Dual Diagnosis

Recovery Coaching for Dual Diagnosis Disorders

Millions of people throughout the world experience mental illness and substance use disorders. While some develop a mental illness or a substance use disorder, others end up having both conditions occur at the same time. This is known as dual diagnosis. When this is the case, it is imperative that the appropriate treatment is obtained to help reduce the severity of symptoms and help individuals live a life free from continued substance abuse and untreated mental illness. Following dual diagnosis treatment, recovery coaching and coaching programs can help sustain long-term recovery and be a deterring factor in preventing relapse.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorder, occurs when a person is simultaneously experiencing a mental health disorder and the disease of addiction. Examples of common co-occurring disorders include the following:

  • Antisocial personality disorder and alcohol use disorder
  • Depression and cocaine addiction
  • Panic disorder and benzodiazepine addiction
  • Schizophrenia and poly-substance use disorder (e.g. being addicted to several mind-altering substances at the same time)

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that nearly half of the American population (45% to be exact) have a dual diagnosis. This statistic is not startling to those who are aware of the growing mental health and substance abuse crisis in the country, as more than 21 million Americans are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and about 1 in 4 adults have a mental health disorder. 

It can be difficult to decipher the difference between a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, especially because the disease of addiction can cause people to develop erratic, unexplained behaviors. However, knowing the symptoms of dual diagnosis can take the grunt work out of deciphering what is going on.

Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis

The specific symptoms that a person can experience with a dual diagnosis can vary based on what type of mental health disorder/substance use disorder they have. For example, someone who is addicted to meth and has bipolar disorder may exhibit symptoms such as extreme bouts of mania/depression, grandiose behavior, and insomnia. Or, a person with antisocial personality disorder and alcohol use disorder may become completely withdrawn socially, develop suicidal tendencies, and find themselves depressed more often than not. In general, however, the majority of dual diagnosis symptoms are shared across the board. The can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Sudden, unexplained changes in mood and/or behavior
  • Problems upholding daily responsibilities 
  • Participating in dangerous behaviors (e.g. driving while under the influence, using while responsible for minors, having unprotected sex with strangers)
  • Decline in personal hygiene 
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships with friends, family, and romantic interests
  • Significant anxiety, panic, or worry
  • Problems concentrating 
  • Experiencing delusions or hallucinations

Again, not everyone with a dual diagnosis is going to exhibit all of these symptoms, as each person has their own unique factors related to their condition. Some people may have minor symptoms related to their dual diagnosis while others may be having a more severe experience. Either way, a person does not have to live with untreated dual diagnosis. While it cannot be cured, dual diagnosis can be effectively treated.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment & Coaching

For decades, people who were addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and showing signs of a mental health disorder at the same time were told by healthcare professionals to sober up before attempting to get any type of mental health treatment. As more information has been learned about dual diagnosis, it has become clear that the most appropriate way to treat someone experiencing both conditions is to treat them simultaneously, not separately. Utilizing a comprehensive, combined approach, individuals with a dual diagnosis can have both their mental health disorder and their substance use disorder treated safely and effectively. 

Integrated intervention is an evidence-based approach that is used to treat those with co-occurring disorders. Put simply, integrated intervention works to address all of a patient’s concerns at the same time, regardless of if they are more closely related to their mental health disorder or their substance use disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the main principles of integrated intervention include the following:

Mental health and substance abuse treatment and coaching plans are integrated to meet the needs of people with co-occurring disorders

Integrated treatment specialists are trained to treat both substance use disorders and serious mental illnesses

Co-occurring disorders are treated in a stage-wise fashion with different services provided at different stages

Motivational interventions are used to treat consumers in all stages, but especially in the persuasion stage (stages of integrated intervention include engagement, persuasion, active treatment, and relapse prevention)

Substance abuse counseling, using a cognitive behavioral approach, is used to treat consumers in the active treatment and relapse prevention stages.

Recovery Coaching with alteredSTATE™

If you or someone you love is facing the struggles of a dual diagnosis, the individualized alteredSTATE recovery coaching platform is here to help. Someone who obtains integrated intervention treatment for a dual diagnosis can expect to benefit from each of these principles, as our team works cohesively to provide the best comprehensive care possible. 

Instead of giving up, our team will show you how to not only deal with obstacles but to smash right through them. You’ll reframe your perspective to view hurdles as worthy challenges, not frustrating setbacks. Just think of it as life saying to you, “You’re ready for more.”

Are you ready for an alteredSTATE?

It used to be that getting to an “altered state” meant that I was either drunk or high. Now that I’m sober, my alteredSTATE is about living a life I never imagined. What’s your alteredSTATE?

Stay up to date

Ready to continue your alteredSTATE? Stay up to date on the latest news, articles, and blogs. See All Posts

Contact Us

You’ve already come a long way. Let’s reach the next level together.

    We're All Recovering from Something.