Whats Next After a Dual Diagnosis?

Whats Next After a Dual Diagnosis?

Steps to Take After Receiving Dual Diagnosis

There is a strong connection between substance use and mental health. A majority of individuals who have substance abuse disorders also struggle with mental health issues and vice versa. Both disorders in a dual diagnosis have the potential to affect each other and make one another worse. Since these two go hand-in-hand, it is important to treat them together.

If a substance abuse issue is addressed but a mental health disorder isn’t, chances are that the drug or alcohol problem will come back. If someone’s abuse problem gets more intense, it’s likely that their mental health complications will also get worse. Both disorders need individualized attention in order for treatment to be successful and for recovery to begin.


When someone battles both substance abuse and mental health issues, they have to get what is called a “dual diagnosis.” Once a person is diagnosed, they will start their treatment plan.

Dual Diagnosis: What Is It?

A dual diagnosis, otherwise known as a co-occurring disorder, happens when a person is diagnosed with both a substance use disorder like alcohol or opioid use disorder and a mental health disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or schizophrenia. Dual diagnoses are likely to have an impact on an individual’s performance at work or school, personal relationships, communication skills, and more.

While the diseases in a dual diagnosis are all treatable, they can become more dangerous if they’re not treated properly or addressed in a timely manner. If you think that you or someone you love is struggling with a co-occurring disorder, contact a psychologist or other mental health professional as soon as possible. During the dual diagnosis process, a medical representative will conduct several tests to determine the nature and extent of certain conditions. After they issue a diagnosis, they will go over your treatment options and next steps.

What To Do After Your Diagnosis

So, you received a dual diagnosis…now what? While co-occurring disorders can get complicated, finding treatment doesn’t have to be. First, you have to accept what you are dealing with and understand that these diseases are not your fault. If you place any blame on yourself, you could risk worsening your overall mental health. Instead, try to manage your stress and negative feelings in productive ways. Try to find new hobbies and interests, spend time with friends who are positive influences, or implement an exercise routine that you enjoy.

The key is to get both conditions treated together. When you get to the root of a substance abuse issue, you can begin to understand your mental health and do what is necessary to treat it. Many rehabilitation centers offer comprehensive mental health and addiction treatment for individuals who struggle with a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. Specialists will work with you to create a treatment plan that works best for you and your conditions.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Methods

Treatment may vary based on the type of mental health and substance abuse disorder you have. But in most cases, dual diagnosis treatment will include:

  • Mental health treatment methods like medication, individual or group counseling, self-help practices, lifestyle change tips, and peer support
  • Substance abuse treatments including medically-induced detox, withdrawal symptoms management, behavioral therapy, and support groups

These methods are typically combined to deliver the highest level of care. But treatment will only work if you want it to and if you are committed to your recovery.

Living With A Dual Diagnosis

Even though co-occurring disorders can be complicated, they are also very treatable. It is more than possible to live a happy and healthy life with a co-occurring disorder, as long as you’re taking the necessary steps to put your mental health first.

Are you looking for a treatment center that treats dual diagnoses? At Silver Pines, we offer comprehensive treatment for individuals struggling with substance abuse issues, mental health disorders, or a combination of both. Contact our team at 267.209.7313 today to learn more about our services and offerings.


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