True Life Care Mental Health New Jersey

What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Taking the Right Step Toward Recovery

You may ask, what is dual diagnosis treatment? This article explores the principles of dual diagnosis treatment and recovery.

What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

What is dual diagnosis treatment? Dual diagnosis treatment is an integrated approach to care. It addresses a person’s mental health disorder and substance use disorder together.

It recognizes that individuals with substance use disorders often have co-occurring mental health disorders. Mental health conditions often seen with substance use disorder include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to name a few.1
In this article, we answer the question, “what is dual diagnosis treatment?” Further, we dive into its uses, methods, and outcomes.
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What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Understanding the Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Use

Dual diagnosis treatment acknowledges the complex interplay between mental health and addiction. It understands that these conditions can mutually reinforce and exacerbate each other.
For example, a person with a mental health disorder may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. As well as a way to cope with their symptoms. Substance misuse can lead to the development or worsening of mental health problems.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment: What Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Address?

Dual diagnosis treatment commonly addresses many mental health conditions in combination with substance use disorder. Some of the most common conditions addressed include:


Depression is a mood disorder. It is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities. Many individuals with depression may turn to substances such as alcohol or drugs to self-medicate and ease their symptoms.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders encompass a range of conditions. This includes generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anxiety can drive individuals to use substances to manage their overwhelming feelings of fear, worry, and stress.2

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder involves extreme mood swings. This involves cycling between periods of intense mania and depression. Substance misuse is common among individuals with bipolar disorder. Individuals may use substances to self-medicate.


Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental health condition. This condition affects a person’s thinking, emotions, and behavior. Substance misuse is prevalent among individuals with schizophrenia. They may use substances to cope with the distressing symptoms of the disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by unstable emotions, self-image, and interpersonal relationships. Substance misuse is often intertwined with this disorder. Individuals may use drugs or alcohol impulsively or as a way to manage intense emotional states.

Other Mental Health Conditions

These are just a few examples. Many other combinations of mental health disorders and substance use disorders can co-occur.
Dual diagnosis treatment recognizes the unique challenges that arise when these conditions are present together. While aiming to address both aspects comprehensively for improved outcomes.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment: How Does Dual Diagnosis Treat These Conditions?

Dual diagnosis treatment focuses on the interplay of mental health and substance use. It helps individuals achieve recovery by treating both conditions at once.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment Like Compared to Other Treatment Modalities?

What is dual diagnosis treatment? Dual diagnosis treatment differs from traditional treatment approaches for mental health or addiction alone in several key ways:

Integrated Approach

Dual diagnosis treatment takes an integrated approach. It addresses both mental health and substance use disorder concurrently. Traditional treatment approaches often separate mental health and addiction treatment. This can result in fragmented care and less effective outcomes.

Comprehensive Assessment

Dual diagnosis treatment involves a thorough assessment. This evaluates both the mental health and addiction components. This assessment helps identify the specific interaction between the two conditions. While guiding the development of an individualized treatment plan.3
Traditional treatment approaches may focus solely on either mental health or addiction. This may potentially overlook the co-occurring disorder.

Dual Diagnosis Specialists

Dual diagnosis treatment involves a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. Who specializes in both mental health and addiction. These specialists have expertise in understanding the complex interactions between the two conditions.
They also provide tailored interventions to address both aspects effectively. Traditional treatment approaches may lack specialized knowledge and training. This training is needed to manage co-occurring disorders.

Coordinated Treatment Plan

A coordinated treatment plan is created for dual diagnosis. This plan integrates interventions for mental health and substance use. This plan may include a combination of medications, psychotherapy, and support groups. As well as other evidence-based approaches.
Traditional treatment approaches may offer separate treatment plans for mental health and addiction. Which can lead to conflicting strategies or inadequate support for the co-occurring disorders.

Relapse Prevention

Dual diagnosis treatment emphasizes relapse prevention strategies. These strategies address the complex nature of co-occurring disorders.
It recognizes that mental health symptoms or substance use can trigger relapse in either domain. While incorporating strategies to manage these triggers effectively.4
Traditional treatment approaches may not address the interplay between mental health and addiction, especially in relapse prevention efforts.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Why are These Strategies Helpful?

By providing an integrated and comprehensive approach, dual diagnosis treatment acknowledges the interplay of mental health and addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment aims to improve treatment outcomes and foster long-term recovery.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment: What Are the Core Components of Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Dual diagnosis treatment incorporates various core components and treatment modalities. This addresses the needs of individuals with both mental health and substance use disorders. The following are some commonly used components and modalities:

Integrated Assessment

Dual diagnosis treatment begins with a comprehensive assessment. This evaluates both the mental health and addiction components of a dual diagnosis.
This assessment helps identify the specific disorders and their severity. As well as the interactions between them. This enables the development of an individualized treatment plan.

Medication Management

Medication can play a crucial role in dual diagnosis treatment. Psychiatric medications may be prescribed to manage mental health symptoms, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or antipsychotics.
Medicines for substance use disorder may also be utilized to support recovery, such as opioid agonists or anti-craving medications.

Individual Psychotherapy

Individual therapy is a common component of dual diagnosis treatment. There are also other Evidence-based therapies. Such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), or motivational interviewing (MI).

These therapies help individuals understand their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. While developing coping strategies for managing cravings, triggers, and underlying psychological issues.

Group Therapy

Group therapy provides a supportive environment. Here individuals share their experiences, learn from one another, and develop coping skills.
Group therapy can be specifically tailored to address both mental health and addiction. This allows individuals to gain insights and build social connections. While receiving peer support throughout their recovery journey.


Psychoeducation is an essential component of dual diagnosis treatment. It involves providing individuals and their families with information about their conditions. This includes the nature of mental health disorders, addiction, and their interactions.

Psychoeducation helps individuals develop a better understanding of their challenges. While empowering them to take part in their treatment and recovery.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is valuable in dual diagnosis treatment. It involves the family members or significant others. This places them at the heart of the therapeutic process. It helps improve communication and resolve conflicts. This helps foster a supportive and understanding environment for recovery.

Peer Support and Self-Help Groups

This includes 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). They connect individuals with others who have similar experiences.
These groups offer encouragement and shared experiences. They provide ongoing support in maintaining sobriety and managing mental health symptoms.

Case Management and Care Coordination

Dual diagnosis treatment often involves case management and care coordination services. These professionals assist individuals in navigating the healthcare system and accessing appropriate resources.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?: How These Strategies Come Together

It’s important to note that treatment modalities and components may vary. This depends on the specific needs of the individual and the treatment setting. 
Dual diagnosis treatment is typically tailored to address unique challenges. Which are presented by co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Why Receive Dual Diagnosis Treatment Compared to Treating Mental Health and Addiction Separately?

Receiving dual diagnosis treatment offers several significant benefits for individuals facing co-occurring disorders. As opposed to treating mental health and addiction separately.
Here are some key advantages:

Integrated Approach

Dual diagnosis treatment provides an integrated approach. These address both mental health and addiction simultaneously. Individuals receive comprehensive care that targets the underlying causes and interactions.

This is done by recognizing the interconnected nature of these conditions. This integrated approach increases the likelihood of successful outcomes. By addressing the complex factors contributing to the individual’s challenges.

Improved Outcomes

Research suggests that individuals who receive dual diagnosis treatment experience better outcomes. Integrated care has been associated with reduced substance use and decreased psychiatric symptoms, as well as enhanced treatment engagement and improved functioning.
Dual diagnosis treatment offers a more comprehensive approach to supporting individuals’ recovery journeys. This is done by addressing both mental health and addiction concurrently.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Why Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Receiving dual diagnosis treatment offers many benefits that traditional treatment programs do not. Its integrated approach to mental health and substance use allows for the best chance of sustained recovery.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment: How Can Individuals and Their Families Access Dual Diagnosis Treatment Services?

Accessing dual diagnosis treatment services and finding appropriate resources can be achieved through several avenues. Here are some steps individuals and their families can take:

Consult with a Primary Care Physician

Start by scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician. They can assess the individual’s condition and provide initial guidance.
Referrals can be made to appropriate dual diagnosis treatment resources. Primary care physicians often know local treatment providers. This can help initiate the referral process.5

Seek Referrals from Mental Health and Addiction Professionals

Reach out to mental health professionals, addiction specialists, or therapists. All of whom should have experience in treating co-occurring disorders. These professionals can provide valuable insights and recommendations for dual diagnosis treatment centers. Which are available in the area.

Contact Local Mental Health and Addiction Helplines

Many communities have helplines or hotlines dedicated to mental health and addiction services. These helplines can offer information and support. As well as referrals to dual diagnosis treatment resources available in the local area.
They may also provide guidance on insurance coverage. As well as financial assistance and eligibility criteria for specific programs.

Research Treatment Facilities and Programs

You can conduct online research to identify treatment facilities and programs. You can search specifically for programs that specialize in dual diagnosis treatment.
Look for reputable organizations that offer integrated care for mental health and addiction. Their websites often provide information about their treatment approaches and services offered. As well as contact details for further inquiries.

Contact Health Insurance Providers

Contacting your insurance provider, if you have one, is essential to get coverage for treatment. Contact the insurance provider to inquire about coverage for dual diagnosis treatment.
The insurance company can provide a list of in-network providers. As well as programs that specialize in treating co-occurring disorders. They can also offer information on coverage limitations, deductibles, and copayments.

Use Online Directories and Resources

This involves online directories and resources dedicated to mental health and addiction treatment. Education can be found on websites such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Psychology Today.
These search tools allow you to filter for dual diagnosis treatment options. Which can be based on location and specific needs.

Seek Support from Support Groups and Peer Networks

Individuals can engage with support groups and peer networks. These groups are focused on dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. These groups can provide valuable insights, personal experiences, and recommendations for treatment resources.
Online forums and social media groups can also be helpful. They help in connecting with individuals who have undergone dual diagnosis treatment.

Consult with Local Community Mental Health Centers

Local community mental health centers often provide dual diagnosis treatment services. In certain instances, they can offer referrals to appropriate resources. They may offer sliding scale fees based on income or partner with other organizations. That may specialize in co-occurring disorders.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment: The Value of Staying Connected

There are many ways to find the right treatment for you. When learning about what is dual diagnosis treatment, it’s important to use available resources. Many educational resources also provide resources.
what is dual diagnosis treatment

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment: What Can True Life Care Offer?

At True Life Care, we provide a welcoming and compassionate environment for recovery. We are located at Morris Plains, NJ, at the heart of the tri-state area.
Our professional and knowledgeable staff get to know each patient individually to provide the best possible care. We are also Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) certified.
Our dedicated and well-rounded team focuses on providing top-tier quality care to each client who comes through our door. On top of evidence-based treatment, we approach each case with compassion, respect, and understanding.

What Therapies Does True Life Care Offer?

We offer a variety of therapies including: 
  • Art therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Hypnotherapy
  • LGBTQ+ friendly
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Meditation 
  • Motivational interviewing (MI)
  • Music therapy
  • Psychoeducational groups
  • Trauma-focused therapies
  • Young adult treatment
  • Yoga
Among other well-curated programs.

We Offer a Supportive Environment

We pride ourselves on being warm, inviting, and accepting of everyone. While allowing clients to recover in a “real life” setting with the support of our caring staff. 

We Treat a Variety of Conditions

When addressing co-occurring treatments, we offer therapy for:
  • Anger  
  • Anxiety  
  • Bipolar disorder  
  • Borderline personality disorder  
  • Depression  
  • Emotional disturbance  
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder  
  • Self-esteem issues  
  • Trauma/PTSD  
Our team of professionals is equipped to guide you to recovery. 

Get Started Today

To learn more about how dual diagnosis treatment can benefit you, contact us today. Our team can help push you one step closer to living the life you want.




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Questions About Treatment?

If you or a loved one have questions regarding recovery, or are to begin regaining autonomy over your health and well-being, don’t hesitate to reach out to True Life Care for support. We are here to empower you to lead the happy, healthy, and fulfilling life you deserve.