted interventions, and practical coping skill development.

    The Range of Dual Diagnosis Treatment At Epiphany Wellness

    Once our team of skilled clinicians and providers has developed your custom treatment plan, you will begin treatment at our premier recovery center. Here, you will begin taking actionable steps toward recovery and actively participating in it.

    Treatment For Substance Use Disorder and Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

    In many cases, someone with a mental health condition consumes alcohol or another drug as a temporary relief from their symptoms of trauma, abuse, anxiety, depression, or another mental health issue. Other times, a substance use disorder is developed, which may contribute to the development of a mental health condition. In either case, once a dependence is formed, treatment is crucial to recover safely. In addition to alcohol, substance use disorders may involve a wide variety of substances. Opioids, stimulants, benzodiazepines, and depressants all carry a high potential for dependence. Once formed, a dependence on harmful substances can cause severe health concerns and negatively impact nearly every facet of your life.

    If you or a loved one has turned to substances to self-medicate through the symptoms of a mental disorder, our dual diagnosis treatment facility can help restore the balance in your life. Stability and clarity in your physical, emotional, and mental health are just one phone call away. Recovering in safety is your next step.

    Even on their own, mental health conditions like anxiety, trauma, mood disorders, or depression can bring life-altering symptoms and effects. But combined with a substance use disorder, the impact of a mental health condition can have even more significant effects. For some, the path to self-medication begins with alcohol, pain medication, prescriptions, or other substances. But this temporary solution presents even more potentially dangerous health effects. How can you get freedom?

    At Epiphany Wellness, we’re committed to helping you navigate the complexities of your disorders and create sustainable recovery through evidence-based interventions. Here, you can begin to heal from the inside out.

    Treatment Options at Epiphany Wellness

    As part of our approach to treating co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, we offer a range of levels of care. From detox and day programs to outpatient programs and aftercare, we support you as you recover and rebuild your life.

    Both our New Jersey and Tennessee-based dual diagnosis treatment programs include:

    Integrated Evidence-Based Therapies for Dual Diagnosis Treatment

    Our outpatient treatment programs have been designed to prioritize therapies that identify, address, and treat you as a whole person. Employing evidence-based modalities blended with field-tested scientific data, we will design an integrated, holistic treatment plan customized to your needs.

    While attending our addiction treatment center, participants receive a combination of individual therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, and peer support to create a comprehensive treatment process. With intentional participation, you will leave a healthier, happier person than when you started. Some therapies include:

    Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs For Long-Term Recovery and Lifelong Healing

    Treatment isn’t just to help you feel better. It’s intended to help you become the best possible version of yourself, learn how to make healthier choices, and live with intention. It starts with treatment and ends with freedom and healing. We can help. Call today.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

    What is the most effective treatment for dual diagnosis?
    What is the most common dual diagnosis?
    How does a dual diagnosis affect your life?
    What is the dual diagnosis treatment center's mission?
    How can you get treatment for dual diagnosis?

    [1] SAMHSA. (2019). Risk and Protective Factors (p. 1). https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/20190718-samhsa-risk-protective-factors.pdf