Dual Diagnosis: Understanding Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

A survey in 2021 found that over nine million Americans struggle with mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders concurrently. If you or someone in your family is struggling with mental health disorders and addiction, you can find care with dual diagnosis treatment services.

Sequoia Recovery Centers offers comprehensive addiction treatment in Washington. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment services and how we can help with dual diagnosis therapy.

Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

Mental health disorders and addiction commonly co-occur for several reasons. 

In some cases, people struggle with addiction first. Addiction starts to change the shape, size, and function of their brain, and these changes leave them susceptible to the development of secondary mental health conditions.

In other cases, people struggle with mental health conditions first. Mental health disorders can go untreated or improperly treated, leaving individuals more susceptible to addiction if they try any addictive psychoactive substances and increasing the risk that an individual will try to self-medicate to manage their symptoms. 

Why People Struggle with Dual Diagnosis Conditions

Individuals who struggle with mental health disorders can fall into several categories:

No Diagnosis

First, there are those clients who don’t realize they have a mental health disorder and never get an official diagnosis.


Second, there are those who receive a diagnosis, but they get a misdiagnosis, so the treatment they receive doesn’t work on many of their symptoms because any treatment plan is focused on the wrong condition.

One study determined that an average of one-third of individuals with a mental health disorder are misdiagnosed. Those with schizoaffective and bipolar disorder were misdiagnosed the most, followed by schizophrenia. 

Another cross-sectional review found misdiagnosis rates for major depressive disorders reached sixty-five percent in some cases and up to seventy-one percent for generalized anxiety disorder. 

Incorrect Treatment

Third, there are those who receive a proper diagnosis, but their medication or therapy isn’t working.

In all three of these categories, individuals are at risk for trying to self-medicate, often with drugs and alcohol. The type of substances used will often differ depending on the symptoms of the mental health condition.

For example:

  • People struggling with untreated PTSD are more likely to abuse benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, and alcohol to help with things like insomnia or flashbacks
  • People struggling with depression are more likely to abuse alcohol to try and mask their symptoms, especially in public

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Services with Sequoia Recovery Centers

When clients experience co-occurring mental health and addiction issues, dual diagnosis treatment services are the best course of action. 

These treatment plans provide services that address addiction and individual mental health disorders at the same time. Doing so increases the chances of long-term sobriety by providing detox from addiction, long-term coping skills, and relapse prevention to manage addiction and mental health symptoms. 

Treatment Types with Sequoia Recovery Centers

At our facilities, we believe that every client has unique circumstances necessitating flexible scheduling options. That is why we offer:

With our programs, clients benefit from a step-down approach to recovery. With each level of care, clients can step down to the next level as they reach goals and no longer require the same degree of support. 

Get Help Today with Mental Health and Addiction

When you are ready to get help, you can speak with our qualified staff about your needs and coordinate a time to be admitted to the program that works best for you. We can work with you to assess what level of care might be best and which type of services should be included in that level of care. 

Once you have completed your assessment, you can work with our clinical staff to review your personal values and treatment goals. We work hard to incorporate services that align with your length of stay and program type. 

When you are ready, you can communicate with our trained staff to decide which medication you want to use for things like mental health conditions and addiction. If you have received a diagnosis in the past for a mental health disorder and tried other treatments, that information can be used to formulate your services moving forward. 

Your clinical staff will help you long after you complete your program with us, giving you several follow-up care options and coordinating services that help you maintain sobriety long-term while you also maintain your mental health condition. 

Overall, dual diagnosis treatment services are an effective way to treat mental health and addiction at the same time. With several levels of care available, you can find a program that fits your schedule, get through a medical detox with supportive team members, and learn how to manage your mental health condition the right way. Call our team today to learn more about your recovery journey at our drug and alcohol detox center in Spokane, WA.

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