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Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis occurs when a patient has both mental health and substance abuse disorders. The conditions are commonly seen together, as nearly half of people with a mental disorder will deal with a substance abuse disorder at some point in their lives; and those with a substance abuse disorder will often deal with a mental health issue. However, that does not mean that one caused the other, even if one of them clearly appeared first.


When a patient presents with both substance abuse and mental health issues, the dual diagnosis treatment serves to cater to both issues. Many turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with depression and anxiety. And yet, drugs and alcohol can make anxiety and depression worse. The only way to stop the vicious cycle is to address it all.

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Dual Diagnosis Vs Co-Occuring Disorders

The term “Co-Occurring disorder” is updated and current terminology used to describe dual diagnosis. A Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) report shows that in 2017: 

  • 8.5 million people had both a mental illness and a substance abuse disorder in the past year, accounting for 3.4 percent of adults
  • 2.4 million young adults, between the ages of 18 and 25, had co-occurring disorders, accounting for 4.4 percent of young adults
  • Among adults between the ages of 26 and 49, 4.4 million had co-occurring disorders within the past year, accounting for 4.4 percent of the adults in this age group
  • Among those age 50 or older, 1.8 million had co-occurring disorders. This accounts for 1.6 percent of adults in this age bracket

If you have a co-occurring disorder and need detox, we can help. Feel free to reach out to our admissions team who will help you through the admissions process.


Signs and symptoms a dual diagnosis may be present include:

  • Feeling the need to use (or requiring the use of) substances to make it through daily life
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Neglecting health and hygiene
  • Developing a high tolerance for substance use
  • Difficult to maintain work, school, or family obligations and relationships

Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment aims to treat the person as a whole — not just the mental illness or the dependency issues. Since the two often go hand-in-hand, treating one without the other often means relapse. Addressing the issues simultaneously helps patients see how the two are related, and learn how to handle them both. 

Benefits include:

  • More focused care
  • Learning to change thought patterns and processes
  • A better understanding of overall health
  • Normalization: Realizing patients aren’t alone
  • Treats the mind and the body
  • Support from peers and professionals
  • Relapse prevention
  • Avoid duplication of services

Dangers of Self-Medication

Self-medicating involves individuals using substances and available medications to treat a condition they believe they suffer from, whether it’s been formally diagnosed by a medical professional or not. Many people living with health issues turn to self-medication as a way to cope with or “treat” the condition, without seeking the appropriate medical care. Unfortunately, practicing self-medication is dangerous. People may:

  • Incorrectly diagnosis themselves
  • Cause interactions between drugs and supplements, leading to harmful side effects
  • Choose the wrong medications to treat the condition
  • Become dependent upon the drugs or abuse them

Find Help Through Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

If you or someone you love is struggling with both mental health and substance abuse disorders, Magnified can help. We have dual diagnosis treatment programs designed to address both diagnoses, with support from professionals who’ve been there before. Call us today to learn more about our personalized treatment plans. 

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Medical Advice Disclaimer

Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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