Dual diagnosis treatment means that the facility treats both the primary diagnosis, such as a substance use disorder, and then one or more secondary diagnosis as well, like generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, PTSD, an eating disorder or some other condition that needs to be addressed.

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Many addiction treatment facilities now are able to address the secondary issues as part of their treatment protocols, which may include a combination of education, medication, individual and group therapy, and a wide variety of supportive therapeutic services.

Oftentimes these facilities do require for the substance use disorder to be the primary reason for treatment, as they are not licensed specifically as mental health facilities and therefore not equipped to handle more severe instances of primary mental health disorders.

Unfortunately, many specialty inpatient mental health facilities are also not great at treating substance use disorders, and either require a period of abstinence prior to admission, or refer people to other providers.

What Other Options Are There For Treating Dual Diagnosis?

For people who are enrolled in some form of outpatient treatment, they are able to see various specialists for their different issues. For example, they can attend an IOP for 10 hours per week for substance use while also seeing separate doctors or therapists for their other health-related needs.

Done well, this can create a complete care system for the individual to address all necessary areas for an extended period of time, while also being able to resume functions at home, work, school or other responsibilities.