Co-occurring Disorders
Integrating treatment from both fields of psychiatry and addiction is the most effective way to treat co-occurring disorders. 

Everything you need to know about

Dual-Diagnosis

Shockingly, people with dual-diagnosis remain untreated; while, the number of people struggling with alcohol, drug abuse or a co-occurring mental health disorder keeps growing.

What Does This Mean?

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It is very important to understand and properly recognize a dual-diagnosis or co-occurring disorder in order to be able to properly treat it?

co-occurring disorder charttreatment chartOPIATE CHART

The Symptoms

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The symptoms of dual diagnosis vary widely since there are many combinations of disorders that can occur when substance is abused by a person with a mental health disorder.


Many Use


  • arying Symptoms of Substance Abuse

    • Bloodshot Eyes
    • Hygiene and Appearance Change
    • Erratic Behavior or Change in Behavior
    • Risky Behavior when Drunk or High
    • Use of Substances Without Control
    • Lack of Motivation
    • Financial Troubles
    • Poor Time Management
    • Seizures
    • Twitching and Shaking
    • Being Sneaky and Deceitful
    • A Sudden Gain or Loss Weight
    • Frequent Nosebleeds
    • Cuts or Sores
    • Anger or Mood Swings
    • Withdrawal From Society
  • Varying Symptoms of a Mental Health Disorder

    • Frequent Irregular Mood Changes
    • Puzzeled Thinking
    • Concentration Problems
    • Antisocial Activitity
    • Suicidal Tendencies
    • Extreme Fears or Anxiety
    • Sudden Changes in Eating and/or Sleeping Habits
    • Hallucinations
    • Inability to Standard Functioning
    • Prolonged Depression
Daily Life With Dual-Diagnosis
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Many of your co-workers may be struggling and you don’t realize it. It is a misconception that someone struggling with a mental health disorder is easy to recognize.

dual diagnosis graph

The percentage of women living with a dual-diagnosis has increased in recent years, but there are still more men than women that are diagnosed with co-occurring disorders.twice as likely chart

Assessment & Treatment

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Treating both conditions simultaneously is the key to effective therapy; but, identifying a co-occurring mental health disorder is difficult because it is often masked by the abuse of drugs and alcohol.

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First Identify

You can only effectively treat and diagnose a person in the early stages of the recovery process once they are completely sober and substance free. Identifiers used to diagnose and assess dual- diagnosis include:

    • Mood
    • Memory
    • Psychomotor-speed
    • Attention
    • Concentration
    • Executive Functonality
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Second Treat

A well-rounded comprehensive treatment plan that incorporates a variety of therapies and treatments is required when treating substance use disorders and mental health disorders concurrently. These can include:

    • FamilyTherapy
    • Group Therapy
    • Individual Therapy
    • Experiential Therapy
    • Psychiatric Management 
    • Therapeutic Process Groups
    • Chemical Dependency Groups 
    • Mindfulness
    • Trauma Therapy
    • Neuropsychology
    • Anger Managemement
    • Eating Disorder Treatment  
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 
    • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Substance Abuse & Bipolar Disorder

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Alcoholism is often one of the disorders in a Bipolar disorder. The connection isn’t clearly understood; but, these factors play a key role:

inherited-traitsThe risk of alcoholism and addiction to other drugs is increased by genetic differences that affect brain chemistry and is linked to bipolar disorder. These same traits may also affect the way the brain responds to alcohol and other drugs.

anxiety-&-depressionDrinking to ease depression, anxiety and other symptoms of bipolar disorder may seem to help; but, in the long run it makes symptoms worse and leads to depression.

ragePost depression occurs an intensely ecstatic (euphoric) mood along with hyperactivity. This brings bad judgment and lowered inhibitions increasing use.

A dual diagnosis – otherwise known as a co-occurring disorder – is one of the most specialized and complex areas of addiction treatment. Individuals diagnosed with dual disorders have two hurdles to overcome: (1) their chemical dependence, and (2) their emotional or psychiatric disorders. In addition, those with co-occurring disorders have another problem – the ways in which these two illnesses interact with each other. StepHouse Recovery specializes in treating co-occurring disorders  by offering a recovery track that treats both the chemical dependency and the psychological disorder – a personalized, integrated  program that treats both simultaneously while combining and balancing the need of both. Our centers rely on the latest therapeutic strategies for co-occurring disorders rehab to give our clients the very best chance of success. Contact one of our addiction specialists to find out how you can begin the process of recovery today.

Aside from battling  substance dependencies, a vast majority of addicts are additionally saddled with psychiatric disorders.  The dual nature of this affliction still remains largely undiagnosed, untreated, and is largely responsible for the high incidence of relapse.

Not long ago, treatment for addiction was considered wholly separate from mental health care and was provided for at separate facilities using different approaches in a fragmented, haphazard way. This often meant that those who suffered from serious psychological distress–such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder – weren’t receiving the correct treatments for their substance addictions, and those who were going through drug or alcohol rehab programs weren’t getting help for their underlying mental health complications. Unsurprisingly, the rate of treatment success wasn’t very high and resulted in partial recovery – as often the problems of one disorder would undermine the improvement of the other, making relapse inevitable.

The Benefits of Our Co-occurring Disorders (Dual Diagnosis) Recovery Program

  • Integrated Approach: We offer the same level of care and attention to both the addictive disorder and co-occurring illness, addressing both as chronic, relapsing conditions that require long-term support.
  • Support & Follow-up for Families: We understand the hardship that comes with watching a loved one suffer through a mental illness and a substance abuse problem. Education and support for the families as well can make all the difference  when it comes to dealing with co-occurring disorders.
  • Individual Therapy: Therapy for co-occuring disorders can help you build motivation, identify self-defeating thoughts and learn positive new behaviors to reinforce a sense of self-worth while preventing relapses in the future.
  • Peer Support: Social withdrawal and feelings of isolation are typical of many of those who have a dual diagnosis. Peer support groups are the integral for showing you that you’re not alone in efforts to secure a healthier, more stable future for yourself.

Nowadays, those who suffer from both conditions are classified as having a co-occuring disorder, or a dual diagnosis. Aside from being affected by double the burden, being dually diagnosed spotlights another issue – the interchange between these two illnesses – which makes teasing the tangled threads apart to make an accurate diagnosis much more difficult. While either on its own can corrode a person’s life, the interaction between a substance addiction and a mental health disorder can cause an even more steady and rapid deterioration, which makes it much more difficult to diagnose and treat than either one alone.

“As many as one in five Americans struggle with mental illness at some point in their lives, and within that group approximately 7 million people also suffer from drug or alcohol addiction as well.”

Due to this complexity, co-occuring disorder care is seen as a unique treatment modality in its own right. By integrating strategies from both psychiatry and addiction sciences, people with a history of both substance abuse and mental disorders can have their multiple needs addressed in a unified, comprehensive manner. As many as one in five Americans struggle with mental illness at some point in their lives, and within that cross-section approximately 7 million people also suffer from drug or alcohol addictions.” Recognizing and treating both of these conditions at the same time can help protect this group from poverty, severe illness, isolation, incarceration and homelessness and other afflictions that often affect those who co-occuring disorders. While either on its own can corrode a person’s life, the interaction between a substance addiction and a mental health disorder can cause an even more steady and rapid deterioration, which makes it much more difficult to diagnose and treat than either one alone.

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