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If you have been on a journey of addiction recovery, you might have heard the term “dual diagnosis” more than once. Whether you have had a “dual diagnosis” or not, it is always good to educate yourself on co-occurring disorders and how mental health and addiction often go hand-in-hand.

What Is a Dual Diagnosis? 

Dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders and co-morbidity, is when you have two or more disorders simultaneously. This frequently occurs with substance use and mental disorders, and interactions between the two can make it hard to cope with and treat. 

According to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over seven million adults have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. Although, it is often difficult to determine which came first. Therefore, it is possible to not receive the care you need for a co-occurring disorder. 

How Do I Know if I Have a Dual Diagnosis?

Sometimes it can be hard to find out if you have a co-occurring disorder and require a dual diagnosis. Many of the symptoms of substance use and mental health disorders can be quite similar, including signs like: 

  • Lack of personal hygiene 
  • Sudden shifts in behavior 
  • Financial problems
  • Refusal to seek help 
  • Loss of interest in work, school, or everyday activities 
  • Cognitive impairment; and shifts in behavior 

Often, those suffering from mental health disorders will try to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to relieve the stress, discomfort, and sadness. There are also similar risk factors for various substance use and mental health disorders, including: 

  • Unemployment
  • Poor family relationships
  • Poverty 
  • Loss of work
  • Financial issues

It is common that substance use and mental health disorders go hand-in-hand, but when you recognize the signs, you can begin to seek a comprehensive treatment plan that will help you gain control over both. 

Finding and Starting Treatment for a Dual Diagnosis

Unfortunately, not receiving the treatment you need for a dual diagnosis is a real possibility. 52.5% of people suffering from substance use and mental health disorder do not seek treatment for either one. 

Barriers to Treatment of Co-occurring Disorders

There can be many barriers to receiving the right type of treatment, including things like: 

  • Cost
  • Fear of treatment 
  • Not knowing where and how to start treatment 
  • Not having enough time, and concerns about confidentiality 

Even though there might be some hurdles to jump, that does not mean that all treatment facilities are the same. It is a great idea to educate yourself on treatment options for dual diagnoses. The best treatment and facilities will meet your needs so that you do not have to be deterred by any of the above barriers.

Health Insurance 

Health insurance will help with the cost of many different treatment programs, so a good first step is finding out what your insurance will cover. Some treatment facilities will even work with you to figure out which private insurances will help offset the cost of treatment. 

Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs are often more affordable than inpatient and detox treatment. Some programs, like the ones at Lighthouse Recovery Texas, offer things like Scholarship Self-Pay rates and payment plans so that you do not have to deal with the financial load all at once.

What Type of Treatment Is Best for My Co-occurring Disorder?

Even though co-occurring disorders are common, this does not mean that treatment is a “one size fits all” solution. Your treatment should focus on you, first and foremost. That is why it is important to do your due diligence to find a program or method of treatment that best suits your needs. 


Most PHP and IOP programs should come along with a psychological component that will help diagnose and treat any co-occurring disorder. Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) can provide a near-24/7 level of support and care while heavily focusing on psychotherapy, especially when needed during the treatment of dual diagnoses. 

A PHP might be the ideal first stepping stone because it is an outpatient program that consists of a comprehensive treatment plan that you can incorporate into your daily life. PHP will allow you to work toward longevity for the long-term healing of substance use and mental health disorders.

Stay Positive and Remember That You Are Not Alone

When it comes to treatment for co-occurring disorders, one of the most important things to remember is that you are not alone in your journey. It is so easy to get down on yourself or feel guilty for the struggles that you are going through, but when you can infuse a more positive outlook into your treatment, you will find that your recovery journey will get easier. Remember to be proud of yourself for every step you take in the right direction, no matter how small you might think it is. 

Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis or co-morbidity, are prevalent in addiction recovery and treatment. Finding the best treatment for co-occurring disorders requires you and your loved one to understand the different types of treatment offered. IOP and PHP programs can be two successful forms of treatment, and most programs come along with a psychological component. At Lighthouse Recovery Texas, we utilize individual and holistic psychotherapy methods to help with the treatment of dual diagnoses, primarily through a Partial Hospitalization Program where patients will work closely with medical professionals as they continue their daily activities outside of the program. Every person at Lighthouse Recovery starts with a free assessment, and then patients will be paired up with an in-house psychologist to determine the best type of care for their individual needs. For more information, call us at (214) 983-1408