Dual diagnosis is the term that refers to an individual suffering from a comorbid disorder, which is defined as both a mental disorder and substance abuse illness combined.

Such a condition is used to describe several mental disorders present in conjunction with substance abuse, such as depression and alcoholism, anxiety and addiction, or psychosis and heroin. It is without a doubt evident that substance abuse, as well as mental disorders alone, are quite challenging to overcome, so it is not hard to see that one with both problems would benefit greatly from receiving professional help. There are various programs available at our dual diagnosis treatment in Oregon, can help treat the disorder, and it is wise to take advantage of one of these good rehabilitation programs.

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Since dual diagnosis is actually two conditions, I would assume that you treat them separately, but this is not quite the case. A mental disorder and substance abuse illness combined will be treated concurrently by a good rehabilitation program which will professionally access the patient’s condition to its full extent and treat each patient according to the severity of their disorder. Most commonly, patients with this condition are required to endure vigorous detoxification regimens, as well as counseling. Once a patient’s mental disorder is diagnosed, it is easier to tackle their mental disorder separate from their substance abuse detoxification process. Patients who have anxiety disorders and depression disorders are easier to treat in conjunction with their substance abuse illness than patients with more complex mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or personality disorders. However, rehab programs for people diagnosed with this condition can provide patients with all the tools and steps needed for a safe and successful recovery. Full recovery takes patience and dedication, but such long-suffering will be more tolerable and rewarding with the correct rehabilitation program.

Detox Process in Dual Diagnosis

A terrifying part of rehab for any patient is the detox process. An individual suffering from any form of drug or alcohol addiction who has ever attempted to quit has experienced some withdrawal symptoms, and they are nothing short of misery! Fortunately, the rehabilitation process’s detoxification period will help patients through this agonizing duration of detoxification safely. It is common for patients experiencing this to be a person using substances to combat their mental illness. Such a method is called “self-medication”; however, it does anything but medicates the mental condition. Substance abuse actually appears to temporarily “soothe” mental disorders while magnifying mental conditions, thus creating a false dependency. However, there have been many cases in which a completely healthy person has become addicted to drugs or alcohol and has developed serious mental illnesses as a result. Regardless of the order in which the duality has come about, rehabilitation will help assess the condition and figure out a way to treat and prevent it from resurfacing again.

Although patients suffering from dual diagnosis have a very complex condition that is said to be treated all in one, mental disorders can usually be treated with the proper medication, separate from the detoxification process. The very first step to achieving complete wellness is to tackle the substance abuse issue first. This means that the detoxification procedure is the first and most important step to being completely cured. The detoxification period can vary from person to person since everyone’s body is different. The time it takes can also be measured depending on what substance they are addicted to. Once the detoxification process has been completed, the next step to recovery is getting the patient into therapy. This therapy involves getting the patient to actively participate in counseling sessions that may involve other patients or require them to undergo these counseling sessions alone. Such counseling sessions will help each patient become psychologically aware of their condition, encourage them on how they are progressing, and be educated with the right information to keep them on the right path to being cured of the illness for good.

Realizing Your Condition

Realizing that dual diagnosis is a condition that must be treated all at once but involves detoxification before mental illness treatment, some would assume that it would be perfectly acceptable to treat a dual diagnosis patient at two separate facilities. However, these patients have shown a higher success rate for recovering when they opt for a rehabilitation program that involves treating both the substance abuse issue and the mental issue in one program instead of going to a substance abuse program and then getting treated for mental illness.

You Have to Choose

Although the rehabilitation process can be effective and promising, much of the success and continued success can be attributed to how much the patient wants to be better. Much of the longevity of recovery from dual diagnosis can also require a lot of lifestyle changes, which require a lot of discipline. Such lifestyle changes can include hobbies that involve people and places, bringing back about dual diagnosis symptoms. The rehabilitation program chosen should also preferably involve other after-care procedures to help a person who has suffered from this serious condition to function normally in society after gaining wellness. Such help can include job and housing assistance, family counseling, help support dual diagnosis recovery, and even relationship management.


Each of the after-care options is beneficial to all patients recovering from dual diagnosis, even if they happen to receive prescription medication for their mental illness such as bipolar disorder, codependency, and low self-esteem. If a former dual diagnosis sufferer takes prescription medication to treat their mental disorder, it is advised that they be monitored or receive special “follow-up” visits with a professional to make sure that they do not return to the pattern of substance abuse. Should a person recovering decide not to take prescription medicine to treat their mental condition, it is advised that they continue after the counseling provided by rehabilitation and find a routine counseling program where a cognitive therapy approach will be offered.