Speak to a caring addiction specialist today! (800) 603-2981

View All Listings
(800) 603-2981
Live Chat


Browse By City


Dual Diagnosis


A dual diagnosis occurs when a person has a drug or alcohol addiction along with a mood disorder, such as bipolar disorder or depression. When an individual is living with a dual diagnosis they have two separate illnesses, and in order to achieve recovery, it is crucial that each illness has its own treatment plan. By better understanding a dual diagnosis, you can find the treatment option that will work best for you.

Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

When it comes to receiving a dual diagnosis, certain mental health disorders will relate differently to addiction.

Depression and Addiction – Depression often acts as a gateway to substance abuse, as people who experience feelings of depression may use dangerous substances to escape negative emotions. For some people, trying to give up their substance of choice can actually make depression worse, so it is crucial to receive treatment that will focus on both disorders.

Eating disorders and Addiction – Many people who suffer from eating disorders also suffer from depression, and dangerous substances can be used as an escape. In other cases, people with eating disorders may abuse drugs as a way to lose weight or to suppress their appetite.

Anxiety/OCD and Addiction – Substance abuse and anxiety/OCD are a dangerous mix. People who suffer from OCD may turn to substance abuse to escape from the anxiety associated with their continued rituals, so pursuing a dual diagnosis program is essential for recovery.

PTSD and Addiction – PTSD results when a person experiences tremendous anxiety or stress after witnessing or being part of a traumatic event. Flashbacks are often common with PTSD, and drugs and alcohol are often used as a coping mechanism by people suffering from this mental health disorder.

The Relationship between Mental Health and Substance Abuse

There is a close relationship between mental health and addiction, although which illness occurred first will be different for each addict. In some cases, if a person is suffering from an untreated mental health disorder, they may turn toward drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Eventually, an addiction may develop, which can further exacerbate the mental health condition.

In other cases, the addiction may come first, and as substance abuse causes relationship problems, financial issues, and other negative consequences, a mental health disorder may develop. Unfortunately, most addicts will then ramp up their substance abuse as a way to numb their pain and to try and escape from reality.

The Prevalence of Dual Diagnoses

According to the Missouri Department of Mental Health, co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders are extremely common. Studies have shown that 53% of drug abusers and 37% of alcohol abusers have at least one serious mental illness. Additionally, of all people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, 29% are currently abusing drugs and alcohol, while a whopping 60% will abuse drugs or alcohol at some point during their lifetime.

Types of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

There are several treatment methods available when it comes to overcoming a dual diagnosis:

Psychopharmacology – Psychopharmacology is the use of medications to treat mental health disorders, and this treatment method is often crucial in recovery from depression, bipolar disorder, and other emotional issues.

Psychotherapy – Psychotherapy is useful in the treatment of both addiction and mental health disorders, as this involves talk therapy with a mental health provider to learn more about your condition, thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and mood.

Behavioral Management – When it comes to recovering from addiction, it is important to understand why you turned toward substance abuse in the first place. Behavioral management can also help you to rid yourself of the habit associated with addiction.

After you have pursued dual diagnosis treatment, it is crucial that you continue on with aftercare services to best support your recovery. Support groups meetings and continued therapy can be crucial in helping you to prevent relapses of both your mental health disorder and addiction. By pursuing aftercare services, you will be in the best possible position to enjoy long-lasting sobriety.

Get Treatment

Find the help you need to get back on the right track by calling a dual diagnosis treatment center in Missouri.