California Dual Diagnosis Treatment: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?You are here:
In and of itself, addiction is complicated and challenging, but when accompanied by a co-occurring mental disorder, the issue becomes even more complex. Without the help of a customized dual diagnosis treatment program, recovery is unlikely.
The highest quality California dual-diagnosis treatment can be found at Design for Change Recovery in Lancaster, CA. We offer evidence-based, full-continuum programs tailored to each client’s unique situation.
Our mission is to help clients heal the physiological, psychological, and emotional factors that contribute to their substance use. This approach allows clients to not only overcome their physical dependence on drugs or alcohol, they learn effective strategies for managing their negative thoughts and behaviors for preventing future substance abuse.
What Is Dual-Diagnosis?
What is dual diagnosis? MedlinePlus.gov provides this definition of dual diagnosis:
“A person with dual diagnosis has both a mental disorder and an alcohol or drug problem. These conditions occur together frequently. About half of the people who have a mental disorder will also have a substance use disorder at some point in their lives and vice versa.”
In most cases, the interactions between the two separate conditions can worsen both. dual-diagnosis is also known as co-occurring disorder and comorbidity.
Many people with dual diagnosis don’t receive the specialized treatment they need due to misdiagnosis. Some of their symptoms are incorrectly interpreted as side effects of the substance involved. Addiction treatment in such cases focuses primarily on the physical aspect.
Sadly, these individuals suffer relapses soon after leaving rehab because the underlying causes of their substance use were not addressed.
Why Psychological and Substance Use Disorders Co-Occur
Sometimes it’s hard to determine whether one disorder caused the other, or which one occurred first. According to researchers, 3 factors contribute to dual diagnosis:
- Common risk factors – Factors such as stress, trauma, or genetics can contribute to both disorders.
- Mental disorders – People with mental disorders use substances to help them feel better. This form of self-medication often leads to addiction.
- Substance use disorders – Substance misuse can cause changes in the brain that contribute to the likelihood of developing mental disorders.
About 50% of people with mental disorders misuse addictive substances. SAMHSA reports that in 2021, approximately 9.2 million people in the U.S. had co-occurring disorders.
What Are the Different Types of Dual-Diagnosis?
Many substance users have at least one or more mental health issues. The relationship between mental health disorders and addiction can be a tedious, vicious cycle. However, with the right treatment program, co-occurring disorders are addressed simultaneously to ensure positive outcomes.
Dual diagnosis usually involves one or more of the following:
Depression and Addiction
Also known as major depressive disorder, depression is a mental health disorder that causes feelings of sadness. A person who is depressed has a decreased interest in daily routines or activities. They also have difficulty forming healthy relationships. These intense emotions can lead a person to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol and become addicted.
Symptoms of depression may include:
- Lack of interest in activities or responsibilities
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of appetite and low energy levels
- Feeling restless and anxious
- Intense sadness or a sense of emptiness
- Suicidal thoughts
Someone who suffers from depression and addiction will benefit from an inpatient addiction treatment program. Inpatient treatment provides a customized treatment plan that includes options such as psychotherapy and medication in a supervised environment 24/7.
Trauma and Addiction
Everyone handles trauma differently. Some people learn to manage their feelings and continue functioning in daily life. Others respond to trauma with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and fear. They become detached or numb, and many struggle with depression.
Typically, events that have physical, mental, emotional, social, or spiritual impacts on a person cause trauma. The sudden death of a loved one, an automobile accident, natural disasters, sexual assault, or witnessing a crime are a few examples of traumatic events.
Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
- Easily frightened or startled
- Frequent nightmares
- Emotional numbness
- A sense of hopelessness
- Flashbacks of the traumatic event
- Risky or self-destructive behaviors
- Loss of interest in daily responsibilities or activities
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) estimates that about 7.7 million people suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which is the most familiar form of trauma.
It’s not unusual for trauma victims to develop a substance use disorder. Instead of seeking help, many of them turn to drugs or alcohol as coping mechanisms.
Bipolar Disorder and Addiction
Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings that range from mania to depression. The mood shifts can occur gradually from days to weeks or they can appear suddenly within a few hours.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can include the following:
- Highly talkative
- Racing thoughts
- Less sleep is needed to function
- Engaging in reckless behaviors
- Inflated self-esteem
Self-medication with drugs or alcohol is often a method these individuals use to alleviate the symptoms of their psychotic episodes.
Narcissism and Addiction
When someone has narcissistic tendencies, they display an exaggerated self-image. They often possess feelings of superiority and crave attention. About one percent of people fit the diagnosis for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
NPD is common today and is often the result of childhood neglect or abuse, traumatic events, or having grown up with excessive amounts of attention and praise. Many of these individuals harbor feelings of isolation and lack empathy for others.
Signs of narcissism may include:
- A sense of self-importance
- Delusions of grandeur
- Craves admiration and attention
- A sense of entitlement
- Frequently bullies or intimidates others
- Expects others to serve their needs
About 40% of people diagnosed with NPD develop a substance use disorder because of their unrealistic, dramatic, and unpredictable thoughts.
How Is Dual-Diagnosis Treated?
In the past, mental disorders and addiction were treated separately, which usually triggered relapses. Today, addiction treatment providers recognize the importance of integrated treatment plans that focus on all aspects of addiction, including mental disorders.
California Dual-Diagnosis Treatment at Design for Change Recovery
The relationship between mental health disorders and addiction is often intricate. However, with our client-oriented, solution-focused therapy, our clients heal the physical, mental, and emotional factors that fuel their addiction. With this integrated approach, our clients gain the skills, confidence, and motivation to keep them on track for the long term.
At Design for Change Recovery, our California dual-diagnosis treatment programs provide a range of options such as:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Holistic Wellness Approaches
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
- Biosound Therapy
- Psychodrama Therapy
- Meditation and Yoga
- 12-Step Programs
- Family Therapy
- Aftercare Services
The primary goal of dual-diagnosis treatment is to get to the heart of what causes our clients to use addictive substances. This information allows us to tailor a treatment plan that will address those specific issues.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental disorder and addiction, our addiction specialists are here to help. We will conduct a confidential assessment to assist in creating the best treatment program for your needs.
Getting the right treatment for dual diagnosis begins when you reach out to Design for Change Recovery in Lancaster, CA. Contact us by phone, email, or online. One of our representatives will be available to assist you in any way.
- medlineplus.gov/ – dual-diagnosis
- samhsa.gov/ – Co-Occurring Disorders and Other Health Conditions
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ – The Prevalence and Significance of Substance Use Disorders in Bipolar Type I and II Disorder
- psychologytoday.com/ – Is He or She an Addict First? Or a Narcissist First?
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ – Mood Disorders and Substance Use Disorder: A Complex Comorbidity
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ – Psychosocial Interventions in Patients with dual-diagnosis
- adaa.org/ – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)