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Dual Diagnosis Treatment

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What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Many people diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD) also suffer from a co-occurring mental or behavioral condition. Dual diagnosis recovery centers are able to treat both at the same time. Individuals with a dual diagnosis require an integrated treatment plan that addresses both disorders as interconnected issues. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 45% of people with addiction have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Dual diagnosis treatment refers to an individual suffering from a “comorbid” disorder, such as depression and alcoholism, anxiety and drug addiction, or bipolar disorder and opiate abuse (for example). Dual diagnosis is quite challenging to overcome, so treatment programs like Virtue Recovery Center specialize in treating both substance abuse and mental health. Treating either condition without the other inevitably results in relapse. You can get a free dual diagnosis assessment done at Virtue Recovery Center.


Since dual diagnosis is actually two conditions, one might assume that you could treat them separately with success, but this is not the case. A good dual diagnosis rehabilitation program will professionally access the patient’s condition and treat each patient with an evidence-based, integrated treatment program incorporating both mental health treatment methodologies as well as substance abuse counseling. Patients who have anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, or bipolar disorder are easier to treat than patients with more complex mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or personality disorders, however Virtue Recovery Center is fully capable of providing people diagnosed with any and all of the above conditions with all the tools necessary for a successful recovery. Full recovery takes patience and dedication, but Virtue Recovery Center is here to help.

Eating Disorders & Co-Occurring Disorders

What are co-occurring disorders? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis, refer to “when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously” (Greenstein, 2017). However, when it comes to eating disorders, there are also many disorders in addition to the eating disorder with which our patients struggle. In fact, in one study of adults seeking treatment for eating disorders, approximately 70% of the patients also met criteria for another mental health diagnosis (Ulfvebrand et al., 2015). The treatment team at Virtue recovery is prepared to help you or your loved one make changes to both the eating disorder and the other mental health struggles you or they may be having. We know that eating disorders can have impacts throughout someone’s life and do not just occur around food.

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Bipolar and Depressive Disorders

One of the most common co-occurring disorders with eating disorders are bipolar and depressive disorders. In one study, between 40%-43% of people seeking treatment for eating disorders met criteria for a mood disorder as well (Ulfvebrand et al., 2015). The American Psychiatric Association (APA) categorizes disorders like major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder in the categories of bipolar and depressive disorders (5th ed.; DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). According to the DSM-5, symptoms of major depression can include:

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly everyday

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common disorder that co-occurs with eating disorders (Ulfvebrand et al., 2015). In the same study as previously mentioned, approximately 53% of adults seeking treatment for an eating disorder also met criteria for an anxiety disorder. The APA currently considers disorders like Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder to fall into the category of Anxiety Disorders (2013). According to the DSM-5, symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder include:

  1. Excessive anxiety or worry more days than not
  2. Difficulty controlling the worry
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Approximately 10% of adults that sought treatment for an eating disorder met criteria for some kind of substance use disorder (Ulfvebrand et al., 2015). The most common substance of abuse in the study was alcohol. However, it is not uncommon for individuals with eating disorders to use stimulants as a means of controlling weight. According to the DSM-5, symptoms of a substance use disorder include:

  1. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control use


Approximately 4% of adults that sought treatment for an eating disorder also met criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Ulfvebrand et al., 2015). There are many, many symptoms of PTSD and different individuals can present in very different ways. According to the DSM-5, symptoms of PTSD can include:

  1. Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event
  2. Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event
  3. Dissociative reactions in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic event(s) were recurring
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Finding a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center Near Me

If you’re seeking a dual diagnosis treatment center near you, or at a particular location, Virtual Recovery Center has facilities in the following cities: Drug and alcohol rehab for a loved one in Arizona

Recovery Centers in Arizona

  • Chandler, Arizona: 111 S Hearthstone Way, Chandler, AZ 85226, United States
  • Sun City West, Arizona: 13951 W Meeker Blvd, Sun City West, AZ 85375, United States

Recovery Centers in Texas

  • Houston, Texas: 9714 S Gessner Rd, Houston, TX 77071, United States
  • Killeen, Texas: 5200 S W S Young Dr, Killeen, TX 76542, United States

Recovery Centers in Nevada

  • Las Vegas, Nevada: 8225 W Robindale Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89113

Recovery Centers in Oregon

  • Astoria, Oregon: 263 W Exchange St, Astoria, OR 97103, United States

You can also follow these steps to find a dual diagnosis recovery program near you:

  1. Conduct an online search: Use search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo to search for “dual diagnosis treatment center near me” along with your city or state. You can also use local names in your searches such as “dual diagnosis treatment texas” or “dual diagnosis treatment arizona”. This will help you find a list of treatment centers that provide dual diagnosis treatment in your area. 

  2. Check with your insurance provider: Contact your health insurance provider and ask for a list of treatment centers in your network that offer dual diagnosis treatment. This can help you narrow down your options based on your insurance coverage.

  3. Consult with a mental health professional: Consult with your mental health provider or primary care physician for recommendations. They may be able to refer you to a dual diagnosis treatment center or provide you with a list of treatment centers they know of in your area.

  4. Use directories: Check online directories of mental health and addiction treatment facilities. Websites like Psychology Today, SAMHSA Treatment Locator, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) have directories that can help you find a dual diagnosis treatment center near you.

  5. Research the treatment centers: Once you have a list of treatment centers, research each one thoroughly. Look for information on their website about their treatment approach, staff qualifications, and success rates. You may also want to read online reviews or contact the treatment center directly to ask any questions you may have.

By following these steps, you can find a dual diagnosis treatment center near you that can provide the care and support you need to manage both your mental health and addiction.

Why Is Addiction Referred to as a Brain Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Approximately 4% of adults who sought treatment for an eating disorder also met criteria for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (Ulfvebrand et al., 2015). Although this may sound like a small proportion of individuals who seek treatment, many who do seek treatment share traits with those described in the criteria for OCD. The DSM-5 describes two primary characteristics of OCD: obsessions and compulsions. According to the DSM-5, obsessions are defined as:

  1. Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and unwanted, and that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress

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A terrifying part of rehabilitation for any patient is the detox process. An individual suffering from any form of drug or alcohol addiction who has ever attempted to quit has experienced some withdrawal symptoms, and they are nothing short of misery! Fortunately, the rehabilitation process’s detoxification period will help patients through this agonizing duration of detoxification safely. It is common for patients experiencing this to be a person using substances to combat their mental illness. Such a method is called “self-medication”; however, it does anything but medicates the mental condition. Substance abuse actually appears to temporarily “soothe” mental disorders while magnifying mental conditions, thus creating a false dependency. However, there have been many cases in which a completely healthy person has become addicted to drugs or alcohol and has developed serious mental illnesses as a result. Regardless of the order in which the duality has come about, rehabilitation will help assess the condition and figure out a way to treat and prevent it from resurfacing again.

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Although patients suffering from dual diagnosis rehab treatment have a very complex condition that is said to be treated all in one, mental disorders can usually be treated with the proper medication, separate from the detoxification process. The very first step to achieving complete wellness is to tackle the substance abuse issue first. This means that the detoxification procedure is the first and most important step to being completely cured. The detoxification period can vary from person to person since everyone’s body is different. The time it takes can also be measured depending on what substance they are addicted to. Once the detoxification process has been completed, the next step to recovery is getting the patient into therapy. This therapy involves getting the patient to actively participate in counseling sessions that may involve other patients or require them to undergo these counseling sessions alone. Such counseling sessions will help each patient become psychologically aware of their condition, encourage them on how they are progressing, and be educated with the right information to keep them on the right path to being cured of the illness for good.

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Realizing Your Condition

Realizing that dual diagnosis is a condition that must be treated all at once but involves detoxification before mental illness treatment, some would assume that it would be perfectly acceptable to treat a dual diagnosis patient at two separate facilities. However, these patients have shown a higher success rate for recovering when they opt for a rehabilitation program that involves treating both the substance abuse issue and the mental issue in one program instead of going to a substance abuse program and then getting treated for mental illness.

You Have to Choose

Although the rehabilitation process can be effective and promising, much of the success and continued success can be attributed to how much the patient wants to be better. Much of the longevity of recovery from dual diagnosis can also require a lot of lifestyle changes, which require a lot of discipline. Such lifestyle changes can include hobbies that involve people and places, bringing back about dual diagnosis symptoms. The rehabilitation program chosen should also preferably involve other after-care procedures to help a person who has suffered from this serious condition to function normally in society after gaining wellness. Such help can include job and housing assistance, family counseling, help support dual diagnosis recovery, and even relationship management.


Each of the after-care options is beneficial to all patients recovering from dual diagnosis recovery treatment, even if they happen to receive prescription medication for their mental illness such as bipolar disorder, codependency, and low self-esteem. If a former dual diagnosis sufferer takes prescription medication to treat their mental disorder, it is advised that they be monitored or receive special “follow-up” visits with a professional to make sure that they do not return to the pattern of substance abuse. Should a person recovering decide not to take prescription medicine to treat their mental condition, it is advised that they continue after the counseling provided by rehabilitation and find a routine counseling program where a cognitive therapy approach will be offered.

Find Hope at Virtue Recovery Center

The staff at Virtue Recovery Center looks forward to helping you and your loved ones on the road to recovery. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our facilities located throughout the United States.
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