5 Signs You Need Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Substance use disorder is a mental disease that is often accompanied by another mental disorder. According to a 2014 survey done by SAMSHA, 20.2 million people in America were suffering from an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Of these people, 7.9 million also had another mental disorder co-occurring with their addiction. The high number of people that have co-occurring mental disorders highlights the need for dual diagnosis treatment.

What is dual diagnosis treatment and why is it necessary for successful long-term results in recovery?

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Dual diagnosis is when a person has both a mental illness such as bi-polar or social anxiety at the same time as they have substance use disorder or addiction. The treatment for such a condition involves first assessing that there are co-occurring disorders present and then providing a treatment plan for both independently to be carried out simultaneously.

The best dual diagnosis treatment centers are able to assist the patient with both treatments at their facility.

What Are Some of the Signs You Might Need Dual Diagnosis?

If you are unsure if you or a loved one falls into the category of co-occurring mental disorders, the following are some of the signs that a dual diagnosis approach is needed.

  1. Substances Are Abused to Cope with Your Symptoms

If a person suffering from undiagnosed PTSD, bi-polar or any other mental disease abuses drugs and alcohol on a regular basis so that they can cope or lessen their symptoms, then it is likely that there are co-occurring mental disorders present. For example, a person may drink alcohol in order to numb themselves to the anxiety that PTSD causes.

  1. History of Mental Illness

Many mental illnesses are passed down in a family. If mental issues such as depression or bi-polar are common in your family and you are abusing drugs and alcohol, it is likely that there is need for a dual diagnosis approach. A person who has been diagnosed with a mental disease in the past who then abuses drugs or alcohol likely has a co-occurring mental disorder since the symptoms usually do not go away by themselves.

  1. Without Substance Abuse, Daily Life Feels Impossible

If you struggle to maintain a balanced mental state and easily become agitated or annoyed by everyday situations and then use drugs as a means to cope, you might have co-occurring mental disorders. Difficulty keeping a steady job even though your work is good can also be an indicator. The inability to maintain adult responsibilities and turning to substance is a sign that a dual diagnosis approach is needed.

  1. The Start of Substance Abuse is Linked to Trauma

In the case of PTSD, if a person began to abuse alcohol or drugs around the same time that they had a traumatic experience, then it is a sign that a dual diagnosis method of treatment is required. As the person continues to abuse substances when their PTSD symptoms surface, not only can the person become addicted, but their symptoms will become worse as a result of the substance abuse.

  1. Previous Drug Treatment Failed

If you have been through addiction treatment before but consistently relapse, it is possible that there is another mental disorder present that is driving your drug or alcohol abuse. For example, a treatment method such as the 12-step program is not designed to deal with co-occurring mental disorders and can result in relapse in dual diagnosis cases.

At the best dual diagnosis treatment centers, a person can not only beat their addiction issues but they can find treatment for all of their mental disorders. This helps a person achieve long-term success in their recovery.




If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.